Beginning is easy; continuing, hard: Curriculum implementation in the Singaporean education context

Year: 2012

Author: Atencio, Matthew, Lim-Arasaratnam, Christina

Type of paper: Refereed paper


As encapsulated by the Japanese saying, beginning a process such as curricular change may be the easiest stage of the journey. Continuing the journey and staying the course of the change is arguably the most difficult aspect. As with many nations worldwide, Singapore has been reviewing and attempting to enhance its education system, concomitantly implementing several curricular innovation agendas over the past decade. As lecturers who are regularly involved in the professional development of Singaporean teachers, we are left wondering: how do the teachers in Singaporean educational institutions perceive the implementation of these innovations and changes? In this article, then, we synthesise several cases of curricular innovation implementation experienced by a group of teachers from Singaporean educational institutions. Findings illustrate several key issues, including: teachers' perceived ownership of the innovation, the agentive capacity of leaders, and the influence of collaborative learning. Taken together, these findings provide a rich tapestry that describes the complex school environments that make implementing and sustaining curriculum innovation challenging in the Singapore context.