The purpose of this paper is to explore humanities teachers’ perceptions of patriotism in Singapore by addressing two questions. First, what are teachers’ understandings of patriotism? Second, what are teachers’ attitudes toward patriotism as a quality of good citizenship?
The qualitative case study approach was used, with semi-structured interviews and classroom observations as data sources. The participants were four teachers from diverse backgrounds with distinct perceptions of patriotism. Data analysis methods included writing teacher profiles and thematic coding.
Teachers were generally positive toward patriotism and understood it in four ways: cosmopolitan, nationalistic, social-movement and person oriented. These themes were not mutually exclusive but distributed across the participants in varying extents. These findings show that patriotism is susceptible to individual meaning-making, and there are different scales and expressions of patriotism.
The results from this small case study cannot be generalized. However, owing to globalization, it is likely that alternative ways of understanding patriotism might become more widespread and salient in citizenship education. Hence, the authors recommend that more studies be conducted on larger samples and using other methods.
This study goes in-depth into a case where teachers had positive feelings toward patriotism, and it draws on the context of Singapore to understand how and why this is so. It also revealed conceptions of patriotism that differ from the more common constructs in the educational literature, suggesting that people from post-colonial countries with different histories, might conceive of patriotism differently from others.
This study was funded by the Education Research Funding Program, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, Project No. OER 19/10 LWO. The views expressed in this paper are the authors’ and do not necessarily represent the views of the NIE. The authors wish to thank Alfredo Bautista for his insightful comments on earlier drafts of this paper.
Chua, S. and Sim, J. (2017), "Postmodern patriotism: teachers’ perceptions of loyalty to Singapore", Asian Education and Development Studies, Vol. 6 No. 1, pp. 30-43. https://doi.org/10.1108/AEDS-01-2016-0012Download as .RIS
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