chapter  9
14 Pages

Elementary science learning experiences in Singapore

Learning in a group
WithJoanna Oon Jeu Ong, Aik-Ling Tan, Frederick Toralballa Talaue

The push towards a more inquiry-based science curriculum in Singapore has resulted in an increase in group discussions and group investigations in science classrooms. While these social interactions promise opportunities for students to contribute to collective knowledge building, enhance their understanding of the topic being learned, practice communicating ideas, and improve their problem-solving skills, there is little empirical evidence that these are indeed the experiences that students have when they learn science through group work. In this study, co-generative dialogues were used to gather Year 4 students’ accounts of their experiences of school science. The co-generative dialogue sessions provided a platform for students with similar experiences to share with one another and their teachers their views about what it means to be a learner of science in their classrooms. These students’ voices are valuable as they offer learners’ perspectives of the classroom learning space, which is largely teacher controlled. Our findings suggest that when students learn science in groups, they remember interpersonal interactions more than the science subject matter. Based on this finding, we discuss how elementary science education in Singapore can be renegotiated to make it more meaningful for the students.