The classroom as lab, the teacher as researcher

The classroom as lab, the teacher as researcher

It was another Friday afternoon with 19 pupils - but this time, pre-school teacher Lynn Yeo had an extra 20 pairs of eyes watching her. They belonged to fellow teachers and principals observing her as part of a PAP Community Foundation (PCF) initiative to help teachers hone their skills.

The PCF kindergarten at Tanjong Pagar@Pinnacle where Ms Yeo teaches is one of a growing number of pre-school centres where teachers "do research" on one another's lessons and share expertise.

It was one of five that pioneered the "Lesson Study" technique here in 2009.

This has proved so successful that there are now 20 PCF pre-school centres using the method, with five taking it up only this year. It is believed to be the first time that pre-school teachers in Singapore have been trained in this way.

"I was a bit nervous at first," said Ms Yeo, 21. "But after a while, I focused on the children and it was OK. It helped because they (the teachers) pointed out things about the kids that I wouldn't have seen myself. If I was on my own, I would be running around the classroom."

Ms Magdaline Heng, 46, principal of Tanjong Pagar@Pinnacle, said: "It's like taking a magnifying glass and looking into each lesson to study what works."

A team of teachers meet to discuss the objectives of a lesson. They decide what goes into it, from learning materials to prompting questions to methods that help children keep still.

The classroom is then turned into a "research lab", in which one teacher teaches and the rest observe how the children respond.


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