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How do the highest-achieving school systems in the world
develop their teachers?
Empowered Educators: How High-Performing Systems Shape Teaching Quality Around the World is part of a landmark, international comparative study of teacher and teaching quality in the world’s top-performing education systems.
With support from the National Center on Education and the Economy and the Ford Foundation, one of the world’s preeminent education researchers, Linda Darling-Hammond, drew together a global team of education researchers, including researchers from Singapore’s National Institute of Education, in the three-year study to investigate how a growing number of countries have remodeled their education systems to deliver an education built for the 21st century, producing higher achievement and greater equity than the United States (National Centre on Education and the Economy, 2017).The researchers investigated seven jurisdictions across four continents. Their findings reveal that countries with high-performing school systems are committed to professionalizing teaching as an occupation, creating and managing a system of policies and practices that provide opportunities for teachers to learn sophisticated practices and to continue to improve.
Raffles Girls’ School is honored to contribute to this exciting research as one of the schools representing Singapore. PeRL team members, Mr. Azahar M Noor, Teacher-Specialist, and Mrs. Mary George Cheriyan, Deputy Principal, together with the Principal, Mrs Poh Mun See and another then-Deputy Principal, Mrs Shirley Tan, were involved as participants in this study. Click here to find out more details on the study and its findings. Access these links below for video interviews with Mr. Azahar and Mrs. Cheriyan on their experiences with the RGS Curriculum and Professional Development:
Academic Research in PeRL
RGS PeRL is conducting 4 academic research projects for the period of 2014-2018. The projects are:
1. Knowledge Creation in the School: A Case Study, which seeks to develop a system of governance for knowledge creation in the school context.
2. A Learning Road-map on Classroom Practices (A ST-AR project), which seeks to develop a road-map that supports teachers' informal learning by leveraging the expertise of both Lead and Senior Teachers.
3. "Cultures of Thinking" in the Classroom: A Case Study, which seeks to assess and validate the existence of "Cultures of Thinking" in the RGS classroom, using Ron Ritchhart's Project Zero - Cultures of Thinking (Harvard).
4. The Role of a Professional Learning Community in Informing Teacher Practice, which investigates the relationship between the Professional Learning Space (PLS) in RGS and classroom practices, and how teachers’ participation in these two settings co-evolve and influence their learning.
Click here to learn more!
PeRL's research on "The Role of a Professional Learning Community in Enhancing Teaching and Learning: A Case Study is now published in the June 2017 issue (no 61) of SingTeach, a quarterly e-magazine for teachers by the National Institute of Education, Singapore.
The article is authored by Ms Masturah bte Abdul Aziz, Senior Research Executive, and Ms Tan Yen Chuan, Teacher-Specialist. Ms Masturah is the Principal Investigator and Ms Tan is the Co-Investigator in this 2-year long project.
The online exclusive article can be accessed through this link: SingTeach Issue 61 - The Professional Learning Community: Facilitating "Teacher Thinking" to Solve Classroom Problems
For more details, click here.
PeRL's research on " Differentiated Instructions for High Ability Diverse Learners in a Regular Classroom: A Case Study in an Independent School " is now published in the September 2016 issue (no 58) of SingTeach, a quarterly e-magazine for teachers by the National Institute of Education, Singapore.
The article is authored by Mr Azahar M Noor and Ms Tan Yen Chuan, Teacher-Specialists in PeRL, who are investigators in the 2-year research project. The online exclusive article can be accessed through this link: SingTeach Issue 58 - High-Ability Learners Are Not Homogeneous
The RGS Pedagogical Research Lab is henceforth known as the Centre for Pedagogical Research and Learning (PeRL).
The change is a response to its broadening reach and scope in school-based Research, Consultancy and Professional Development. It continues to emphasize community engagement through collaborative research and customized Consultancy with emphasis on the development of teacher competencies for the 21st century learner.
RGS PeRL has concluded the Academic Research project on “Differentiated Instructions for High Ability Diverse Learners in a Regular Classroom: A Case Study in an Independent School”. The study investigated on how RGS teachers plan and implement differentiated instruction to address the needs of high ability diverse learners in a regular classroom. This study also investigated the enablers and their challenges faced when implementing it. 18 teachers participated in this qualitative study through interviews, analysis of unit plans and lesson observations.
