Unit of Curriculum for Low Track (Normal Technical) High School Students in Singapore
Chia, Florence Mien-Wen
In this project, I describe a unit of curriculum designed for Secondary Three Singapore students in the Normal Technical (NT) stream. Being in the lowest track, NT students are often perceived through a deficit lens by their peers and broader society as being incapable of learning, posing the risk of NT students assuming this view of themselves and disengaging academically as a result of the “stereotype threat” (Steele, 1995). While society holds low expectations for NT students in terms of academic performance, NT students often do perform poorly, causing researchers to call for more emphasis on exploring ways of helping NT students learn more effectively, and providing more professional development opportunities for teachers of NT students (Ismail & Tan, 2006). This curriculum unit was designed in response to this call, focusing on student engagement. Guthrie and Davis’ (2003) six guiding principles in his proposed engagement model are key features in the curriculum unit on the theme of social justice in Singapore, with supporting student autonomy as a chief consideration. In addition, the curriculum unit seeks to include students’ funds of knowledge (Moll & González, 2004), to not only make school-based learning personally relevant to students, but also as a means of affirming students’ home cultures and the value of their personal experiences.