SINGAPORE : 25 primary schools will introduce the new [Mandarin] Chinese language curriculum from January next year.
The pilot programme will involve all students in Primary 1 and 2.
Anglo-Chinese Junior (ACS) hopes to be among the first to try out the new approach to learning Mandarin where emphasis will be on character recognition and oral skills.
All students will take a core module which makes up about 70% of the curriculum, with bridging modules for weak students and enrichment classes for those with ability and interest.
But the majority will take on, what the Ministry calls, a school-based module.
“Teachers can use part of the enrichment or bridging modules provided. They can also design their own school-based materials. This helps bring about better customization,” said Yue Lip Sin, Deputy Director of the Education Ministry.
Schools can break up the classes, so students can attend a separate [Mandarin] Chinese class with those of the same abilities through the year.
They can also teach the core curriculum as per normal and put certain students in the add-on modules for certain lessons each week.
Primary 1 students will be banded by their teachers only after they have finished learning “Hanyu Pinyin”.
Teachers at ACS expect about 20% to take up the bridging module and 10% for the enrichment class.
They add that the concept of ability banding is not new to them.
“When we group the pupils of similar abilities together, the teachers are able to design lessons that cater to their needs. They will be able to spark their interest in the learning of [Mandarin] Chinese,” said Lye Choon Hwan, Head of the Mother Tongue Department at ACS
Students will be assessed based on the core syllabus and schools have the autonomy to decide on the methods of assessment.
But the ministry emphasized that what is more important is helping students develop a love for the language, without making it unchallenging.
The ministry will announce the schools in the pilot scheme later this year and implement the new curriculum in all primary schools by 2007.
source: Channel News Asia