Building English Competencies in Bilingual Underachievers: A Baseline Study of Singapore's Learning Support Program

Project Number
OER 28/08 VV

Project Duration
April 2009 - February 2012


This project is a baseline study of Singapore's Learning Support Programme (LSP) which is a compensatory programme in primary schools in order to help children who do not have adequate competencies in English language and literacy to cope with the mainstream curriculum. The LSP is comparable to other compensatory programmes in the USA like Transitional Bilingual Education (TBE), Two Way Bilingual Education (TWBE), pull-out ESL programmes and the Funds of Knowledge intervention programme in the UK. All these compensatory programmes have a levelling up goal in which they try to bring underachievers to the same level of their mainstream peers. Though these programmes in the UK and USA have been written about extensively, the LSP of Singapore has never been systematically studied. The broad objectives of the project are to document what goes on in the LSP, h the Learning Support Co-ordinator teaches, who is sent in, who is sent out and what Learning Support Co-ordinators believe about their work. Specifically the project will gather data on the basis of the following four foci: (a) Pedagogy and teacher beliefs (b) Student characteristics and student processes (c) Assessment (d) School ecology and culture. The project will use a mixed methodology which includes two surveys (one for the Learning Support Co-ordinators and one for the students), classroom observations, taking field notes/videos and interviews and collection of student products and classroom materials. Four focal schools will be identified from amongst all the primary schools in Singapore with substantial LSPs. Classroom observations of teachers and students along-with in-depth interview will take place in these focal schools. This is approximately a two-year project from January 2009 till September 2010. This project will try to take the best practices of the LSP to the international academic community through journals and conferences. At the same time this baseline data will be used to plan new intervention (after 2010) and professional development projects.

Research Themes
Bilingual & Biliteracy Development

Funding Source

Related Links
NIE Research Brief Series 12-004: A Study of Singapore’s Learning Support Programme

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