School Vision & Mission
The school’s revised Vision (Firm Foundations, Future Learnings) was formally launched during the school’s 23rd anniversary celebrations in April 2011. The Vision takes reference from MOE’s direction to better prepare our students for the 21st century world via initiatives such as the revised Desired Outcomes of Education, PERI, Character & Citizenship Education, and the C2015 Student Outcomes (‘Confident Person; Self-Directed Learner; Active Contributor; Concerned Citizen’).
There are two dimensions of ‘Firm Foundations’:
- First is a strong academic foundation that is rooted in deep understanding. Academic learning must extend beyond exam results and the knowledge of just facts and skills; it is our pedagogical belief to teach for deep understanding based on the principles of constructivism and concept-based learning. Thus our school’s pedagogical framework is entitled ‘Teaching and Learning for Understanding’ (TLU). It draws from latest findings in the learning sciences and concept-based pedagogy1. We believe that learning for understanding makes learning more meaningful and enduring, and better prepares our students for life-long learning.
- The second dimension is about sound moral and social values. Sometimes compared to an anchor or a compass, values guide a person in his words and actions, and so shape his character. Hence, the importance of values education cannot be overemphasised. Northland Primary has a tradition and reputation of good discipline among its students. We are in the process of revising our character development framework and its programmes as MOE is also refocusing its efforts in Character and Citizenship Education (CCE). In the meantime, in line with MOE’s ‘values-driven’ education, Northland Primary is renewing its focus on its Core Values (C-LITE) and CCE programmes. The introduction, for example, of the Form-Teacher Guidance Period (FTGP) allows for more personalised attention for individual students. The tag-line “I take care of myself / others / the environment” has made it simple for students to understand how to exercise their sense of responsibility. At the end of the day, in our Asian society, it is important that there is a sense of responsibility towards others and the community, and this starts with the individual having upright values.
Education, while focussed on the present, must also prepare one for the future. The 21st century world and workplace will present very different experiences and challenges which we cannot even imagine for our children.
'Future Learnings’ focuses on the 21st century skills, competencies, and dispositions we want to develop in our students so that they will succeed in their future endeavours, in their post-primary education and their future lives. These include qualities such as self-directed learning, resilience, creativity, teamwork and effective communication skills. In a knowledge-based-economy, our students must become ‘knowledge workers’ who construct their own knowledge and have their own voices.
Our classroom pedagogy and how we interact with our students must change to give our students the confidence and the space to discover themselves and their voices. Teachers must become co-creators of learning with their students in a nurturing and supportive environment. In and outside the classrooms, students must be developed as leaders who are masters of their own lives. Only then can they fly on their own and sing their own songs.
- References include:
- Bransford J, Brown A & Cocking R, eds (2000), How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School.
- Erickson L H (2007), Concept-based Curriculum and Instruction for the Thinking Classroom.
- Hattie J (2009), Visible Learning.
- Parry T & Gregory G (2003, 2nd edn), Designing Brain Compatible Learning.
- Sawyer R K, ed (2006), The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences.
- Wiggin G & McTighe J (2005, 2nd edn), Understanding by Design.