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Home » Research » List of Journals & Articles » Social Studies Journal Articles - Page 4

Social Studies Journal Articles - Page 4

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Sim, J. B.-Y., & Ho, L.C. (2010). Transmitting social and national values through education in Singapore. In T. Lovat, R. Toomey & N. Clement (Eds.), International research handbook on values education and student wellbeing: Springer.

ABSTRACT. There are diverse opinions regarding the place of values in the curriculum and also approaches to be employed when teaching values. In Singapore, values education is accorded high priority. Characteristic of countries with highly centralized systems, the Singapore state expresses the set of national values that emphasizes communitarian principles, consensus and cohesion in detail, and systematically transmits them to students via the formal curriculum. In Singapore, values education is primarily subject-based and is carefully planned, with a clearly delineated list of aims and objectives to culturally reproduce the elites’ view of Singapore society. Much of the discourse surrounding the national values, however, is dominated by the state’s focus on national interest and pragmatism. In this chapter, the authors take the position that schools in Singapore are deliberately created social institutions that are nested within particular social, political and economic realities, and as such, they serve as a means of maintaining social control and sustaining the status quo. The transmission of the prescribed set of national values through school subjects has mostly been deemed unproblematic and is seldom troubled. Nonetheless, the social, political and economic pressures, brought about by the forces of globalization, have problematized the conception of values education in Singapore. In this chapter, the authors examine how a newly introduced subject in secondary schools – Social Studies – is framed by the national values and ideologies defined by the state, and discuss the inherent tensions brought about by changing contexts. They argue that such an approach is both constraining and inadequate, when what is needed to ensure student well-being in the current era is an understanding and recognition of diversity, alternative visions of the world and multiliteracies.

Sim, J. B.-Y., & Print, M. (2005). Citizenship education and social studies in Singapore: A national agenda. International Journal of Citizenship and Teacher Education, 1(1), 58-73.

ABSTRACT. Citizenship education has been, in some form, an overarching goal of public schooling historically in every society, as it is in Singapore today. The introduction of social studies as a compulsory and examinable subject in Singapore secondary schools in 2001 reflects the continuous single-minded pursuit of citizenship education to meet perceived national needs. Social studies has become, therefore, a key subject of the state for citizenship education in the context of national education.

We report on research into teacher understandings and approaches to citizenship education within the context of this compulsory subject and under the umbrella of national education. While still in the early stages of implementation, it is certain that social studies is a departure from past citizenship education programmes. Social studies in emphasizing the development of thinking in students, is an important curricula move in light of the conservative history of citizenship education in Singapore, and this bears implications for citizenship education in schools.