ed message

As a result of Singapore’s successful implementation of the bilingual education system, our students are now literate in two or more languages and they are more prepared for the globalised world. However, with the steady shift of home language environment in Singapore, students’ proficiency in their Mother Tongues has become increasingly an area of concern. The Singapore Centre for Chinese Language (SCCL) was established in 2009 to help to address this by providing quality training for the Chinese Language teachers as well as carrying out innovative research into teaching and learning strategies. I am glad to report that we have made great strides over the past years.

 

In the area of in-service teachers’ training, apart from offering courses targeted at all Chinese Language teachers in Singapore, SCCL now also offers school-based specialisation courses and professional consultation for schools and school clusters. These have helped SCCL better address the specific needs of teachers in individual schools and clusters in Singapore. SCCL is also providing professional research support to experienced teachers who are participating in the Enhanced Professional Development Leave (PDL) Scheme offered by the Ministry of Education (MOE) since 2009.

 

In the area of Chinese Language teaching research and development, SCCL has undertaken two key types of research, namely School-based Pedagogical Research and Education Research.

 

School-based Pedagogical Research aims to develop and validate teaching strategies that cater to the needs of Chinese Language teachers teaching in Singapore. We work closely with school teachers, keeping in mind the "Research-Validate-Train" (先研-后证-再教) spirit. The research team in SCCL proposes pedagogical approaches or strategies that stem from theories related to language teaching, while the teachers we work with implement these strategies in their schools, observing and improving on the approaches in the process. All teaching approaches or strategies that have been proven as feasible, after 1-2 years of experimentation, have been refined into pedagogical approaches and widely promoted through SCCL’s courses. These include teaching and learning of oral language skills, written language skills, as well as integrated language ability, just to name a few.

 

The purpose of Education Research is to develop tools and resources that would aid in solving the problems that many Singaporean students face in learning the Chinese Language and improve the competencies of Chinese Language teachers. These projects include the development of a specialised-dynamic-balanced corpus of both spoken and written Chinese in Singapore, and the development of an automated evaluation system for Chinese compositions.

 

In the area of publications, SCCL is proud to have developed numerous sets of Teaching Toolkits to aid teachers, and to have published notable academic journals and award-winning international conference papers.

 

SCCL shall build upon the foundation laid over the past years to further strengthen and scale our work for courses and research. We will work closely with MOE to support the rollout of new Mother Tongue syllabi through updating the course contents and developing related research. In addition, we will continue to conduct courses related to pedagogy, assessment, curriculum and teaching literacy based on the needs of Chinese Language teachers to enable them to upgrade their teaching competencies and enhance their professional growth. Furthermore, SCCL will deepen the collaborations with local and overseas tertiary institutes, schools and Chinese Language education organisations to conduct academic courses and professional exchanges, so as to enhance SCCL’s status as a regional centre for the teaching of Chinese as a second language and the training of Chinese Language teachers.

 

With the continued strong support from our Board of Directors, Ministry of Education (MOE), the Nanyang Technological University (NTU), and the National Institute of Education (NIE), we are fully confident that SCCL will continue to progress and cement its growing reputation as a premier centre for the teaching and research of Chinese as a second language and training of Chinese language teachers in Singapore, as well as in the region.

 

Dr Chin Chee Kuen
Executive Director, SCCL