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Home » Research » List of Journals & Articles » Social Studies Journal Articles - Page 2

Social Studies Journal Articles - Page 2

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Ho, L. C. (2010). "Don't worry, I'm not going to report you": Education for citizenship in Singapore. Theory and Research in Social Education, 38(2), 298-316.

ABSTRACT. This case study examined how Singapore adolescents from different socio-economic, academic, and racial backgrounds positioned themselves as citizens within a highly-regulated centralized educational context. Through interviews, classroom observations, and surveys, the author investigated students’ conceptions of citizenship and their perspectives of the official historical national narrative. Despite their different backgrounds, participants from all three schools consistently provided very similar depictions of citizenship and key events in Singapore’s history. This shared understanding can partially be attributed to the inclusive nature of the national narrative in the school curriculum, which consistently emphasizes the themes of unity, consensus, and harmony. At the same time, the participants consciously avoided addressing controversial issues and none contested the central narrative of racial harmony, meritocracy, and progress, largely due to a combination of a climate of censorship and a regime of high stakes tests that stifle democratic discourse within the classroom.

Nichol, R., & Sim, J. B.-Y. (2007). Singaporean citizenship, national education and social studies: Control, constraints, contradictions and possibilities. Citizenship Teaching and Learning, 3(1), 17-31.

ABSTRACT. This paper examines the relationship between social studies, citizenship education, multiculturalism, and national education in Singapore. In many countries, including the United States and Australia, the social studies curriculum has been given the task of preparing young people to be citizens (Gonzales, Riedel, Avery and Sullivan, 2001; Nichol, 1995; Print, 2000). Social Studies in Singapore is seen as an instrument of nation-building, as a vehicle for inculcating the six National Education (NE) messages concerning a sense of belonging and patriotism, racial and religious harmony, a meritocracy without corruption, economic opportunity, efficiency and prosperity, and developing a secure, confident, forward-looking, cohesive citizenry [1] . While NE continues to be the core, there are initiatives designed to ‘open-up’ the subject, to make it less focussed on purely Singaporean Studies, more creative, analytical and questioning. It is to “…instil a sense of national identity as well as global awareness” (Ministry of Education 2005a). Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, in 2004, called for empowering youth, “to give them a say in their lives, to make them feel they can make a difference”. However, tensions and contradictory messages are surfacing between forms of governance, NE policy, and educational reform and practice. Some of those charged with this responsibility question how education can be opened if society is still relatively constrained. Singapore lacks many democratic processes and is threatened by fraught relations with neighbouring countries. We argue in the paper that, within limits, more empathy, appreciation and respect for other cultures and religions, must be developed. Also, if students are expected to accept ideas uncritically, they will not be prepared, affectively and effectively, to meet Singapore’s future cultural and national challenges.