Contact - Engaging Stakeholders 2006

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issue 04 january 2006THE TEACHERS' DIGEST

Engaging StakeholdersMoving beyond teachers and school leaders, we want to engage stakeholders to partner schools in the education endeavour. In this issue, various stakeholders like parents, alumni and private corporations tell Contact why they feel it is important to contribute to schools and have a hand in educating students.

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Editors Note03 Engaging Stakeholders

In Conversation04 Excite Parents and the Community

Working with Stakeholders07 Principals Perspectives 09 Dynamic Interaction with the Community 11 Making Learning Real

Parents12 Outside Homes and into SchoolsCONTACT US Contact The Teachers Digest is a quarterly publication giving teachers in-depth appreciation of key MOE initiatives and policies. It supplements our fortnightly online edition of Contact which focuses on the latest news and views. We welcome your comments and contributions. Please write to us at: contact_online@moe.edu.sg.

Government Parliamentary Committee14 Corporate Focus, Human Touch

Self-Help Groups16 Lending a Helping Hand

Industry17 Corporate Collaborations

Alumni Associations 19 Old Guards and Young Minds School Advisory Committees21 It Takes a Village

Contact is published, for internal circulation only, by Corporate Communications Division, Ministry of Education, #20-00 MOE Building, 1 North Buona Vista Drive, Singapore 138675.

Media23 Beyond Breaking the News

COMPASS24 COMPASS Website Goes to the Movies

CONTENTS 2006 issue 04 january

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Check out our fortnightly online Contact at www.moe.gov.sg/corporate/contactonline

EDITOR'S NOTE

Engaging StakeholdersEducation is not just the responsibility of school leaders and teachers.We need our stakeholders parents, alumni, school management or advisory committees, community organisations, media and private corporations to partner schools in the education endeavour. Developing effective partnerships with all our stakeholders takes time. It requires nding people who are willing to look beyond traditional boundaries, and often to go beyond their prescribed scope of work. This issue showcases organisations and individuals who have done just that. From counselling students to collating survey forms, there are many instances when stakeholders have pitched in and offered their expertise to schools. Read about what motivates stakeholders to contribute to schools in their own special ways. In this issue, Ms Chang Hwee Nee, Deputy Secretary (Policy), speaks about how schools can better engage stakeholders. She talks candidly to Contact about why schools require the support of stakeholders in delivering holistic education. In addition, Dr Amy Khor, member of the Government Parliamentary Committee for Education, shares with Contact her views on school-stakeholder partnerships. We hope you will enjoy reading this issue and look forward to receiving your articles and feedback. The Contact Editorial Team

We Value Your Views We invite Contact readers to give us feedback on this issue. Let us know how to make Contact The Teachers Digest a publication truly worth reading. Please write in to contact_online@moe.edu.sg.

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In ConversationMs Chang Hwee Nee, DS (Policy), shares her views on partnering stakeholders in education.

Excite Parents and the CommunityMs Chang Hwee Nee, Deputy Secretary (Policy), shares her views on why and how we can involve School Management Committee or School Advisory Committee (SMC/SAC) members, alumni, parents and the community at large in the work of schools to deliver holistic education to our children.Q: What do we wish to achieve by encouraging parents and the community to collaborate with our schools? A: Our schools have been actively involving SMC/SAC, alumni, parents and the community in their activities and programmes. This is crucial. I believe that greater collaboration will achieve greater buy-in from parents and the community. This will help schools realise their vision of delivering the best education outcomes for our students. Our students will benet from schools and stakeholders working in partnership in areas such as academic learning, language acquisition, or more importantly values and character development. What our students learn in schools will be complemented and reinforced by what they experience at home and what they are exposed to in the media and wider community at large. We have seen that the education landscape has evolved over the last few years. We have provided greater exibility and choice for our students. We need to better reach out to parents to help them navigate and choose programmes and options that best suit the interest and inclinations of their children. Parents and the community are key resources. Our schools and teachers can tap and leverage on them to maximise the educational impact on our students. For instance, schools can avail themselves of parent and adult volunteers as well as community facilities such as swimming pools and other sports facilities to enhance their resources. Q: In your view, are our schools effectively engaging parents and the community? A: It is clear that our schools are doing a lot. Some have done very well and are recognised for their excellent efforts in

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In Conversationpromoting and strengthening partnerships with their stakeholders through the PARTNERS Awards. Our schools need to share best practices and learn from one another. In the MOE Public Perception Survey that we conducted in 2004, most respondents felt that parents were ultimately responsible for the upbringing and discipline of their own children. Most also felt that parents did support schools in the education of their children. However, only slightly more than half the respondents strongly agreed that the community was working closely with schools. We can address this by doing more to engender ownership and active participation by the community. Q: What can our schools do to increase the level of engagement with stakeholders? A: Many of our schools have already set up feedback channels for parents to raise concerns. Some have even set aside a place just for parents to make them feel welcome. In one school, I am told that a member of the parent support group felt so at home that he started a vegetable garden there. In addition, our schools conduct meetings with parent support groups, SMCs/SACs, alumni to share schools needs and how these stakeholders could contribute. What better way to engage parents than to directly involve them in the school activities that would benet the students, be it reading programmes or conducting lessons or CCAs. Moving forward, our schools can better leverage on technology. How can this be done? For example, schools can use school portals to keep parents informed of school programmes and activities and elicit parents feedback and suggestions. At ExCEL Fest 2005, parents were invited to participate in classroom experiences to observe for themselves how learning takes place during their childrens lessons. For many of the parents who attended the 60 sessions, this was the rst time they had stepped into the classroom. Many had never sat through such lessons as students since they left school more than 10 years ago. I heard that one parent who attended a Science lesson was subsequently able to see the connection between teaching and assessment, and now better appreciates how the learning process can be supported at home. I am told that many parents were impressed with the hands-on and investigative approach that was adopted to teach Maths. Q: In recent years, parents and the community have developed greater expectations of the education system. How can our teachers help to manage and meet these expectations? A: All parents want the best for their children. As educators, our principals and teachers, too, want the best outcome

... parents were impressed with the hands-on and investigative approach that was adopted to teach Maths.

Intriguing Science experiment in progress at ExCEL Fest 2005.

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In Conversation

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Language class in progress.

All parents want the best for their children. As educators, our principals and teachers, too, want the best outcome for their students. To achieve this, both schools and parents need to share the desired outcomes of education and work towards a common goal for our children.communication and greater involvement, we will see more parents coming forward to support our teachers and schools to improve the educational experience for our children. Our teachers need to learn how to work with parents. This goes beyond just calling them when the child does something wrong. Likewise, if parents share with teachers about their childrens character, aptitude and attitude, they help our teachers to educate our students better. In line with the top-down support for bottom-up initiatives, we will encourage schools and teachers to continue to innovate and be creative in developing new ideas and approaches to engage stakeholders in more meaningful ways. We want to equally excite parents and the community about the innovations in education. When parents and the community join hands with our schools and teachers, I am condent that we will be able to bring out the best in each and every one of our students.Parent and child learning together at ExCEL Fest 2005.

for their students. To achieve this, both schools and parents need to share the desired outcomes of education and work towards a common goal for our children. In recent years, we are gradually diversifying the pathways in education. We are providing more choices for students. We are also broadening the measures of school and student success. Why are we doing this? We want our teachers to engage our learners and prepare them for life, rather than