The Programme for International Student Assessment (or PISA in short) is a worldwide study by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) which evaluates educational systems. The latest findings published on 3 Dec 2019 showed that our students demonstrated strong performance in the higher-cognitive processes of “Evaluating ad Reflecting” and proficiency in applying reading strategies on both single-source and multiple-source texts. Such literacy skills are increasingly important in helping students discern what is credible in a digital era that is characterised by an influx of information from multiple information sources. Also, while our students enjoy reading more than their OECD peers, they are enjoying reading less when compared to 2009.
The benefits of reading are well-known. For example, reading develops stronger analytical thinking skills and improves focus and concentration. In a world where knowledge becomes quickly outdated or obsolete, our children need to develop the love for reading to take advantage of opportunities of the future.
PISA findings also revealed that our children fear failure, and they worry about what others think of them when they are failing. While a rational and moderate sense of fear may motivate students to work hard and strive for better performance, excessive fear can be disabling.
The school vision, “Reflective Inquirers, Aspiring Advocates and Steadfast Leaders”, describes the student outcomes we hope to achieve with our curricular offering. Put in another perspective, we aspire to help our students develop personal agency, a state in which an individual feels empowered to act, believing in their ability to achieve self-defined goals or tasks. It is associated with a strong sense of self and intrinsic motivation.
Key to our programmatic approach is in empowering our children through building a strong foundation in knowledge, skills and values. We would want to equip our children with a Growth Mindset and help them expand the definition of success to encompass successes that are of a personal and self-defined nature, such as achieving satisfaction and a sense of purpose. We would also want to help our children to contextualize the failures they experience and frame them as learning opportunities or setbacks that they can recover from. It is thus important to help our children focus on the process of learning and not just the outcomes and achievements.
A safe and supportive environment coupled with the use of Student-centric lesson designs (for example, the use of Differentiated Instruction) and engaging strategies such as Cooperative Learning would help to nurture our students’ Joy of Learning so that they learn to learn, and become life-long learners. Involving our students in decision-making, where they experience real consequences, is also a way to develop our children’s appetite for risk-taking.
We will continue to build a vibrant reading culture to encourage our children to read widely and for leisure. Renovation of the school library has been completed in 2019 and we are expanding our library collection. We have a line-up of exciting reading-related activities which our children and parents can look forward to. More details will be shared via the Weekly Parents’ Notifications nearer to the dates of these events and programmes.
On another note, 2020 will be a significant year for Fern Green as we hit the 3rd year of our school operation. We will be marking this important milestone with the school official opening on 9 July 2020. We are excited to share with parents and community stakeholders our journey thus far, so please mark out the date in your calendar!
In line with the school’s educational philosophy of Learning by Doing, and to enable our children to develop their unique strengths and talents, Fern Green offers a unique programme to all her students. The “FGPS Maker Education” as it is called, is an Applied Learning Programme. It aims to trigger our students’ interest in STEM (Science, Technology Engineering and Mathematics) by exposing them to engaging projects that will enable them to use everyday materials and STEM concepts to design and build solutions to address real-life problems.
In 2020, the school will come on board as a zonal lead school for MOE’s Making Programme. As a zonal lead school, we will receive customised support to further develop our making programme as well as for our teachers’ professional development. Together with other zonal lead schools, we will champion in building a stronger making community, thus nurturing the development of a curious and creative mindset among students.
My staff and I look forward to another fruitful year of collaboration with Parents, our valued stakeholders, to journey with our children as they work hard to become a better version of their former selves.
Mrs May Tang