In Dunman High School, the study of Humanities emphasizes an attitude of questioning and learning through critical reflection to improve students’ communication skills and give them a greater understanding of the world.
Adopting the Understanding by Design (Wiggins and McTighe) approach, the Humanities Department seeks to enable students to have a deep understanding of each discipline within the Humanities Programme. Overarching, big ideas are emphasized.
Teaching is carried out with purposeful use of essential questions to guide the crafting of performance tasks and the planning of lessons. Emphasis has shifted from covering the content, to uncovering the core of each discipline to enable students to explore the depth of each subject.
本校采用Wiggins和McTighe 所研发的逆向课程设计模Understanding by Design，以此指导学生对各科目做深入的探讨。此模式强调对主题的理解，而在教学中以重点问题为主轴，来设计各种教学材料和学生作业。这个学习方式注重启发学生对每个学科核心的认识，让学生深度探索各个学科。
- Active Citizenry Education (ACE)
The Understanding by Design (UbD) approach enables learners to
- reach a deeper and longer-term understanding,
- discover how key concepts relate to their lives,
- see how the past is connected to the present,
- apply their knowledge to the world around them, and
- make meaningful connections across the subjects and academic years.
1. Active Citizenry Education
The ACE team in DHS uses Understanding By Design (UbD) as the main curriculum design framework to design learning experience for students to explore six themes including, (1) Singapore as a Nation in the World, (2) Conflict and Harmony in Multi-Ethnic Societies, (3) Understanding Governance, (4) Sustaining Economic Development, (5) Facing Challenges and (6) Managing International Relations. Each unit is framed with a set of essential questions and students go through a series of lessons and tasks in order to reach an enduring understanding of the topic.
The Economics curriculum at Dunman High School aims to prepare our students not only for the GCE ‘A’ Level examination but establish a firm foundation in the subject for undergraduate studies. The programme also equips students with a functional understanding of Economics that would enable them to interpret contemporary economic issues. This means that there is a strong emphasis on theoretical rigour, historical context and real world applications.
The study of Geography centres on humans and the environment around us, it basically teaches students ‘to have a greater understanding of the world they work, communicate, learn, and live in’ (Teachnology Inc., 2011).
The teaching of History has moved beyond the transmission of content to inculcating historical thinking and understanding in which concepts skills and knowledge of history is critically applied in contemporary or historical issues.
此课程使用逆向课程设计(UbD)作为主要课程框架，来指导学生在六个主题中做探讨学习。 这六个主题包括（1）新加坡在世界的地位，（2）在多元种族社群中如何维持和谐和避免冲突，（3）治国原则与方针，（4）持续经济发展，（5）国家如何面 临挑战（6）建立和维持国际关系。每个单元是通过一系列的重点问题来引发学生探索与学习持久性的知识重点。
The teaching of the Humanities in Dunman High School employs the inquiry-based approach to increase intellectual engagement and foster deep understanding through the development of a hands-on, minds-on and ‘research-based disposition’ towards teaching and learning.
Active Citizenry Education
ACE employs a diverse range of teaching approaches and methodologies to cater to the different learning needs of our pupils. The ACE curriculum emphasizes critical thinking through Richard Paul’s Elements of Reasoning. Current and controversial issues are presented through different sources, and students attempt to reach a balanced judgment after exploring the topic. Students also partake in Socratic seminars to engage deeper with issues such as Multiple Citizenship and Human Rights and Responsibilities.
The ACE team also attempts to bring the learning back to the individuals’ lived experiences and renewed understanding. Reflection logs, 3-2-1 reflection worksheets and takeaway cards all seek to help the learner consolidate and reconstruct the knowledge learnt throughout the course.
An important aspect of the teaching and learning of Economics is active participation and engagement of students. This is based on the educational theory of constructivism. Constructivism is a learning theory which explains how humans learn. The main idea is that learning is constructed, rather than received or developed innately. Students learn by building new knowledge upon the foundation of previous learning which implies that prior experiences will influence learners on how they perceive and hence construct the new knowledge. For knowledge construction to occur, the learning is active rather than passive. This can be achieved through the process of active questioning, interpreting, problem solving and creating, which will result in further understanding of the knowledge.
Since learning is a constructive process, students must participate in dialogue and discussion actively instead of being passive learners. Since learning is constructed, teachers take on the role of facilitators to guide students to learn from their new experiences and discover new knowledge. Teachers create opportunities for students to engage in tutorial discussions to put forth their arguments and draw on evidence to support their points, listen to alternative perspectives of their peers, and evaluate alternative viewpoints in order to arrive at a well-reasoned judgement.
