LEAD— Loving English, Always Discovering
CARE— Collaborating Actively to Reimagine English Language & Literature
L.I.F.E. — Love * Integrity * Fidelity * Empathy
In Yuying Secondary School, the English Language (EL) department does not teach merely the subject; we teach Life. The philosophy “We Lead, We Care, and We Teach Life” undergirds the teaching and learning of EL. Aligned to the EL Syllabus, the department focuses on helping students to make sense of the world they are in, and empowering them to impact the community around them through the purposeful use of language. At the end of their 4-5 years with us, students will appreciate EL as a lingua franca that allows them to navigate the 21st century in a meaningful and purposeful way.
Given the diverse profile of our students, a principled blend of teaching methods is adopted to ensure that all our students learn. The department uses a repertoire of pedagogical approaches to ensure effective teaching and learning in the classrooms.
“By giving our students practice in talking with others, we give them frames for thinking on their own.”
~Lev S. Vygotsky
Dialogic Teaching and Learning
The 3-year Whole School Approach to Effective Communication (WSA-EC) journey has resulted in the effective use of classroom talk to impact learning. One of the department’s pedagogical approaches is harnessing the power of talk in the classroom to stimulate and extend students’ thinking. The dialogic teaching and learning approach helps to advance students’ learning and understanding through generative conversations in the class and interactions between teacher and students. This, in turn, heightens the personal engagement with the subject matter.
Thinking Routines & Protocols
Visible thinking routines and protocols are weaved into the teaching of the units in class. It is a deliberate focus on developing thinking skills from the time they enter our school. With the understanding that skilful critical thinking has to be taught explicitly and modelled, teachers employ the use of thinking routines to empower students to question and deepen their learning. Beyond possessing in-depth knowledge, we develop our students’ capacity to generate and create new ideas.
“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important.” – Bill Gates
The EL department uses ICT as a tool for teaching, taking into consideration the pedagogical affordance, social affordances and most importantly, the technological affordances. Hence, ICT is a vehicle which enhances teaching and learning to support the achievement of objectives. Through the understanding of affordances, teachers are able to skilfully select the relevant ICT tool to facilitate learning and develop digital literacy in our students at the same time.
“The educator’s part in the enterprise of education is to furnish the environment which stimulates responses and directs the learner’s course.”
~ John Dewey
Aligned to the 21CC curriculum, differentiated curriculum and instruction practices are more than individualisation. The EL department views the art of differentiation as meeting students’ learning needs. With a greater repertoire of resources, teachers seek to meet the diverse needs of the 21st Century classroom. Utilising smaller class sizes, flexible grouping and tiered assignments and activities allow teachers to respond to different learning needs. With the roll-out of Subject-Based Banding, the department is able to nurture students’ strengths in the subject.
As part of internal curriculum review, the department will move into Project-Based Learning (PBL) for the Lower Secondary in 2018. This approach allows students to experience the interconnectedness of the curriculum and how issues in life are complex and layered. While the thematic approach will be ongoing, Term 1 for the academic year will be focused on PBL where students will be exposed to issues at a greater depth and breadth. PBL will create the platform for students to pursue topics that engage them personally, explore projects through inquiry, and develop awareness and enduring curiosity about issues in the Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous (VUCA) world.