Preparation for future collaboration

An interdisciplinary learning design in a Singaporean primary school

Authored by: Rachel Lam , Michelle Io-Low , Jen-Yi Li

Routledge International Handbook of Schools and Schooling in Asia

Print publication date:  May  2018
Online publication date:  May  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138908499
eBook ISBN: 9781315694382
Adobe ISBN:


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In this chapter, we describe an educational intervention program that took a student-centered approach to teaching and learning, implemented in grade four of a Singaporean primary school. We explicate the theoretical foundations of the intervention design to illustrate what we mean by student-centered and share how we worked with the teachers to develop the program in order to satisfy both the school’s curriculum needs and our research goals. The intervention design, called Preparation for Future Collaboration (PFC), emphasizes students first exploring concepts and generating ideas individually, then collaborating with peers, and finally participating in a teacher-led discussion. This runs counter to the common modes of teaching used in Singapore, which place greater emphasis on direct instruction by the teacher, prioritizing accuracy and efficiency. The development of the program involved co-designing lessons with teachers under a specialized interdisciplinary curriculum that addressed issues related to environmental sustainability. We used an iterative approach whereby the experience of each lesson was used to inform the design of the subsequent lesson. In addition, we conducted experimental and quasi-experimental studies within lessons in order to test our intervention design.

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