1st Edition

A Teacher’s Playkit for Knowledge Building Creative Ways to Make Students’ Ideas Come Alive

By Chew Lee Teo Copyright 2024
    124 Pages 61 Color & 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    124 Pages 61 Color & 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    124 Pages 61 Color & 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Delving into the journey of teachers and students in the knowledge building classroom, Teo’s playkit offers practical approaches to making classrooms a place of knowledge creation.

    Teo highlights the potential and possibility of idea-centric discourse and interactions in Singapore’s high-performing education system while offering a trilogue among researchers, teachers and students: the agents of a knowledge building environment in classrooms. Documenting case examples of knowledge building lessons in relation to the curriculum design and pedagogical decisions and moves, as well as the formative assessment, the book focuses on those 21st-century practices embedded within the knowledge building process. It comprises a series of teachers’ journeys in different subjects and grades, demonstrating the depth and breadth of projects that students are capable of pursuing in class when they are entrusted to work with their own ideas and questions. It also offers a collection of concrete tools and strategies for teachers to use to support knowledge building work. The different case examples support teachers in their design effort and will encourage the community of researchers and educators to continue to imagine the possibilities of pedagogical educational reform.

    Written for practitioners, this playkit aims to engage the wider community of teachers to play with their own lesson ideas as they engage their students in knowledge creation.

    1. Chapter 1. Introduction. 2. Chapter 2. Why do we need Knowledge Building? 3. Chapter 3. Knowledge Building principles and Practices 4. Chapter 4. Confronting Common Notions of learning 5. Chapter 5. Teachers’ Knowledge Building Practices 6. Chapter 6. Making it happen: Living Theories, Thinking Pedagogy, Growing Classrooms


    Chew Lee Teo is a Senior Research Scientist and Deputy Centre Director (Centre for Research in Pedagogy and Practice), National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University. She was a teacher for a number of years before moving into academia and has a PhD in Curriculum, Teaching and Learning from University of Toronto, Canada.

    Dr Teo Chew Lee shows deep passion, knowledge and commitment to changing the way teaching and learning works in Singapore, shifting from traditional modes to new modalities that place both teachers and students, ideas and discourse, agency and authenticity, at the core of schooling. This is transformative work that is highly recommended to practitioners, school leaders and researchers alike.

    Dr Dennis Kwek, Centre Director, Centre for Research in Pedagogy and Practice, National Institute of Education, Singapore

    With rich, compelling examples of teaching and learning in real classrooms, Dr  Teo Chew Lee shows why and how collaborative Knowledge Building imparts essential values and skills to students of any age.  More than a step-by-step how-to guide, the book is that rare resource that bridges research and practice in authentic, relatable and invaluable ways.  Here, teachers will find specific support for shifting the culture of their schools toward idea-centred, inquiry-based classrooms that champion deep thinking and commitment to idea improvement.  Best of all, because the book shares encouraging research data and excellent outcomes of its application, it demonstrates what is possible when the priority is deep understanding for everyone – children, practitioners, and researchers alike. 

    Elizabeth Morley, Principal Emerita, University of Toronto, Canada

    Dr Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Laboratory School, University of Toronto, Canada

    Knowledge Building is an international innovation that has spanned three decades. This is the most valuable book for teachers that I have encountered.  It provides comprehensive guidelines for advancing students’ creative ideas illustrated with vivid teacher stories.  A must-read for all educators interested in Knowledge Building practice and classroom innovation.

    Professor Carol Chan, University of Hong Kong, Honorary Professor, Academic Unit of Human Communication, Development, and Information Sciences, Hong Kong

    Knowledge Building is essentially creating a space for learners to explore real-world problems and advancing ideas. This insightful playkit for Knowledge Building will not only be a true aid for learning but a service to all educators who are in their formative years of exploring Knowledge Building.

    Mdm Sulochanah Kanapathy, Leading Foundation Teacher 2021 Award Recipient, Sarada Kindergarten, Singapore

    Every Innovation starts with an idea, every idea grows via a community. Through practical examples and authentic classroom illustrations, Chew Lee has shown how Knowledge Building, as a powerful pedagogy, can deepen the learning process and transform the way students acquire and work with knowledge in a real-world setting. I would recommend this book to all educators who believe in the power and potential of idea-centric teaching practices. 

    Melvin Chan Joo Seng, Senior Teacher, History, Teck Whye Secondary School, Singapore

    A Teacher’s Playkit to Knowledge Building charts new territories of classrooms being idea-centric.  It presents systematically the principles of Knowledge Building supported by authentic voices of children and teachers.  It does not shy away from challenges but thinking unconventionally makes the journey most fulfilling for all.  

    Mdm Pushpa, Honorary Mentor Principal of Ramakrishna Mission Sarada Kindergarten School, Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) Fellow, Singapore