IN REVIEW: We weigh in on MOE’s plan for ‘No Streaming by 2024‘
Major reforms to Singapore's education system were announced in parliament recently, most notably the abolishment of streaming by 2024, towards a system of Subject-based Banding (SBB). What will this mean for parents and students?
From the commentary that we have sampled, a most significant drawback of streaming is how it unwittingly punishes academically weaker students through labelling and stigmatisation. The new system of SBB will blunt this negative effect but not eradicate it, because while streaming is now less overt, it is but masked under the subject classifications G1-3.
We expect it will be quite challenging for schools to deliver on this new policy: there are time-table issues, and teachers having to juggle multiple levels within the same class, to say the least. Administrative and logistical issues can disrupt lesson delivery and the learning process in the classroom, because every system operates within limits that are made even more acute by the burdens it must bear.
There is an upside to this, though: mixing up of students of different bands, if managed properly, can be very conducive for learning. In perforating that cultural and social divide between 'weaker' and 'stronger' students, weaker students are motivated to do better when they see that the stronger students are human just like them; stronger students are pushed to excel lest they rest on their laurels. For both groups, their horizons are broadened. Anxious parents might feel more assured if their children have a one-track mind and focus on academic excellence -- but life is a long race, and its challenges, multi-faceted. In a well-managed multi-band classroom, students could pick up a more holistic spread of personal and social skills that will serve them well in life.
Moreover, unlike streaming which is very much fixed, SBB seems to offer flexibility – chances for mobility within the subject bands means that a student's education pathway is now less determined by the system than his or her own choices and commitment. For late bloomers, and those who desire to do better, they will have more chances to make good.
That said, the core of education and learning has not changed. In whatever way the education system is tweaked, the fundamental truth remains that learning happens and is determined at the level of the individual. For instance, the system may label a student – this is an operational matter. It is up to the student to not let the label define him and get in the way of what he must do: to be educated.
At Creative Campus, we focus on building the individual. The education system is not tailored to the individual, teachers at school may be over-burdened, and even good schools can be 'bad' as the case may be; but the student with the motivation and skills to learn, can prevail over these factors, and do all right. We teach English only – language is the conduit of thought, and through our programme, children learn to be curious, to imagine, analyse and express themselves with clarity and perspective. Regardless of the stream or band, this core ability makes the effective difference in one's education.
PSLE English Paper 1 2018: A Short Analysis
The following is the essay questions from the 2018 PSLE English Paper 1, according to feedback from several of our students and other sources.
Write a composition of at least 150 words about teamwork. The pictures are provided to help you think about the topic. Your composition should be based on one or more of these pictures. Consider the following points when you plan your composition.
You may use the points in any order and include other relevant points as well. [* The three pictures given include a trophy; a group of students cooking; and several students gathering around, looking at a laptop.]
The topic was expected and the pictures were equally relatable. After all, all students need to do is to choose at least one picture and tell a story about how it relates to teamwork. However, merely doing so will give students an average grade. Delving deeper and handling the essay with a better perspective is what differentiates average students from the crème de la crème.
The trick to rise above the competition is to do one or more of the following:
On the one hand, schools tend to play the safe card for a major exam such as the PSLE. Hence, students are generally encouraged to write a narrative essay in the PSLE. The competition heats up with this approach, since the way to break the 35-mark barrier would be to:
On the other hand, students should be equipped to approach the PSLE essay. At Creative Campus, while we prepare the students on how to approach the topic differently, we also harness their personal voice to develop a plot that is unique to them. The focus on techniques, rather than staid model essays, will gear them to attempt any topic with ease, and in the process, stand out from their peers.
On the first week of 2019, students at Creative Campus were taught how to handle the PSLE 2018 question effectively. Should you be interested to receive a sample copy of the notes, click the button below to view and download.
If you're viewing the worksheet on a mobile device, click the download icon to save the file.
1. CAN'T FAULT HIM
A little boy in my infant class came to school and told me he could spell his mum’s name. “M-U-M,” he said proudly. Before I could congratulate him, another little boy said excitedly, “That’s how you spell my mum’s name too!”
2. FAST & FURIOUS
A turtle was walking down a dark alley when he was mugged by a gang of snails. A police detective came to investigate and asked the turtle if he could explain what happened. The turtle looked at the detective with a confused look on his face and replied, “I don’t know, it all happened so fast.”
3. MAN V. WOMAN
My newly retired husband was watching as I went about my daily routine. I vacuumed, cleaned, ironed and sorted the laundry, and after making us both a cup of coffee, I sat down. Hubby looked at me thoughtfully. Has he finally realised he could help, I wondered?
My hopes were dashed when he said, “Isn’t it wonderful how you always find ways to keep yourself so busy.”
When a teacher asked my six-year-old why his handwriting wasn’t as neat as usual, he responded, “I’m trying a new font.”
A man approaches a very beautiful woman in a large supermarket and says, “I’ve lost my wife in the aisles. Would you mind talking to me for a couple of minutes?”
“Why?” the woman replies.
“Because every time I speak to a pretty lady, my wife appears out of nowhere.”
6. BIRDS OF FEATHER
A football coach called out the new member saying, "Look, I'm not supposed to have you on this team because you failed your mathematics but we really do need you to play for us. What I'll do is ask you one simple maths question and if you answer it correctly I'll sign a slip to say that you've passed maths, OK?'
The player nodded. "Right" said the coach: "What's four plus four?" The player wrinkled his forehead and thought for a while, then replied, "Eight!"
Immediately all the other team members shouted," Aw, come on coach. Give him another chance!"
7. OLD GENERATION
While he was visiting, my father asked for the password to our Wi-Fi.
“It’s taped under the modem,” I told him.
After three failed attempts to log on, he asked, “Am I spelling this right? T-A-P-E-D-U-N-D-E-R-T-H-E-M-O-D-E-M?”
A man is drinking with his wife when out of the blue he announces, "I love you."
"Is that you or the beer talking?" she asks.
"It’s me," he says, "talking to the beer."
Hello and welcome to our first of many blogs regarding English enrichment and its many aspects. We will be talking about many forms and meanings relating to English, ranging from punctuation, pronunciation, spelling, grammar, phonics and a whole lot more.
To start us off, we will begin by looking at oral and pronunciation, and why many students, who are learning English, find it difficult at first. This is because everybody has an accent from their mother tongue and so can be difficult to lose when learning a new language. Furthermore, certain word soundings will be challenging, but keep practicing, and never give up if you really want to sound like a English native.
Here are three methods for you to try.
Let’s take a look at some words.
Socialisation (so shul iz a shion)
Television (tel a viz ion)
Following (fo low ing)
Pronouncing (pro nown sing)
Weather (weth er)
Internet (in te net)
Condition (con dit shon)
Anomaly (a nom ma lee)
Adding to letters (vowels) together will dramatically change the pronunciation.
ou and ow, gives the “ow” sound.Out, owl.
ea and ee, gives the “ee” sound.Fleeing, seeing, sea.
ie and ei, gives the “ee” sound.Receive, receipt,
oi, gives the oy sound.Choice.