Chapter 8. Conflicting goals of language-in-education planning in Singapore
This study examines the conflicting nature of official language-in-education planning goals in Singapore through analysing, firstly, the inconsistencies in curriculum reform documents at different levels of the goals and pedagogies of Chinese character (æ±‰å­— <i>hanzi</i>) teaching; and secondly, the inconsistencies between what is stated in these documents about <i>hanzi</i> and students’ and teachers’ perceptions as well as teaching practices related to <i>hanzi</i>. Based on student and teacher surveys, supplemented by teachers’ focus group discussions and classroom observations, this chapter provides a critical evaluation of multiple dimensions of the official policies and instructional guides on <i>hanzi</i> teaching and learning in Singapore’s primary schools. The study endeavors to draw attention to the humanistic dimensions of <i>hanzi</i> education such as its values in cultural heritage, artistic/aesthetic appreciation and character cultivation. It calls for a holistic evaluation of <i>hanzi</i>’s role from a broader perspective and aims to place a more proper status of <i>hanzi</i> in the next round of reform of Chinese-as-a-mother-tongue education in Singapore.