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A Study On The Development And Evolution Of Singapore Middle School Chinese Course (1987-2011)

Posted on:2014-05-24Degree:DoctorType:Dissertation
Country:ChinaCandidate:B F WuFull Text:PDF
GTID:1107330482950359Subject:Chinese Language and Literature
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Singapore bilingualism policies began to lose its balance in 1987, marrying of the curriculum standards and social expectations of learning of Chinese language have since become a major concern.1987 also marked the disappearance of traditional Chinese schools in Singapore education history. Gone were the days where Mandarin was the medium of instruction for subjects such as Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry, etc in traditional Chinese schools. Concerns such as writing of Chinese instructional materials, curriculum of teaching and learning of Chinese, setting of Chinese language standard have become prevalent. Singapore Chinese community perceptions towards the importance of Chinese Language and how it should be taught has always been present since the beginning of Chinese Language curriculum and pedagogies reviews in 1991, which focus on the societal position of Chinese language, teaching pedagogies, cultural acquisition and ubiquitous of Chinese learning among Chinese pupils.Four sets of secondary Chinese instructional material were developed within a time span of three decades. Such development reflects the changes of national language policies. However, little emphasis has been placed in analysing the merits, summarising the experiences and evaluating lessons that derived from developing these instructional materials. Though some academic papers and studies were done with regard to this area, they focused on limited aspect and lacked holistic perspective in approaching such topic. Discussions on major issues such as the changes in the underpinning ideology towards learning of Chinese language, break-through in designing teaching material, rolling out of particular teaching pedagogy, improvements on the Chinese language testing and assessment are very lacking.I have been a Chinese language teacher since 1988. For the past twenty-four years I noticed the subtle incline in national language policies. I practice the teaching ideologies and also involve in the writing of secondary Chinese instructional materials. Thus, I feel oblige to study the secondary Chinese teaching material in a comprehensive and reflective way. In this thesis I will attempt to illustrate the challenges in carrying out Chinese curriculum and pedagogies reviews, outlining the assumptions and intended standard set for the learning of Chinese language, map out the changes and improvements made in teaching materials, reveal the evolvement of various curriculum courses designed towards student-centre and formative assessment perspective. With these illustrations, this thesis would like to project a forward looking outlook for the secondary schools Chinese language learning in twenty first century.Chapter 1:It draws on the current linguistic theories as a background understanding of the thesis approach. In addition, it also establishes the thesis framework via analysis of researches on Singapore’s bilingualism. It focuses on principality of the government and the Chinese community in determining the Chinese curriculum contents and standards, in view of the complexity of Singapore’s social linguistic and emergence of national-typed schools in 1987. This thesis illustrates how Singapore government, upon refinement of language policies, maintains currency and practicality of the curriculum through ways such as relaxing of mother tongue measures, fine-tuning the curriculum structure, rewriting of teaching materials and creating a conducive environment.Chapter 2:Leverages on 1978 "Singapore Education Report" as the focal point for the emergence of national-typed schools. The report’s proposal of streaming systems in schools, impacted on secondary Chinese curriculums with the introduction of Special, Express and Normal courses. However, the basis for streaming is based on the overall result of Primary School Leavers Examination; one of the outcomes is the mismatch between curriculums, interests of learning and the abilities of learners.Chapter 3:Bilingualism has been the pillar of Singapore education system since 1956. From 1956 to 1986, the society has since undergone several transformations e.g. English has gained its wide usage in the society, the declined and diminished of traditional Chinese schools, and the emergence of national-typed schools. Following the new school system, curriculums and teaching materials were redesigned to strike a better balance between the nation’s language policies and pupils’Chinese language learning needs. It was a period of fumble and adaptation when Chinese language learning changes from a first language to second language.Chapter 4:Singapore Secondary Schools’Chinese education reached its stability state in 2004. Local scholars became aware of Singaporean’s learning of their Mother Tongue as a second language is unique and lacks precedents. Also such learning should be considered as overseas Chinese studies per se. Hence, the general sentiment during this period was that Chinese language should be given Mother Tongue status while maintaining the characteristics of second language or foreign language teaching. As such, local pursue of quality teaching and learning of Chinese language latched on second language acquisition theories and teaching of Chinese as a foreign language.Chapter 5:Focuses on different perceptions of schools and community about Chinese language curriculum that give rise to critique on the pupils’language proficiency. In 2010, language communicative ability was raised by 2010 Mother Tongue Review Committee. This was in response to years of debate on Chinese language practicality. In summary the thesis explores the possibilities of integrating Task-Based Learning and Communicative Language Ability model.Conclusion:Moving forward, the trend of English as families’ primary language is expected to be on the rise. The introduction of Chinese Language B syllabus in 1999 recognises the difficulties of some pupils in learning of the language and hence ended the dispute on the levels of difficulties of Chinese curriculum. Recommendations are made in this thesis for future devising of Chinese Express course teaching materials to be pegged towards the standard of a first language, to help pupils lay a sound foundation in the language and prepare them for their future endeavours.
Keywords/Search Tags:language ability, task-based learning, curriculum design, learning and assessment, teaching materials design
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