Singapore is an international leader in education as indicated by its students’ results on international assessments. Because of this success in education, educators from around the world study the island nation to discover the “Singapore secret” and have begun to adopt its educational practices.
In this study, we examine how one school within the Singapore system organizes and allocates student and teacher time within the school day and how that allocation and use of time contributes to the growth and development of students and the growth and development of teachers' capacity to support their students.
This report illustrates the ways in which time, regardless of perceptions of adequacy and within given realities of availability, can be employed in the service of positive academic and social outcomes. The key is decision-making around time allocation, guided by a sharp focus on what should be—but is not always—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 a diversity of learners (adult/child, teacher/ student, novice/expert, etc.) as well as multiple short- and long-term goals.
This study had many significant contributors:
Singapore research team led by Professor Ee Ling Low (National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore) and Professor A. Lin Goodwin (Teachers College, Columbia University) supported by researchers Ms. Jane Lin (National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore), and Mr. Chenri Hui (National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
Ms. Tan Hwee Pin, Mrs. Punitha Ramanan, Mdm. Rosmiliah Kasmin, and Ms. Serene Lai Woon Mui of the Kranji Secondary School in Singapore
The teachers and students at the Kranji Secondary School in Singapore
SCOPE researchers Jon Snyder and Dion Burns
Editorial assistance by Louisa Potter, Thien Lam, and Sonya Keller and layout by Lauren Koch
Many thanks to the Ministry of Education, Singapore for their support of this project.
This study was prepared with support from the Ford Foundation and the National Center on Education and the Economy. The research was conducted independently by the Stanford Center for Opportunity Policy in Education.
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