SINGAPORE: The Education Ministry announced on Wednesday (Sep 23) that it is designating Yusof Ishak Secondary School (YISS) as a Centre for Teaching and Learning Excellence, as part of a move to boost the professional development of teachers in Singapore.
Five to seven "master teachers" will be attached to the school for one to three days a week. These master teachers will conduct a series of demonstration classes involving students.
"They will co-teach with our teachers in schools in our classrooms and by doing that, we hope to explore and demonstrate the most effective and the most advanced teaching method. That way, we can raise the quality of teaching right across our system and provide students with an even better learning experience," said Education Minister Heng Swee Keat.
Trainee teachers and existing teachers from other schools will be able to observe these classes. In some instances, the observations can be done in a separate room equipped with a one-way mirror.
The aim is to facilitate teachers to learn best practices and teaching strategies in areas such as dealing with students' attention and interest.
The master teachers will also be providing consultancy and mentoring teachers at different stages of their careers.
Professors from the National Institute of Education (NIE) will also be attached to the school to work with teachers in developing innovative pedagogies.
"Currently in NIE, student teachers do have a chance to go to schools for observation, (but) the scale is a lot smaller. With this YISS partnership, we have a very structured approach so students can really come in instead of just observing videos," said Professor Liu Woon Chia, Dean of Teacher Education at the National Institute of Education.
"In videos, you may not see the nuances, you may not see the expression of the students and in certain times, they cut off certain things so it is not authentic. But in this situation, (they get to experience) authentic learning. It is not just imitating what you observe; you want to know why it works so that you can actually cascade that in your own school or when you go back to NIE, you can cascade back to other student teachers," added Prof Liu.
MOE said YISS was chosen to host the centre given the school's diverse student profile. It was also done in honour of Singapore's first President Yusof Ishak as a nod to his convictions that education enables individuals to progress.