A creative and critical thinker, who is a voice for change
Area Of Focus
KCPSS English Department uses the MOE EL Syllabus 2020 as its main teaching and learning instruction. This is to align the teaching and learning of English Language to national objectives and desired outcomes for EL proficiency in Singapore.
Key features of the EL Syllabus 2020 (insert taken from MOE English Syllabus document)
The Department of English and Literature offers a variety of language-enriched literary programmes to pique students’ passion for English and Literature respectively. The Department recognises the diverse learning abilities of students, and therefore places strong emphasis in programmes which are **differentiated** to the needs of these groups.
Sec 1 Podcasting
The Secondary One students embark on recording a podcast as an Alternative Assessment over a few weeks. Students become confident speakers, taking ownership of their learning. Podcasting serves as a platform for each student to vocalise their thoughts.
Before students start recording, scaffolds are usually put in place to enable learning and for them to perform to the best of their abilities. Students are taught reading aloud oral communication skills. They also learn about the structure of writing a speech followed by carrying out process writing of the speech. Students will have hands-on experience with the recorder application in the iPad to record their podcast. Finally, as the finishing touch, students will edit their podcast and add the finishing touches i.e. background music to their podcast.
Sec 2 Film & Broadcasting
The Secondary 2EN cohort put their media literacy skills to the test in an innovative interdisciplinary project marrying expository writing for English and film literacy for Literature. Students are given the task of composing pictures using framing and mise-en-scene techniques learnt in their film theory module during their Literature lessons, to complement and showcase the argument of their expository paragraphs, in this level-wide ALP initiative.
Sec 3 Journalistic (Writing Espoir Newsletter)
Espoir is a biannual school publication that offers news of school events, innovative practices, features personalities that define the Kuo Chuan community and student perspectives on issues that have an impact on the individual and the larger school community. It is the product of an innovative EL curriculum which develops relevant skills to face the global landscape. Espoir is a Secondary 3 EL Level project and also serves as a platform to hone writing skills of high progress learners.
Our Stretch Programme; The Spin Doctors
The Spin Doctors enrichment programme is part of the school’s distinctive Applied Learning Programme which focuses on equipping students to be more media literate leveraging on media literacy tools to hone their speaking and writing skills, in order to meet the demands of a changing landscape where 21st century skills prevail. The students are given platforms to hone and showcase their talents through advanced elective modules, enrichment workshops, speaking and writing competitions and hosting for school events. Some skills that students will develop throughout the programme are:
Basic Videography and Editing
Our Support Programme ; English Language First
The English Language First is a support programme for selected Lower Secondary students to provide the necessary learning support for students to bridge their learning gaps in the English Language. To ensure early intervention, diagnostic tests are administered at the start of Secondary One to ascertain the language proficiency of every student. Students who require more support would then be identified for the English Language First programme, to help them establish the fundamental understanding of the language at an early stage. Some of the areas of focus of the English Language First programmes are:
Synthesis and transformation
Applied Elective Module (AEM)
As part of the school’s ALP in Media Literacy, selected Sec 3 students will have the opportunity to participate in the highly-sought after Advanced Elective Modules (AEMs) at Ngee Ann Polytechnic as well as visits to radio stations for students to have a first-hand experience of understanding how information is gathered and presented. Every year since 2015, Sec 3 students will have a chance to be radio deejays during a 4 day AEM known as The Radio Experience where the module is taught by current Ngee Ann Polytechnic lecturers or current deejays/celebrities.
Since 2015, different groups of students have had the opportunity to be part of an authentic learning experience in learning about the role that media plays in society. Our students even had a chance to hone their Speaking and Representing skills as a result.
Upper Sec Pure Literature Texts (wef 2020 onwards)
Set Text Prose
Pure Literature students will study a prose text. It is a Dystopian novel which introduces a dystopic society where censorship and thought suppression is prevalent. Books, which are considered dangerous and evil, are banned. Individuality and thinking are viewed as threats to social stability and the population is controlled through its consumption of media, which serves as an endless stream of distractions to its passive and addicted audience. This novel raises questions about the influence of mass media and the dangers of being ignorant and illiterate.
Sec 4E Pure Literature Set Drama Texts (wef 2020 - 2021)
Off Centre, is a play written by Haresh Sharma and directed by Alvin Tan. Off Centre is a landmark play in the history of Singapore theatre, best remembered for presenting an honest and unflinching look at mental illness and the stigma surrounding it.
The plot follows the unlikely friendship between Saloma and Vinod, and traces their journeys as they deal with their personal conflicts as well as social prejudices against mental health conditions.
Unseen Poetry Textbook
All Pure Literature students must purchase the Unseen text as a reference guide in developing the skills and techniques in exploring the unseen poetry section of the examination.
Sec 3E Pure Literature Set Drama Text (wef from 2021-2022 onwards)
The Glass Menagerie is a memory play by Tennessee Williams that premiered in 1944 and catapulted Williams from obscurity to fame. The play has strong autobiographical elements, featuring characters based on its author, his histrionic mother, and his mentally fragile sister Laura. (Source from Wikipedia).
