What It Takes To Be The Best: Contradicting Views Of Culture And Pedagogy In The World's Leading Academic Nation

Year: 2003

Author: Geoghegan, Noel, Geoghegan, Deborah

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

As the highest rating academic nation in the world, Singapore is renowned for high levels of success in all quarters. There are perceptions from outside Singapore that academic rigor is endemic to the local culture and an expectation from a very early age. A recent study examined the views and attitudes of a group of recently retrenched professional women who had decided to retrain as early childhood teachers. The views of the women were sought in an attempt to gauge how their culturally-based views on formal instruction might be challenged by a post- modern humanistic paradigm that rejects "teacher didactic instruction' and promotes "child self-regulated learning." After a pre-treatment attitudinal survey, participants engaged in a five-day workshop exploring the post- modern SEARCH paradigm (Geoghegan, 2002). A post-treatment attitudinal survey was administered. Results indicated a consensus on what constitutes quality in education in Singapore. The data reflected humanistic perspectives that appear at odds with Singapore's international reputation for expecting academic rigor right from the early childhood years.