Thomas Friedman Impressed by Serious Singapore (NY Times)

Came across this article in the NY Times that I found interesting. Always keen to see how Singapore is viewed from the outside.  The article left me amazed at how far we’ve come with our primary school Science lessons.  When I was in primary 5, we just had the teacher reading to us from a textbook. We didn’t have any science labs then till we got to Secondary school. It also makes me wonder wether this is a regular class or a special one in view of the visit.  If it was a regular class with 11 year old learning about DNA and taking fingerprints, I am impressed.

Here’s an extract of the NY Times Article, Serious in Singapore which flatters our government quite a bit. It’s all good, and I guess I sound hard to please, but I would still want minimum wage and welfare measures in place. I also get a feeling that our kids have too much on their plates at school. It just all feels very stressful with kids starting off as early as 15 months in nursery classes:

I am in the Gan Eng Seng Primary School in a middle-class neighborhood of Singapore, and the principal, A. W. Ai Ling, has me visiting a fifth-grade science class. All the 11-year-old boys and girls are wearing junior white lab coats with their names on them. Outside in the hall, yellow police tape has blocked off a “crime scene” and lying on a floor, bloodied, is a fake body that has been murdered. The class is learning about DNA through the use of fingerprints, and their science teacher has turned the students into little C.S.I. detectives. They have to collect fingerprints from the scene and then break them down.

I missed that DNA lesson when I was in fifth grade. When I asked the principal whether this was part of the national curriculum, she said no. She just had a great science teacher, she said, and was aware that Singapore was making a big push to expand its biotech industries and thought it would be good to push her students in the same direction early. A couple of them checked my fingerprints. I was innocent — but impressed.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore & recently cancer too.
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3 Responses to Thomas Friedman Impressed by Serious Singapore (NY Times)

  1. As a mom and a teacher I am ever increasingly aware of the importance of good teachers. I so appreciate you sharing this article because it truly makes for a good comparison to what it is like to live here in Italy. I was born and raised in Southern California with a high level of education and great schools.

    Here, in Italy, I see the level of education drastically declining year after year due to teacher burn out, government cuts and basically just a bad working environment.

    When I see lab coats with names on kids I think it sort of just enthralls the kids and involves them. It’s hands on experience. I get criticized because I teach English and then I take the kids outside to see in person and identify if they can names of places in English.

    Here, the ask me to just teach grammar. That’s a laugh. I try to do my best but sometimes seem to get hit from every angle.

    At the same time, I have my kids involved in sports with team jackets and names inprinted on the chest and I can see how participating actively in organized activities truly brings out the best in them, with a sense of pride and belonging.

    What I am trying to say is I commend this teaching method.


    • bookjunkie says:

      When I was a kid it was the teachers that took us out of the classroom and did things totally not recommended by the principal or the system that taught me the most. They were so creative and their love of teaching made me love learning. Julie I think you are one of those teachers and I hope the system doesn’t hold you back…looks like it can’t 🙂

  2. Pingback: What other bloggers are teaching me about Singapore « Expat Bostonians

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