1st Edition

Singapore’s Approach to Developing Teachers Hindsight, Insight, and Foresight

By Woon Chia Liu Copyright 2022
    214 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    214 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Singapore’s education system has come to international attention due to its commendable performance on the Worldwide Educating for the Future Index produced by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), as well as the students’ continual sterling performance in internationally benchmarked tests such as Trends in International Math and Science Survey (TIMSS), and Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). The accomplishments are the result of a long-haul vision of education, and more importantly, a deep commitment towards developing teachers for the 21st century. Singapore has invested steadfastly from the early years in teachers at the front line of the classrooms in schools. This book explicates the ‘thinking’ behind Singapore’s approach to developing teachers and building the teaching profession. It examines how Singapore strives to attract the best and the brightest people to become teachers, develop them into autonomous professionals, and grow them over their career so that they are able to deliver quality education for every child. The author hopes that by sharing the hindsight, insight and foresight of the system, and looking at Singapore's aspirations and challenges, the book can stimulate reflection and generate discussion, and provide ideas for improving teaching and teacher learning worldwide.

    Part I The teaching profession 1. A national priority and a profession 2. Teacher status and symbol 3. Learning as part of the DNA 4. Optimise strengths and support growth 5. The Tripartite partnership Part II Preparing the teachers 6. Rooted in values 7. Significance of ownership 8. Clinical practice and teacher personhood 9. Cutting-edge technology and innovative pedagogy 10. Multiple perspectives and future-orientation


    Woon Chia Liu is the Dean of Teacher Education at the National Institute of Education (NIE), Singapore. She is also an Associate Professor with the Psychology and Child & Human Development Academic Group and a co-founder of the NIE’s Motivation in Educational Research Laboratory. During her Deanship, she led her team to develop and implement the NTU-NIE Teaching Scholars Programme and the 16-month extended Postgraduate Diploma in Education programmes. She co-chaired the committee that developed the NIE Teaching and Learning Framework, and led a team to champion the use of IoT in Education, which eventually culminated in the opening of the IoT@NIE learning lab, a world first in an education institute of higher learning. In addition, she works very closely with schools and the Ministry of Education, Singapore. For example, she was in the Steering Committee and co-chaired the Working Committee for the development of the Singapore Teaching Practice (STP), which articulates Singapore’s vision of learning in the classroom, our beliefs about students as learners, and the teaching practices that support the realisation of this vision. As part of the NIE Senior Leadership team, she represented Singapore and/or NIE on international platforms such as the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Centre specialising in Higher Education Development (SEAMEO RIHED) Governing Board and the Asian Roundtable of Presidents of Universities of Education.

    Prior to her appointment as Dean, she was the Associate Dean, Practicum and School Partnerships (2009–2014). She was instrumental in the conceptualisation of the enhanced practicum model. From 2008 to 2009, she served as a co-chair of the Theory-Practice task force in the NIE’s Programme Review and Enhancement (PRE) initiative, which culminated in the NIE’s Teacher Education Model for the 21st Century (TE21). She is a trained teacher and taught Chemistry and Mathematics at the secondary level before joining NIE.

    "It is widely known that as part of the national mindset, teachers in Singapore are highly appreciated and the teacher profession is attractive for young people. Woon Chia describes thoroughly in her book "Singapore’s Approach to Developing Teachers: Hindsight, Insight and Foresight", how professional teachers in Singapore are educated, what kind of competences they learn in initial teacher education and how they learn these competences. Woon Chia Liu helps the reader to understand the deep meaning of teacher professionalism through her interesting description on the education context of Singapore. I highly recommend the book to teacher educators, teachers, policymakers and persons who are responsible for the development of teachers at the national level."

    - Jari Lavonen, Professor and Chair of the National Teacher Education Forum, University of Helsinki, Finland

    "Around the world there is acute awareness of the importance of teachers to help students develop the competencies they need to thrive, but less clarity about how to achieve this. Woon Chia’s careful study of how Singapore prepares teachers could not be more relevant. A careful scholarly analysis of the conceptual underpinnings of Singapore’s framework for teacher education and of the programs of Singapore’s National Institute of Education of teacher education, the book benefits from the unique insights and knowledge of a scholar who has also been an architect and leader of the efforts it studies. Everyone interested in the future of the teaching profession should read this book, it will change the way you think about what it takes to support excellent teachers."

    - Fernando M. Reimers, Ford Foundation Professor of the Practice of International Education and Director of the Global Education Innovation Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education

    "Teachers play an invaluable role in every society, but not every society appreciates their importance. In this rich and detailed work, Woon Chia reveals the Singaporean strategy of valuing, preparing, and supporting educators to facilitate the learning and development of citizens. This is a critical reading for school leaders, policy makers and researchers around the globe."

    - Richard Ryan, Co-Founder of Self-Determination Theory, and Professor, Institute for Positive Psychology and Education, Australian Catholic University, North Sydney