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New initiatives to let GEP pupils learn, work, play with other schoolmates

STUDENTS in the Gifted Education Programme (GEP) from nine primary schools will have more opportunity to learn, work and play together with other schoolmates from next year under new initiatives to promote greater interaction between the two groups of pupils.

Fri, Nov 02, 2007
The Straits Times

STUDENTS in the Gifted Education Programme (GEP) from nine primary schools will have more opportunity to learn, work and play together with other schoolmates from next year under new initiatives to promote greater interaction between the two groups of pupils.

"This will enable GEP pupils, who are currently pursuing the GEP curriculum in classes separate from their non-GEP peers, to maintain regular contact and develop closer bonds with their schoolmates through meaningful shared experiences," said the Ministry of Education on Friday.

Under the initiatives to be introduced by MOE, the GEP and non-GEP pupils will get to spend between one third and half of their curriculum time together on a daily basis.

The move follows the success of two integration models tried out in Nan Hua Primary School and Tao Nan School for their Primary 4 GEP pupils this year.

Nan Hua Primary combined the 44 GEP students with 45 other top mainstream pupils, and created three mixed classes of 33 pupils each, instead of placing the GEP students in two classes.

For example, GEP pupils were pulled out during curriculum time to learn English, Math, and Science. For Higher Chinese and Social Studies in the three mixed classes using the GEP enriched curriculum.

The classes were taught by GEP teachers, and gifted education-trained (GE-trained) mainstream teachers. In this model, GEP and mainstream pupils spent 50 per cent of curriculum time together on a daily basis.

"The positive experiences of the students have prompted both schools to continue with the programmes for 2008, as well as to extend them to the incoming P4 cohorts," said an MOE statement on Friday.

The other seven GEP centres will introduce their own integration models. Some of them will implement integration only for their incoming P4 pupils, while others plan to form integrated classes at both P4 and P5 levels.

MOE said while each of the nine GEP centres will work with the ministry to develop its own distinctive model, all nine centres will be guided by the principles in their integration programmes.

It said the core of enriched GEP subjects (including English Language, Mathematics and Science) will continue to be taught in separate GEP classes, and students in integrated classes should be of broadly comparable ability to optimise learning.

All teachers of integrated classes will receive gifted education training, and schools are advised to pay attention to quality of shared experiences rather than shared time.

The integration models will generally take one of the following two forms:

  • Integrated form classes comprising GEP and non-GEP pupils. For 2008, the core subjects for which GEP pupils will attend separate classes will include English Language, Mathematics and Science. This model is broadly similar to that adopted by Nan Hua Primary and Tao Nan School this year;
  • Separate form classes for GEP and non-GEP pupils respectively: Pupils will be pulled out of their form class for combined lessons in Art and Crafts, Civics and Moral Education, Chinese Language/Higher Chinese, Music and Physical Education.

"Schools will have the latitude to decide which subjects, and the number of subjects they would like to include in integrated classes of GEP and non-GEP students," said MOE.

"On average, GEP and non-GEP pupils would spend between one third to half of their curriculum time together on a daily basis."

Schools have also designed new ways to enhance opportunities for greater interaction through their Co-Curricular Activities (CCAs) and Community Involvement Programmes (CIP).

CIP projects will be planned such that GEP and non-GEP pupils will get to work on common causes close to their hearts.

To optimise CCAs as an avenue for pupils to train and play together, GEP pupils will be strongly encouraged to take up at least one school-based CCA. CCAs will also enable pupils with similar interests to pursue their passions. Whether it is in the outdoors or the art room or the science laboratory or the library, pupils can have shared experiences which will help them to forge closer bonds.

The Ministry will also provide the necessary resource support to all schools. For instance, the Gifted Education Branch of the Ministry will continue to support the schools to build the capacity of their teachers by training more mainstream teachers in gifted education pedagogy. Mainstream teachers will also be invited to participate in curriculum-related professional development activities organized by the Branch.

The GEP programme is designed to nurture and develop intellectually gifted pupils to their full potential.

Said the ministry: "The programme is a successful innovation of the Singapore education system which has worked well and which the Ministry will continue to evolve. We are seeing greater integration of students in the Gifted Education Programme with the rest of their counterparts.

"At the secondary level, we have devolved the Gifted Education Programme to the Integrated Programme (IP) schools, which in practice admit the majority of gifted students.

"MOE does not intend to do away with the philosophy or practice of providing distinct programmes for gifted students. What we aim to achieve is a diversity of such programmes."

This is already happening at the secondary level, where the IP schools have each come up with their own talent development programmes for gifted and other high ability students, in addition to their programmes for other IP students.

At the primary level, the schools will continue to implement MOE's Gifted Education Programme. However, the 9 primary schools will adopt new and different ways to implement GEP classes so as to give students ample opportunity to interact with their peers.


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