Tuesday, 23rd April 2024

Tuesday, 23rd April 2024

No mid-year exams. What are kids up to?

22 Jun 2022

How are schools using the time freed up by the removal of the mid-year exams to enable students to learn deeply through varied experiences? Here, snapshots that show how learning is taking place in new and fun ways. 

by Owen Tan

With no mid-year exams, schools have been designing fun learning activities that are enabling students to pick up new skills, collaborate and communicate more with each other, and learn independently. Here are some examples – from harvesting vegetables to learning muay thai – and the lessons they bring.

More time for exploration
Xinmin Secondary 

Teachers re-designed the curriculum to include more group work and presentations. For example, during an English Language class, students worked in groups to research on different social causes, such as ACRES (an animal welfare charity) or  SPD Singapore (a charity that supports people with disabilities). Their goal: To convince their classmates through a presentation to support their chosen cause. 

Card 2Students worked in teams to gather key details. Along the way, they learnt how to co-construct information, validating and building on each other’s ideas.

Students took to the stage for a 10- minute presentation to convince their classmates to support their social cause. 

Secondary 3 student Koh Xin En Amelia said about this experience, “Working as a group allowed my teammates and I to share our thoughts and ideas before sifting through them and choosing the strongest points for our presentation. There were disagreements, but I learnt that instead of choosing sides, we can first list the pros and cons of each idea before deciding which is the best.” 

More hands-on experiences
Gan Eng Seng Primary 

“Students learn best when they are given opportunities to interact with objects and their physical environment,” says Ms Lim Swee Kheng, School Staff Developer.

With that in mind, the school decided to plan more hands-on experiences so students could connect what they learn in class with the outside world.

So, for science lessons, students spent more time in the school’s garden learning about plant parts. They used iPads to scan QR codes that led to information about the plants they were exploring. They also learnt about food sustainability while planting and harvesting vegetables from the school’s Vegepod hydroponics system. 

Card 4The use of technology provided students with greater autonomy to explore and learn at their own pace.

Card 5Seniors also shared tips with juniors, for instance, on how best to harvest kangkong without damaging the plant.

“I learnt how to harvest vegetables as well as the right amount of water needed for them. These are things which I have not learnt from textbooks,” shares Primary 6 student Teo Ray Han. 

Discovering new skills and interests
Hua Yi Secondary

From archery to muay thai to outdoor cooking and kite-making… students had the opportunity to try their hand at new activities as part of a Learning Festival. 

“We hope through these programmes to create sparks of interest in our students  and inspire them to continue to explore an area or skill they are keen on,” says Mdm Lye Yoke Pheng Suzanne, Head of Department of Mathematics and one of the co-organisers of the festival.

Card 7Sec 1 students participated in the Sports Electives programme and were offered a range of sports to choose from, including archery, golf and muay thai.

Card 6Sec 2 students cooked up a storm in their Outdoor Cooking Experience. Working in teams, they planned a menu, prepared the food items and cooked on mini stoves. 

Card 8Sec 3 students were treated to an ASEAN Cultural Immersion experience, where they learnt more about the culture, food and history of neighbouring countries. Here, a student tries her hand at making a Wau Merak Johor (Official kite of Johor).

Sec 2 student, Ng Xue Ri Chloe, said, “The learning experiences were very fun and enriching. They were good opportunities for me to learn something new and relax with my classmates.”

Mum-of-two Eveline Gan compares the two primary 1 experiences of her children. One who went through primary 1 with examinations and the other without in: No exams, no worry?

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