Teachers get additional support ahead of full subject-based banding pilot

Teachers get additional support ahead of full subject-based banding pilot

O Level results at Mayflower Secondary
Students at Mayflower Secondary School receiving their GCE 'O' Level results in 2015. (Photo: Marcus Mark Ramos)

SINGAPORE: Teachers from the 28 secondary schools that will be piloting Full Subject-Based Banding (Full SBB) from next year are being prepared and given additional support, the Ministry of Education (MOE) said on Wednesday (Oct 30).

The new system will be rolled out by 2024 across all secondary schools.

“This will ensure that our teachers are well equipped to implement the various aspects of full subject-based banding and manage the needs of a broader range of students,” said MOE in its news release.

To encourage the sharing of best practices and teaching approaches in the classroom, MOE has extended subject-specific networked learning communities (NLC) to teachers from the pilot schools. 

READ: 28 secondary schools to pilot full subject-based banding from 2020

In these NLCs, master teachers or teaching leaders and mentors, as well as curriculum planners from MOE headquarters will support teachers from the pilot schools in identifying and addressing their needs for a particular subject. 

“NLCs will also give educators the opportunity to learn from one another in developing curriculum and assessment plans,” said MOE. 

Teachers in the full subject-based banding pilot schools will meet face-to-face at least once a semester, said MOE, and can also collaborate and share resources online. 

“In this way, MOE is able to gain a better understanding of the challenges teachers face and how to better support them in the transition to full subject-based banding,” said the statement. 

swiss cottage secondary NE
Students at Swiss Cottage Secondary School discuss meritocracy and social inequality at a Glocal Perspectives class led by teacher Mini Sathiya Sidhan. (Photo: Lianne Chia) 

MOE has also developed new workshops for teachers from the 28 pilot schools “to empower them to teach and manage more diverse classrooms”. 

These workshops include ones on strengthening positive classroom culture, tailoring instruction to meet different learning needs and ways to assess students’ learning. 

For example, the secondary 1 form teacher workshop aims to help teachers support students to learn and relate well to other students. Participants of this workshop will learn “how to better foster a sense of belonging and connectedness” in the new re-organised classes, and discuss good practices to create an environment that “celebrates diversity and empowers students”.

Selected pilot schools will also invite master teachers and curriculum planners to co-construct and deliver lessons in class. MOE said that it hopes this partnership will create resources, such as video recordings of lessons in re-organised classes, which can then be shared with teachers in other schools when full subject-based banding is further implemented. 

READ: Government to end current system of secondary school streaming - What you need to know

Full subject-based banding was announced earlier this year to replace the existing system of streaming students into Express, Normal (Academic) or Normal (Technical) based on their PSLE results.

Under the new system, students will take subjects at a higher or lower level based on their strengths. 

Students in these schools will also take a set of subjects such as art, design and technology as well as music at a common level. 

Source: CNA/hw(mn)

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