Building a Singapore Learner Corpus of English Writing for Pedagogy

Project Number
OER 21/10 GLB

Project Duration
April 2011 - March 2014


The implementation of an English-dominant bilingual policy in Singapore over the past few decades has contributed immensely to the establishment of the English language as the most important language in the country. As English is also one of the major languages for science and technology and for international communication, a good command of English oracy and literacy is not only of personal significance to Singaporeans but also of strategic importance to Singapore as a nation to thrive in the ever globalizing world economy and to the government's endeavor to develop Singapore into a globally competitive knowledge-based economy. As such, the government has taken many initiatives over the past decades to promote effective English language teaching. In this environment where the government takes the quality of English teaching as high on the agenda, the debates about the status of English teaching in Singapore have become heated. On the one hand, there have been reports and sentiments about the decline of students' standard of written and spoken English in Singapore over the years (S. Lim 1995). On the other hand, some of these views have also been challenged (Gupta 2010). But the general feeling among some teachers and employers about the English standards in Singapore remains basically anecdotal and ungeneralizable, since they have not been based on systematic survey of the standard of Singaporean learners' English. We therefore propose to build a learner corpus of English writing in order to (1) collect sample language data at Primary 6, Secondary 4/5, and Junior College 2 levels (2) to generate linguistic profiles for these stages (3) to analyze these profiles, and ascertain whether students' English learning at a particular stage has met the requirements of the Syllabus and if not in what ways, to provide a firm, linguistic ground for subsequent assessment of the status of English teaching and learning and for policy making (4) to enable the classroom teacher to make informed decisions about his or her students' writing and the design of classroom materials (5) to enable curriculum designers to set informed targets for writing development across stages of development (6) to contribute to the theorization on the nature of writing development (Christie & Derewianka 2008).

Research Themes
English Language & Mother Tongue Languages

Funding Source

Related Links
ReEd Vol 6 (2012): Building a Corpus of English Writing 

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