Applied Learning Keeps up with the Times

by Education Cube, posted on Apr 17, 2016

Applied Learning Keeps up with the Times
By Education Cube
16 Apr 2016

Gone are the days of waiting for teachers to feed you knowledge.

Subjects from the sciences to the humanities have been refreshed by the Ministry of Education (MOE) to stay relevant and equip students with skills for the future.

For instance, junior colleges now have a revamped syllabus for the first time in a decade. It is aimed at getting students to apply classroom knowledge to real-world scenarios, and expose them to more current content.

Languages place more weight on communication skills to help students use them more confidently with others. Instead of just reading, children now learn languages through activities like role-playing.

Educators said these changes signify a move away from passive learning to training students in skills such as reasoning and analysis.

Mr Chew Chong Kiat, a lead mathematics teacher at Yuan Ching Secondary School, said: "Questions are no longer predictable – they require students to think deeper and make connections. It's a good sign because we're encouraging students to be thinkers."

Parents said they are glad that the education system is being updated, but felt a "mindset shift" was needed for many who are used to traditional ways of learning. Some parents said their children remember lessons best through applied learning or learning by doing, as opposed to being spoon-fed.

These days, there is bigger emphasis on getting students to probe and understand the how and why in humanities beyond just the what, who and when. Lessons also incorporate more current affairs topics.

Other subjects like Mathematics are no longer about just adding things up, but more about getting students to think like a mathematician. For example, students could be asked to evaluate the most cost-effective mobile phone plans for their classmates based on different usage patterns.

News Sources:

Applied learning in schools: Making lessons more in tune with real life (The Straits Times, 11 Apr 2016)

More emphasis in humanities on the how and why (The Straits Times, 11 Apr 2016)

Seeing relevance of maths and science skills in real life (The Straits Times, 11 Apr 2016)

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