In Dunman High School, the inquiry based learning approach has been aptly adopted as it facilitates autonomous learning with the intention that students take ownership of their own learning as they construct their own knowledge through asking and answering geographical questions.
Taking the inquiry based learning approach, students’ learning of Geography in DHS is scaffolded through the use of several student-centred pedagogies such as conducting Socratic seminars, concept-mapping and investigative studies.
Socratic seminars focus on the democratization of knowledge and students take responsibility for their own learning and knowledge advancement. It often takes the form of a discussion where teachers and students are given the opportunities to ask meaningful questions that stimulate the thoughtful interchange of ideas. Students may also play the role as observers of the seminar by recording important points and doing reflections. This activates their meta-cognition and allows them to draw connections with their own personal experiences of the world. Socratic seminars are held for the Population Geography topic in Junior High, and the Senior High topics of Atmospheric processes, hazards and management as well as The Globalisation of Economic Activity. The pedagogy lends itself well to human geography and synoptic units in the curriculum which explore the complex interrelationships between humans and their environment.
Concept mapping involves the use of concepts as anchor points to draw connections among all the concepts to provide a big picture of the topic. The use of concepts and the tool of concept mapping have helped both teachers and learners understand complex relationships and establish the intrinsic linkages between seemingly disparate themes and sub-topics within a curriculum. In the JH and SH Geography curriculum, concept mapping is often used to initiate the unit by getting students to map their preconceptions of the topic. It is also used as a unit close to reconstruct their understanding of the theme through a collaborative effort with the teacher and their peers. Students are thus better able to see the interconnectivity between different concepts and themes.
The DHS Geography learning journey not only focuses on geographical concepts but connects other cross-curricular concepts and skills as well, including the development of desirable attitudes and values like the strive for excellence and the concern for the environment.
Through experiential learning (by conducting fieldwork and field studies) and authentic performance tasks, students’ thinking is enhanced and sharpened as students attempt to apply critical thinking and analytical skills to understand and solve real-life problems. Therefore the knowledge and skills gained, which are transferable to various situations in the future, will become the students’ assets.
In History lessons, strategies like Inquiry-based learning, Hilda Taba’s Concept Development and Socratic Seminars are often used. Inquiry-based learning (IBL) enables students to reflect critically on historical questions and issues; and to investigate about the past and make reasoned historical interpretations. This brings about intellectual engagement and helps to foster a deeper understanding with a hands-on, minds-on and researched-based disposition towards teaching and learning. The strategy includes the following phases of inquiry:
- Sparking Curiosity
- Gathering Evidence
- Exercising Reasoning
- Reflective Thinking
IBL emphasizes the development of an inquiring attitude that will enable students to continue their quest for knowledge throughout life.
Hilda Taba’s concept development strategy basically aims to help students construct definitions and meanings on their own. In Dunman High School, history teachers utilise this strategy to help students comprehend and define historical concepts. By getting students to group key words associated with a particular concept; and after several attempts at refining to come up with logical labels for the groups, teachers would then guide the students into coming up with plausible definitions of the concept. This is a useful constructivist strategy to engage students in formulating their own understanding. This strategy is also effective in improving the writing skills of the students. It enables them to adequately understand the logic and links inherent in the concept so that they can come up with appropriate points to address the historical issues related to the concept.
Socratic seminars aim to develop critical thinking among the students in Dunman High School. It is largely derived from the Socratic method of learning. The Socratic method, named after the classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of inquiry and debate between individuals with opposing viewpoints based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas. The Socratic seminar strategy is an improved platform of the Socratic method, tailored to involve groups of students in debate and discussion as a class. Students are tasked to phrase their points clearly; and clarify and explain how their points support or oppose the hypothesis at hand. The history teacher plays the role of a facilitator and ensures that the seminar is conducted in an orderly manner. The contributions of the students will be recorded and summarised into an argument map. This strategy compels the students to constantly clarify and re-clarify what they are trying to bring forward. This will stretch the students to consider the issue at hand critically.
