Core Research Programme: Baseline Investigation of Social Studies and Character & Citizenship Education Pedagogies in Singapore Classrooms

Project Number
OER 25/15 KBK

Project Duration
January 2016 - January 2018


In broad terms, the central objective of the Core programme is to provide a systemic measurement and modelling of curriculum and reform initiatives, pedagogical practices and student learning in a representative sample of Singapore primary and secondary schools. Consistent with Core 1 findings (2004-2007), Core 2 (2009-2014) showed evidence of a dominant performative instructional orientation in Primary 5 and Secondary 3 English and Mathematics classrooms. Specifically, teachers used a hybridic pedagogical regime that combines performative pedagogy (scripted instruction, focus on factual/procedural knowledge, teacher-dominated talk, focus on examination preparation) and knowledge-building pedagogy (domain-specific knowledge practices, epistemic orientations and skills, complex cognitive work, metacognition), with the former arguably accounting for the current character and success of Singapore’s school system. Given the outstanding 2012 PISA results, the Core programme continues to investigate what makes the Singapore education system successful, and recommend pedagogical innovations that can improve the system. Therefore, a key Core task is to continue investigating and monitoring shifts in the core systemic elements of teaching and learning. Importantly, there is an urgent need to provide an updated baseline data and evaluation of pedagogies in two key domains in primary and secondary schools: Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) and Social Studies (SS). This is because the last baseline collected for SS was in 2004 (Core 1), and there has been no documented systematic investigation into how CCE has been taught in schools. Framed by recent educational initiatives, this study aims: 1. To develop, refine and test a Singapore Coding Scheme 3 for SS and CCE (SCS3-SC) to capture pedagogical practices and the intellectual quality of knowledge work in Primary 5 and Secondary 3 SS and CCE classrooms in Singapore. 2. To examine the relationships between instructional and pedagogical practices, the intellectual quality of knowledge work in the classroom, and teacher pedagogical reasoning in SS and CCE (Primary 5 and Secondary 3). 3. To develop a baseline data on Primary 5 and Secondary 3 SS and CCE classroom practices for comparison with future SS and CCE datasets in the Core programme. Ultimately, as part of the broader Core Research Programme, this study aims to provide policymakers and researchers timely and evidence-based baseline descriptions and evaluations on the state of pedagogical practice in Singapore schools.

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