Chapter 8. Conflicting goals of language-in-education planning in Singapore

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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 (&#230;&#177;&#8240;&#229;&#173;&#8212; <i>hanzi</i>) teaching; and secondly, the inconsistencies between what is stated in these documents about <i>hanzi</i> and students&#8217; and teachers&#8217; perceptions as well as teaching practices related to <i>hanzi</i>. Based on student and teacher surveys, supplemented by teachers&#8217; 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&#8217;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>&#8217;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.


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