The curriculum landscape in Singapore has been undergoing significant changes recently. It has witnessed about 15 years of curriculum reform, both structural and curricular. Recently, there is a movement toward school based curriculum development that can be seen as a consequence of the implementation of various initiatives on education launched progressively since the mid-1990. The first article talks about fostering school based curriculum development in the context of new educational initiatives in Singapore. The changes in curriculum also attributed to Singapore's historical context and colonial interventions. Further initiatives have also followed by the chance to develop and offer new subjects in the normal academics and normal technical streams. In the context of Singapore, School-Based Curriculum Development (SBCD) range from individual teachers adapting and interpreting existing curricula, to whole staff working together in create curricula with inputs coming from students the school management (Singapore Ministry of Education, 2000).
School-Based Curriculum Development (SBCD) viewed curriculum development as integral part of professional identities of teachers enables educational institutions to be more responsive to the educational needs and interests of their students as well as their community. It can also be challenging for every teachers because the outcome does not always confront with the interests and needs of school or student communities. School-based curriculum development has concrete processes, principles and practices abreast with the current context for Singapore, and the opportunities and benefits it presents for school development process (Marsh, 2000).
The second article tackles tensions in an Ability-driven education. Ability-driven education can be achieved with greater diversity and choice in the educational landscape; and the greater autonomy and innovation at the school level. According to the article, teachers are being exalted to teach less, learn more so as to encourage their students to learn more actively and independently. Ability-driven education has given emphasis by the MOE to implement the diversity and choice in the educational landscape and encourage schools to move towards innovation. Ability-driven education situates within the decentralized framework in Singapore which strengthen democracy by bringing the decision-making process closer to schools, teachers and students. Under the framework, the school management is given more power in decision making that the teachers and students. It also promotes school based development, rationalization, efficiency and innovation by providing a variety of education opportunities and choices to students.
Tensions in Ability-Driven Education (ADE) includes four major components; diversity versus conformity which is the move towards greater diversity of types of schools and educational program balanced by uniformity and standardization, the second is autonomy versus control which policy initiatives are introduced but implementation and accountability are left as local duties, thirdly, the tension between innovation and conservatism which school leaders have to take initiatives to be a role model of innovation while producing good academic results in an examination driven environment and lastly, equity and elitism which directly hit the ADE for supporting principle of meritocracy where every talent and abilities of child is recognized. These tendencies are maybe for school leaders to exercise their autonomy by investing in areas that promise the greatest measurable return like attracting talented students to join the school activities (Singapore Ministry of Education, 2000).
The two articles summarized the update on educational initiatives in Singapore. The purpose of these papers is to provide state and local educators with complete information and understanding of the measures used in contemporary challenges in learning and teachers issues-their limitations, strengths and current use in laws, policies and practices. The papers clearly show a critical link between effective teaching method and students' academic achievement. Many studies point to outcomes that show that methods of learning and curriculum development contribute more to their students' academic growth and can systematically explain the considerable variation in teachers' skills for promoting student learning. Pinpointing the method and curriculum leads to certain issues that have a greater impact on student performance is a matter of great urgency in the country that struggles with educating all the children equally.
The primary in these papers focused on the issues and challenges in the development of curricular initiatives and contemporary learning against tensions, hindrances and national standards. It also provides individuals with worthwhile information regarding the standard qualifications of schools, teachers and students in meeting their educational and training needs. The papers set some examples on a credible way for the institutions, partner organizations and the wider community by contributing ideas to valid, reliable, practicable, equitable and fair judgments through different studies and researches administered through pen and paper examinations, oral questioning, practical tests, computer assisted tests, or any other means (Marsh, 2000).
(b) Presents a critical analysis of the perspective(s)
In recent years, educational development has received a lot of attention from school leader, teachers, students, and parents in how schools remain accountable for student achievement. The present thrust in learning is to develop autonomous and self-directed learners. This is true not only to basic subjects but to other study as well. Thus, whereas curriculum development and self directed learning stresses task-based methodology that calls for the learners to acquire learning by developing their own resources and learning preferences, underscore constructivism that emphasizes the active and constructive role of teachers and learners in the learning process (Marsh, 2000).
To address this issues and challenges, the school leaders and teachers should try to update the curriculum and method of decision making and learning procedures. The papers discussed all about curriculum development and educational issues and challenges in learning but they also need to determine the factors and elements necessary to validate the importance and effectiveness of these procedures in learning process. Its main interest is to find out the effective way of effective decision making and learning process. This task is referred to as pieces of classroom work which involved the school leaders, teachers and students in comprehending, manipulating, producing or interacting in the target objectives where attention is principally focused on meaning rather than on form (Rudduck, 1987).