Sec 2EN Literature(wef 2020 onwards)
Sec 2EN Literature Set Text
Flowers for Algernon is a science fiction short story written by Daniel Keyes and published in 1966. The story is told by a series of progress reports written by Charlie Gordon, the first human subject for the surgery, and it touches on ethical and moral themes such as the treatment of the mentally disabled.</p>
The study of the text challenges Secondary Two students to question societal discrimination and treatment of people with differing intelligence quotients. They also engage with the discourse about the ethics of experimentation.
Sec 1EN Literature (wef 2020 onwards)
Sec 1EN Literature Set Text
Inspired by a true story, August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a severe facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Wonder begins from Auggie's point of view, but soon switches to include the perspectives of his family members and classmates. These voices converge to portray a community as it struggles with differences, and challenges readers, both young and old, to wonder about the true nature of empathy, compassion, acceptance and friendship. Auggie is a hero for the ages, one who proves that you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.
Our Sec 1s are encouraged to take part in activities that help inculcate this sense of compassion and kindness. Through putting themselves in the shoes of Auggie and other characters, they truly learn and see the importance of being, ultimately, kind.
Accolades and Achievements of the Department
In the spirit of innovation, the department prides’ itself in continual learning among its teaching staff to incorporate innovative practices in the instructional approaches used in the teaching of English and Literature. The English and Literature **teachers’ contributions to the Ministry of Education’s professional development** platforms are laudable and testament of the time spent on review, research and refinement to current teaching practices.Throughout the years, the department has always maintained a strong of culture of sharing good teaching practices, both internally and at the national level.
Devising Innovative Learner Strategies through Lesson Studies
The department carries out lesson studies on selected classes annually. Lesson Studies provide opportunities for teachers to apply findings from education-related research in the classroom. It is an opportunity for teachers to explore more effective strategies in the classroom, and to inculcate a culture of learning amongst the department. The following are a brief synopsis of the strategies which have been rolled out to our students:
2016 - ‘See-Think-Connect’ - An Annotation Strategy for Readers
‘See-Think-Connect’ is a learner strategy which can be applied on a variety of text types to help learners sustain engagement and deeper understanding. It makes the learners’ thinking visible through the use of annotations to encourage meaningful and deeper engagements with a text. It builds on the theoretical underpinnings of the widely adopted visible thinking routine “See-Think-Wonder” (Harvard, 2014), as well as Berthoff’s Dialectical Journal (1982).
2017 - Using “SPA” to generate depth in spoken interaction discussions
SPA (Sieve, Predict and Associate) is a framework devised by the department that be used to enhance prediction skills and generate sufficient content for the GCE ‘O’ Level Oral Exam. Combining research data and students’ feedback, the department has come with 2 learner strategies, ‘Area of Expertise’ and ‘Schema Trigger’ to help GCE ‘O’ Level candidates fully maximise their 10 minutes of preparation time during the Oral Exam. It builds on the theoretical underpinnings of Jean Piaget’s Schema theory
2018: Refinement to Annotation Strategy See-Think-Connect 2016 Lesson Study
2019: PLT Title: Exercising Critical Thinking and Metacognition in Reading Comprehension
Targeted groups of Sec 3 students learnt how to apply critical reading and viewing by focusing on implied meaning and higher – order thinking, judgement and evaluation using Reciprocal Teaching. Students used the thinking routine – Think- Puzzle-Explore to clarify, predict, question and summarize ideas and points of discussion from the reading comprehension in conjunction with Reciprocal Teaching. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impacts of reciprocal teaching on critical thinking and how it translates to perspectives and meaning-making. Students are able to create a check-in system on their own to be certain of what they have read and how they comprehend and make connections of the new information with the old.
2019: Deepening Reading and Understanding of Multimodal Texts
Analysis of multimodal texts and deepening of students’ literacy skills to make meaning of the texts was explored as students are exposed to visual texts as part of their assessment of reading comprehension skills. Their responses reveal a lack of awareness of the interplay between different semiotic modes in a text. Hence, learners were guided to explore different perspectives, writer’s intent by analysing social-cultural contexts. The results of the study showed that students were able to annotate texts to pick out different cues, analyse patterns and make interpretations.
2019: Dissecting the Dialogic in Drama through Inductive Learning
The lesson study involved a thorough study on facilitating a structured thinking process among students in literary analysis through the use of a learner strategy “Inductive Learning” via group discussions to encourage critical thinking skills and an inquiring mind. In addition, the study entailed the application of the learner strategy of “Dramatization” for pupils to have a deeper understanding of character motivation.
2020: “It’s Lit” Literature Card Game
Eliciting Literary Discourse and Active Learning Through Game-based Learning
The Literature team shared with fellow Literature educators at the Teacher-led workshop hosted by the Academy of Singapore Teachers in 2021 on the department’s first ever game-based learning strategies enacted in the English Literature classroom to elicit literary discourse and encourage active learning. An innovative approach to teaching literary discourse via an innovative card game was mooted by the Literature team which aims to encourage self-directed learning as well as cooperative learning. This enabled the team to explore the use of game-play to engage learners in an exploratory and collaborative study of poetry to enhance students’ engagement, appreciation and understanding in the Literature classroom.