Literature in English: How Students and Teachers in Singapore Secondary Schools Deal with the Subject

Rozita Dass, Marnie O’Neill and Anne Chapman
University of Western Australia Aurora Grove, Ocean Reef, WA, Australia

Series: Education in a Competitive and Globalizing World, Fine Arts, Music and Literature
BISAC: EDU029080

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Edited by I Leslie Rubin, Robert J Geller, Abby Mutic, Benjamin A Gitterman, Nathan Mutic, Wayne Garfinkel, Claire D Coles, Kurt Martinuzzi, and Joav Merrick

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Recent research on literature education in Singapore has highlighted the state of ambivalence of the literature curriculum and suggested possibilities for its reconceptualisation, taking into consideration the contemporary Singaporean environment and the impact of globalization, and considering the offering of alternative curricula. This book explores the state of literature as a subject in Singapore secondary schools in relation to this recent research by considering its role in the current political, economic, social and educational climate. It presents the findings and analysis of students’ and teachers’ perspectives on literary studies in Singapore secondary schools in order to generate theory on how students and teachers deal with literature in English studies.

In-depth interpretivist case studies were conducted at five sites, purposively selected to incorporate the range of school types in Singapore. Data collection methods included focus group interviews and written protocol with students, semi-structured interviews with Heads of Department, questionnaires from teachers as well as document analysis. The findings from this research provided relevant empirical data to support recent research on literary studies in Singapore. Emergent themes included: the insignificant impact of local literature on the study of literature, the low status of subject and the lack of desirability of literature as a course of study. The themes led to the formulation of four key propositions supporting development of theory on ways in which students and teachers deal with literature in English studies in Singapore secondary schools.

The findings drawn from original empirical data from students and teachers have implications for theory, policy and practice. The work further delineates a need for further research into continued development of the literature curriculum in the Singapore education system, such as exploring the role of local literature, as articulated in the vision of Singapore as a world-class city:
In order to strengthen Singaporeans’ sense of national identity and belonging, we need to inculcate an appreciation of our heritage and strengthen the Singapore heartbeat through the creation and sharing of Singapore stories, be it in film, theatre, dance, music, literature or the visual arts. (Imprint: Nova)

Preface

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 2: Background

Chapter 3: Literature Review

Chapter 4: Research Method and Design

Chapter 5: Context

Chapter 6: Case Studies

Chapter 7: Cross Case Analysis

Chapter 8: Discussion and Conclusion

APPENDICES

REFERENCE LIST

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

INDEX

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