The paper also presented the growing interest in better understanding what constitutes effective curriculum in teaching practice, coupled with its power to leverage educational improvement that presents a challenge and opportunity for policymakers to address how to efficiently and reliably measure teacher performance. The role of curriculum development and self-directed learning must surfaced as a well utilized resource that might hold promise as a tool to promote school leaders' ability, teacher professional growth and students' effectiveness in the learning (Sheingold, 2000).
In this paper, School-based curriculum development (SBCD) has an intended objective in current reform in education in Singapore brought different issues and challenges to educational practices at various school levels. While facing the newly reform demand on Curriculum Guidelines and implementation of the school-based curriculum development idea, the development must be an urgent need for schools. It is necessary to assess the policy and issue options regarding development of school-based curriculum. It also examines the system' in educational and professional readiness and confidence in developing autonomous school curriculum. Based on the analysis of data collected, these papers presents initial findings and premises and problems embedded in the recent development in school-based curriculum in Singapore. Additionally, the second paper has the main objective of understanding the challenges and issues regarding Ability-driven education (ADE) that provides more opportunities and pathways for students in Singapore to encourage and leverage students in staying in school for workforce preparation. But this paper lacks on the some main points such as methods on how ADE are effectively implemented on the ground. It merely discussed and addressed different tensions and expectations played by different roles played by the school leaders, teachers and students. In this circumstance, social organizations and community are needed critically to work with these innovation, initiatives and students to set realistic educational targets with an objective of raising expectations. It should also provide a clearer sight of the available pathways that can leverage them on achieving higher educational excellence (Monteith, 2004). This might also guide school leaders and community in their decision - making.
These topics suggests innovations and issues including challenges that will be useful for school leaders, teachers, policy makers, and other stakeholders in education who wish to gain a deeper understanding of the principles and processes of learning, and put these into practice. Such a climate promotes diversity and innovation, and fostering uniformity and conservatism as school prefer to innovate from what has worked in the past (Elmore, 2004).
It is worth studying topic. It would be fruitful for the school leaders and teachers as well as for students. This article is significant as the results of this study are applicable to the advancement of the concept of educational reform in different styles of teaching based on the policy and current trends and provides additional information for understanding the curriculum development and assessment.
SuggestsÂ ways in which the key issues present new thinking, opportunities and challenges to the Singapore school curriculum. PleaseÂ appendÂ the articles to your critique paper.
The implication of these recommendations is that the readers would be able to assess and identify ways in which the key issues present new thinking, opportunities and challenges to the Singapore school curriculum and to improve the learning process in general. It will benefit the education through effective learning and evaluating processes.
Classroom-based evaluation and assessment can be very effective in measuring how a learner responds to the new thinking, opportunities and educational goals. When doing decisions about learning process, the school leaders and teacher must take into consideration on how these variables would affect the process learners take in to teaching. In research by Fallows & Bhanot (2005) they reiterated a central finding on the significance of educational practices that most learners can choose to take either different approach to their thinking and learning. A teacher can be one of the most essential influences on which approach they take. If these tasks will be successful, they will facilitate students to go beyond memorization and learning. Similarly, if a task of curriculum emphasizes the understanding of standard principles, then higher approaches to learning can be achieved
The school-based curriculum development presented in the article must obtained significant information to educators based on researches and studies to assist them in their teaching and learning responsibility. It is knowledgeable for the teachers and school leaders that they should learn as much as possible about learning methods and practices so as to determine their performance and effectiveness as educators. It should provide valuable information to students especially they would be able to obtain information about what is learning styles they utilized in the classroom and how each curriculum learning process affects their satisfaction. Teachers should also understand what are the student's needs and which assessment procedure best satisfy the needs of students. The applications of these innovations and methods provide a very interesting perspective from which the learning process can be better understood. It presents a profound, new way of looking at teaching and learning - one that is at the forefront of progressive educational thinking (Rudduck, 1987).
Moreover, one of the most dramatic changes in the last decades in the world of educations has been the incredible advance in technology. Increased performance and speed have been matched by declining costs, thus enabling more and more schools to have access to these new technologies (Goodland, 1994). With the increase in access to these new technologies, educators must have had opportunities to explore different ways of thinking to teach and design instruction through facilitation of new curriculum development and learning methods (Elmore, 2004). Improving and advancing the quality of education and learning is one of the trends and critical issues in educational settings, especially during the expansion of education. Singapore's curriculum must have a very powerful and effective tool for expanding opportunities in education, either non-formal or formal. It also applicable to previously populations in rural areas and scattered constituencies, geopolitical, cultural or ethnic groups which are excluded traditionally from education because of social or cultural reasons such as, women and girls, ethnic minorities, disabled person, and the older population groups (Monteith, 2004).