Click here to learn more about the findings from the research.
A number of our teachers and professional staff have concluded their Practitioner Inquiry projects.
From the Mathematics department, teachers Ms. Goh Li Meng and Mr. Samuel Lee were involved in a project “E-portfolio in Mathematics - Students Perceptions of Learning Mathematics". The study investigated the use of reflections in students’ Mathematics portfolio in helping students to self-assess their understanding and perceptions in learning Mathematics. The teachers also wanted to understand how the use of a Mathematics portfolio as a pedagogical tool can inform their practice, particularly in curriculum evaluation for the Mathematics Raffles Academy program for higher ability students.
Through their research, the teachers found that the e-portfolio has proven to be a platform where students could reflect, self-assess, re-look their learning journey and identify their struggles, strengths, weakness and potential. The teachers also found that the use of the e-portfolio, which includes students’ reflections on the assessments; their choice of the pieces of work in the portfolio; and the combination of traditional pen and paper assessments and alternative assessments, provided them avenues to conduct curriculum differentiation, self-directed learning activities, as well as peer learning initiatives. Through the e-portfolio, students also displayed a greater degree of self-awareness regarding their emotions associated with learning and assessments.
Their findings were presented in the Redesigning Pedagogy Conference.
Ms. Choo Li Lin and Ms. Stella Picca from the EL department embarked on a project “The Value of Class Participation as an Assessment Tool in the English Language Classroom” which was supported by the English Language Institute of Singapore (ELIS). The study was designed to investigate the dis/alignment between student and teacher interpretation of the scoring rubric through a comparison of 2 sets of data: the peer-assigned scores and teacher-assigned scores. From quantitative analyses, the teachers found that there were differences arising in scores which were not due to students’ academic level (i.e., whether they are in Year 3 or 4), but could be due to other factors such as a differing teacher and student expectations in assessing class participation. From this study, the teachers plan to make adjustments to streamline expectations of the rubric so that class participation can be assessed more effectively in the classroom. This includes having more teacher-student dialogues prior to implementing the assessment, as well as introduce more scaffolding to interpret the rubric and structure the class discussions.
Their findings were presented in the ELIS Conference. The report can be accessed via the ELIS website here .
To learn more about the other research projects, click here .
PeRL's research on "Nurturing The Reflective Practitioner: The Benefits and Challenges of Practitioner Inquiry: Teachers’ Perspectives" is now published in the March 2015 issue (no 52) of SingTeach, a quarterly e-magazine for teachers by the National Institute of Education, Singapore.
The article is authored by Ms Tan Yen Chuan, Teacher-Specialist in PeRL, who is also an investigator in the 2-year research project. The online exclusive article can be accessed through this link: SingTeach Issue 52 - Preparing Teachers for Practitioner Inquiry
On 25 July 2014, PeRL organized its inaugural Symposium entitled The Reflective Practitioner: Engaging in Pedagogical Discourse .
The distinctive feature of this event was the Open Classroom concept. Sixteen RGS teachers opened their classrooms to over fifty teachers from other schools who attended their lessons as well as engaged in pedagogical conversations with them.
In the second part of the Symposium, Professor Lee Wing On, Dean of Education, National Institute of Education, gave a keynote address. He shared his experiences as a teacher who learnt how to respond to his students’ needs through constant reflection and learning.
The keynote address was followed by a series of workshops on best practices and research findings. Out of 37 workshops that afternoon, 30 sessions were conducted by personnel from other organizations that included Chess Academy, Institute of Mental Health and Temasek Polytechnic.
The Chinese newspapers, Lianhe Zaobao, reported on the Symposium, noting PeRL’s aspiration to enhance teacher professionalism through this multi-faceted collaborative approach.
The translated article can be accessed here.
The success of the Symposium attests to the willingness and openness of teachers to be engaged with the larger educational fraternity.
It also affirms PeRL’s enduring vision of facilitating an Asian discourse on pedagogy and inquiry, from the lens of reflective practice.