Mother Tongue Languages
Bilingualism is a cornerstone of our education policy and the key objective of positioning Mother Tongue Languages as a means of staying culturally rooted remains relevant. However the developments in Singapore and around the world indicate that we need also to help our young acquire the proficiency and ability to communicate in MTL, develop an unique identity through a deeper appreciation of their culture, traditions, literature and history, and to make connections with other communities in Asia and beyond. Appropriate emphasis is needed to equip students with the skills to apply their MTL in real life settings and to use it for communication. With the ability to use a second language developed, the students will also possessed cross-cultural literacy which are regarded as necessary 21st Century competencies in a globalised world.
The VS MTL Programme aims to develop proficient language users who can communicate effectively in various real-life contexts. It also aims to expose students to cultures and values through the MTL lesson. The students will also become self-directed learners in MTL who are able to leverage on ICT and other methods to take the learning of MTL beyond school years.
For all students that enter VS, the MTL curriculum seeks to:
- Strengthen communication and thinking skills – students to be able to think critically, creatively and analytically so as to present their ideas confidently and effectively, in both written and spoken forms.
- Deepen appreciation of culture – students to be able to strengthen the bonding within community and reinforces their sense of cultural heritage and to achieve a deeper appreciation of culture, history and values for the more able learners.
- Better connect with various communities – students to be able to establish connections with other communities in Asia and beyond as they venture out to seek opportunities overseas, as the proficiency gained in MTL provides them with a distinct edge in understanding other mindsets.
And for the more able learners, the curriculum aims to develop them to higher levels of language proficiency and cultural knowledge with exposure to literature and history so that they are able to develop sensitivity in cross cultural literacy through the elective modules offered in VS. Equipped with higher proficiency and understanding in the language and literature, the students will then be able to leverage on MTL in a professional manner in the future.
Teaching and Learning Model / Approach
The MOE MTL syllabus is designed by organizing the learning objectives in a spiral progression by reinforcing the language sub-skills as the students progress up the levels. As such, VS MTL curriculum use Teaching for Understanding (TfU) as a framework to structure learning towards attaining a higher proficiency and understanding in the language with the same objective in mind. By defining the ‘Throughlines’ (big, overarching goals) in the national syllabus, school-based curriculum such as performance tasks projects are designed to provide students with opportunities to apply and use the language in authentic, real-life context that mirrored their lives to complement the learning in the textbooks.
As such, the curriculum designed is centred on engaging the learners with interactive and innovative teaching strategies. It will also provide students with authentic performance tasks to apply their skills learned in class to see the relevance of using MTL in authentic real-life context. In the process, inspire in students a love for the language and culture, so as to nurture effective and confident communicator and self-directed learner in MTL.
Lessons conducted are pupil-centred and focus on developing students’ critical thinking and creative thinking skills. Teachers will also leverage on ICT to provide students with more interactive and real-life authentic learning to promote independent, self-directed and collaborative learning.
Assessment Plan / Assessment Framework
Assessment plays an important role in developing students’ proficiency in MTL. It does not serve only as an evaluative tool, but also as an instructional tool to promote students’ learning. Particularly, the formative assessment will allow the teachers to adapt teaching to meet students’ learning needs as well as allowing students to take control of their learning from the feedback received (self-regulated learning).
Catering to the profile of students in VS, a basket of both formative and summative assessment modes is used. The assessment modes would include the followings:
- Self, peer and teacher assessment
- Portfolio (Oral and writing)
- Oral presentations
- Observational checklist
- Group project work
- Test and examination
- Creation of graphic organizer and/or media production (e.g. powerpoint or video clips)
To address the Learner Outcomes listed earlier, 3 domains of core skills are listed in the syllabus. These 3 domains are namely, Integrated Linguistics Application, Humanistic Literacy and General Competencies.
Integrated Linguistic Application underscores the importance of nurturing proficient users who are capable of learning MTL and using it to communicate effectively in real-life settings. The proficiency will be a vehicle for the more able students in IP to expand their learning into areas such as history and studies of a country or region to gain understanding and insight into the people’s mindset and relate to them in the future.
Humanistic Literacy comprises of values, cultures, care for others and awareness of society and the world adds value by building on students’ cultural understanding. This raises the humanistic literacy of students in areas of cultural sensitivities and negotiating the complexities of a globalised world, aside from transmitting the traditional culture and values.
General Competencies cover independent learning, ICT skills, thinking skills and social and emotional learning. These areas address the intangible and unsynchronised development of students’ general disposition, and are skills and disposition needed to face the challenges of the 21st century.