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Teaching & Learning

Overview of School Curriculum Innovation

As part of the wider MOE TLLM initiative, the school adopted the Experiential Learning Cycle as a pedagogical approach to enhance teaching and learning. The ELC model allows a high degree of accommodation of the different learning styles of students. Hence it will be able to cater to the learning needs of the wide spectrum of abilities amongst our students who are from the Express, Normal Academic and Normal Technical Streams.

A. What is the Experiential Learning Cycle (ELC)?

Learning Cycle(1)

The Experiential Learning Cycle (ELC) is a pedagogical tool to engage learners and is based on David Kolb’s (1984*) classic model.

LearningCycleExplain(2)

The model is a recurring cycle within which the learner tests new concepts and modifies them as a result of reflection, abstract conceptualization and further experimentation.

* Kolb, D.A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the Source of Learning. New Jersey: Prentice Hall

B. Why the Experiential Learning Cycle?

Rationale

• In a ‘global village’, there is an overwhelming need to ‘learn how to learn’ and to make meaningful connections from a variety of experiences
• Through a process of reflection and abstract conceptualisation, new insights and discoveries will emerge
• This pedagogical approach will encourage the development of Andersonians as Thinkers, Innovators and Leaders

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Our ELC journey

Preliminary Stage: Year 2006

  1. As part of the school’s response to the MOE TLLM initiative, in Term 1, 2006, the School Management Committee (SMC) was tasked with researching into various pedagogical approaches to teaching and learning.
  2. The Curriculum & Pedagogy Committee (CPC) consisting of the Dean (Academic Programmes), selected IP HODs and Senior Teachers was set up to oversee the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the chosen school-wide pedagogy.
  3. A Learning Styles Survey was conducted across a sampling of students from all levels and streams.
  4. From the findings of the Learning Styles Survey and after a brainstorming session, the SMC selected Kolb’s Experiential Learning Cycle (ELC) as the school-wide pedagogical model.
  5. A ‘Brain-dancing’ Workshop was conducted for all staff in June 2006 by the CPC to introduce and familiarize staff with the ELC Model.
Implementation2006

  1. In Semester 2, 2006, all Sec 2 subject teachers were encouraged to experiment with developing at least one ELC Lesson so that the feedback obtained would enable the CPC to better implement the pedagogy in the following year.

Implementation Year 2007

  1. In 2007, all subject teachers of Sec 1-3 Express and Normal (Acad & Tech) streams were required to prepare at least two ELC lessons per year. An ELC week (Term 1 Week 10, 2007) was set aside for outdoor Inter-disciplinary ELC activities to take place in and around the school as well as to mangrove reserves and tropical forests. Learning Outcomes from the ELC Week were showcased at School Assembly in April.
  2. The ELC framework was introduced into resource packages for local and overseas Learning Journeys
  3. Staff capacity was continually built up through various ways:
    • A visit to Northlight School was conducted for Key Personnel and selected teachers to study pedagogical approaches towards experiential learning
    • Training of selected Key Personnel in Action Research and submission of AR reports for Cluster publications
    • Rubrics Training for all staff conducted by the Dean (Academic Prog)
    • Sharing of ELC lessons at Staff Contact Time and departmental meeting
  4. ELC Champs in each department assisted in monitoring the implementation of ELC in their respective departments.
  5. Mid-Year and Year-end A&R of the impact of ELC on student outcomes were conducted through online departmental & SEM surveys and at SMC meetings.

Implementation Year 2008

  1. The quota for ELC lesson development remained the same. More teachers, on their own initiative, developed more effective lessons arising from feedback given.
  2. The ELC was incorporated into CCAs, CIP and Learning Journeys in a more structured way. Worksheets for these activities incorporated the four quadrants of the cycle.
  3. ELC Resource Packages were continually developed and uploaded to the school portal.
  4. An ELC Corner along a strategic corridor was set up to showcase student reflections and use of the ELC in their learning journeys.
  5. ELC posters were put up in every class as a ready point of reference for both teachers and students to encourage the use of the ELC.
  6. Staff capacity continued to be built up in various ways:
    • A Research Activist was selected to be trained under the TLLM Ignite Programme and a research study into the School-based Curriculum Innovation was successfully conducted. Results showed positive outcomes in both cognitive achievement and attitude towards the study of History as a result of the use of ELC.
    • The impact of the ELC was shared by a History Teacher at the MOE EXCEL Fest 2008 while the HOD/ Humanities and his team shared the use of ELC in the Cultural Flexibility Programmes of the school both at Cluster and at MOE EXCEL Fest.
    • Training of selected teachers in Action Research and submission of AR reports for Cluster publications continued.
    • Selected teachers participated in the online Wide World at Harvard course as part of professional development to widen their repertoire in the effective use of pedagogy.
    • Sharing of ELC lessons at Staff Contact Time and departmental meetings
    • Recognition of staff who shared their ELC lessons through the presentation of tokens of appreciation.
  7. ELC Champs in each department continued to assist in monitoring the implementation of ELC in their respective departments.
  8. Mid-Year and Year-end A&R of the impact of ELC on student outcomes were conducted through online departmental & SEM surveys and at SMC meetings.

Benefits
Findings based on an action research project in 2008 involving secondary 2 History students show that the use of the ELC:

  • enhances students’ cognitive development.
  • improves students’ attitude towards the subject.
  • encourages students to better appreciate complex scenarios behind the decision-making process.
  • enhances students’ ability at applying fresh insights gained to new contexts

implementation2008
reflections