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Focused on Learning: Student and Teacher Time in a Singapore School

By Ee Ling Low A. Lin Goodwin Jon Snyder

Singapore is an international leader in education, as indicated by its students’ results on international assessments. Due to this success in education, educators from around the world study the island nation to understand components of learning and teaching that underscore the country’s success, with many adopting its educational practices in hopes of replicating Singapore’s positive outcomes.

This study focuses on one school within the Singaporean system, Kranji Secondary School (KSS), and examines how KSS organizes and allocates student and teacher time within the school day. The study also describes how KSS merges its broad range of developmental goals for children with structures, processes, and norms that support adults’ capacity to help students meet those goals. Researchers found that apportionment and organization of time contribute to students’ growth and development and bolster teachers’ capacity to support their students.

The report illustrates the ways in which time can be used to improve academic and social outcomes. The key to such improvement is decision-making around time allocation, guided by a focus on what should be paramount in schools: learning on the part of both students and teachers. This focus ensures that time is used optimally, distributed across a range of activities designed to support teacher and student development, and differentiated in ways that can sustain different types of learners as well as multiple short- and long-term goals. The report shares one finding that when teachers are perceived as professionals—and therefore are afforded the time to develop and grow in ways that align with the goals and aspirations of and for students—schools can become places of deep learning for everyone


Posted with permission, Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education.