本校采用多元化的教学方式，以满足不同学生的学习需求。此课程应用保罗 理查德的推理元素来增进学生的批判性思维能力。学生先从不同的信息管道获得 当今具争议性课题的一些背景资料，然后试图推理分析，以达致一个公正的判断。除此之外，学生也参加苏格拉底式的研讨会，对“多重国籍”与“人权和责任”等 相关课题来做深入探讨。
苏格拉底式的研讨会侧重于知识的“民主化”。这意味学生对自己的学习和知识应负起重要责任。此教学方式往往通过一个讨论的形式，让教师和学生有机会 提出有意义的问题来激发更多的意见交流。学生也可以扮演观察者或记录员的角色。这不同的角色能增进他们的元认知，同时也能让他们把自己个人经验和世界发生 的事联系起来。初中部应用此方式举办了《人口地理》的专题研讨，而高中部则同样的探讨了以《大气层的内部过程》和《全球化经济活动》为主题的课题。这教学 方式非常适用于人文地理和那些探讨人类与环境之间复杂关系的课题。
概念图把所学的单一概念串联在一个共同主题下。它能帮助教师和学生理解复杂的关系，并让看似不相关的概念能很有系统地联系在一起。本校教师常通过概 念图让学生在学习一个新主题之前先澄清他们的误解。它也常作为一个主题的完结活动，让老师与同学们共同总结对主题的理解。这样一来，学生们就能够更好地明 白不同概念之间的相互联系。
希尔达塔巴的概念发展策略的基本宗旨在于帮助学生形成他们自己的定义和 意义。学生们常难理解和明确解释所学的历史概念。他们通常只能描述但没能充分给予这些概念一个清楚的定义。本校历史教师就常用上述策略来帮助学生克服以上 难题。学生首先将一组关键字与特定的概念关联，在经过多次运用逻辑标签来为这些关键字组命名后，教师接着会引导学生得出合理的概念定义。这是可让学生制定 自己理解框架的一个非常有用的建构策略。它能同时让学生明白，这些定义是他们在学习过程中不可或缺的，因为他们为这些概念定了位。这策略也有利于提高学生 的写作能力。它帮助学生们理解逻辑和概念的内在联系，从而选择适当的要点来回答相关问题。
苏格拉底式的研讨会目的在于加强学生的批判性思维能力。它主要源自于苏格拉底 提问法。这个由古希腊哲学家命名的方式，是让持有不同观点的学者互相辩论和探讨的一种途径。这在阐明观点的同时也提高学者的批判性思维能力。苏格拉底式的 研讨会是苏格拉底方式更适合教学用途的一种演变。它通过学生组队在课堂中互相辩论和探讨课题的同时，帮助他们更清楚自己的观点，也能更好地解说和澄清论 点。历史教师扮演促进交流者互动的角色，并确保研讨会有秩序和有条理地进行。学生们的观点也将被记录成一个总结。这是一个能让学生不断阐释和重新说明自己 看法的一种良好策略，从而使学生能更全面地探讨课题。
Active Citizenry Education
To be effective, ACE adopts a practice-oriented approach so that each pupil has the capacity to put into practice democratic values, attitudes and behaviours in their daily life at home, school and the community. The atmosphere in the classroom is stimulating, interactive and thought-provoking.
Pupils are actively engaged with the political, social and moral issues of the world around them to develop skills of participation and responsible action. A wide variety of resources, technology, visuals and so on are available as a means to tap on the learning styles of the pupils.
As learning is based on prior knowledge and experiences, each student constructs his own meaning and learns the new knowledge differently. This implies that different students may not understand the same new knowledge in the same way or depth. Some students may even exhibit erroneous understanding due to past experiences or misconceptions. Therefore, an important part of teaching is assessment, specifically assessment for learning. Assessment can help to advance learning rather than merely measuring it. The design of performance tasks and use of questioning techniques in class help reveal students’ current understanding and guide the teaching of content and skills.
The Geography assessments are designed by incorporating the principles of Multiple Intelligences and Understanding By Design which allow the tasks to be planned more holistically. Authentic assessments ranging from formal research papers, performance tasks to fieldwork projects are designed to encourage critical thinking and reflective reasoning and at the same time allow students to explore different learning styles and abilities, exercise and develop their strengths and talents.
Besides the conventional pen-and-paper tests, Historical Inquiry (HI) Task at each level is an integral part of the learning regime of DHS students. The HI Task develops 21st Century Competencies in the students as they learn to work together with their teammates to conduct research into a historical issue and present their findings to peers and teachers. Differentiated assessments are put in place for highly-abled students who have a strong passion for History. Both the conventional tests and assignments as well as the Historical Inquiry Tasks prepare our students for the ‘A’ level examination at the end of 6 years as well as develop critical thinkers with an array of skills ready for the society.