IP Overview

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Introduction

PLMGS(Sec)’s Teaching & Learning (T&L) is framed around the concepts denoted by the acronym ClapS. ClapS pulls together elements that help staff design and deliver a forward-looking curriculum that develops in our students independent learning, the meta-cognitive ability and 21st Century competencies (PL DOEs). This curriculum is delivered through engaging pedagogy that is subject-specific and aligned to effective assessment with the goals of engaging and supporting students in their learning. Student-centredness is at the heart of the framework.

The T&L Framework is premised on the teacher’s role as the key architect in planning the students’ classroom experiences. Our staff are guided by MOE’s PETALS framework and the performance areas in the Skilful Teacher in their lesson preparation and delivery. Our students are constantly encouraged to adopt the PEARLS learning habits for effective engagement.

The T&L Framework can be represented by a metaphor of a yacht sailing forward. It depicts our intent of providing a forward-looking curriculum that is delivered with engaging pedagogies and effective assessment to realise the PL Desired Outcomes of Education (DOEs) in our students.

Staff: PETALS TM Framework

(Adapted from The PETALSTM Primer toolbox4)
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The PETALS Framework comprises five dimensions of engaged learning. These five dimensions are
  • Pedagogy,
  • Experience of Learning,
  • Tone of Environment,
  • Assessment and
  • Learning Content.

Each dimension addresses a different aspect of learning and teaching, which, put together, would greatly enhance learning. The skill with which teachers draw on the PETALS dimensions to guide their lesson planning and teaching will influence the level of student engagement in learning. In devising learning for a range of students, the teacher makes numerous instructional decisions when planning and delivering lessons. Every lesson is an opportunity to positively influence student learning. 

Staff: The Skilful Teacher

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Figure: The knowledge base of areas of performance in The Skillful Teacher

Every staff of PLMGS(Sec) has gone through professional development designed by our Senior Teachers in the knowledge base of areas of performance in The Skilful Teacher5. We define skilful teaching to include anything a teacher does that impacts the probability of intended learning. Thus it includes a wide array of skills such as communicating their belief in students’ capabilities, motivating and engaging students, demonstrating cultural proficiency, planning engaging lessons, making concepts and skills accessible, and continuously assessing student understanding. It also includes quite a range of activities beyond interactive classroom behaviours, such as analysing data, designing re-teaching, involving families, and being a good colleague and team member. The aim of professional development for teachers is to continuously expand one’s repertoire for teaching and skilfully matching which tool or strategy best fits a given learning situation.

Student’s Learning disposition: PEARLS

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We recognise that appropriate learning dispositions are needed for deep engagement in learning. The following dispositions, represented by the acronym PEARLS, have been identified and promoted amongst the students:
  • ‘Be Present in body and mind’ means to concentrate fully on the task at hand in the learning moment. It requires the learner to arrest every stray thought and cultivate self-discipline and resilience through exercising one’s choice to want to learn.
  • ‘Enjoy the moment of learning’ reminds learners not to take for granted the learning opportunity. It encourages learners to relate to the learning content and make it meaningful and relevant to life. 
  • ‘Ask good questions’ reminds the learners to ask well-designed questions which reveal learners’ insights, understanding and applications of their learning. This has to be supported by a classroom atmosphere grounded in trust. 
  • ‘Reflect on learning’ is a good habit that we want to promote to help learners make meaning of the learning content and get into the habit of linking and constructing meaning from their experiences. 
  • ‘Listen attentively’ refers to one practising good listening skills. This is necessary as the teachers provide students with information that is critical to their mastery of the learning content. Learners need to pay attention in class in order to receive the full benefit of class time learning. 
  • Reflecting on ‘Something I learnt today’ requires the learner to take stock of her learning for the lesson and revisit a new skill, knowledge or value that she has picked up during the lesson. This reinforces sense-making and understanding.

1 Learning Content refers to what our students learn. It comprises knowledge, skills and values (or attitudes) that help achieve our educational goals. It is a component of our curriculum.
2 Pedagogy refers to a set of strategies teachers use to manage their instruction so that students learn and understand concepts and content, and develop skills (Banilower, Boyd, Pasley & Weiss, 2006).
3 Assessment refers ‘to all those activities, undertaken by teachers and by their students in assessing themselves, that provide information to be used as feedback to modify teaching and learning activities’ (Black & Wiliam, 1998a, p.140).
5 J. Saphier, M.A. Haley-Speca, R, R. Gower (2008). The Skillful Teacher: Building your Teaching Skills. Acton, MA: Research for Better Teaching, Inc.