Innovating the Singapore English Language curriculum through lesson study

Lydia Tan-Chia (Ministry of Education, Singapore)
Yanping Fang (National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
Pow Chew Ang (Ministry of Education, Singapore)

International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies

ISSN: 2046-8253

Publication date: 14 October 2013



The purpose of this paper is to report on an exploratory study, Project En-ELT (enhancing English language learning and teaching), which used lesson study to mediate curriculum innovation to enhance student learning by engaging teachers in learning and implementing effective English language teaching strategies and formative assessment practices in seven lower secondary schools in Singapore over two years. It aims to portray how lesson study can be adapted to build teacher pedagogical capacity in carrying out the language development goals formulated in the revised national English Language Syllabus 2010.


Project evaluation is embedded systematically into the research design from the very beginning of the pilot to in between each step of lesson study process across three consecutive cycles in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the pilot program from the project advisors’, participating teachers’ and students’ perspectives. Both the quantitative and qualitative data were collected in and across the instructional steps and lesson study cycles to create immediate evidence-based feedback to inform continuous on-going adjustment and improvement.


Findings indicate that across the three cycles the lesson study teams moved from isolated to collaborative planning; from poor understanding and mechanical execution of the retelling strategy to a more sophisticated and skilful use of reciprocal teaching. An increase was found in teacher confidence and positive attitude towards the value of the project in developing their language and teaching effectiveness. There was enhanced student engagement and collaborative participation in the lessons while assessment for learning was fostered in the classroom.


Program evaluation provided feedback loops to ensure that each enactment stage and cycle learns from and builds on the limitations and strengths of the previous one(s) so internal consistency, continuity and coherence can be achieved for concrete implementation; different perspectives from the project officers/researchers, teachers and students were collected consistently and analyzed to gauge the accuracy of the findings; the collaboration between Ministry of Education curriculum officers, specialists and teachers, through lesson study, was able to create democratic relations rested upon interdependence, and mutual respect and trust; and it provides an illustrative case of how lesson study can be used effectively to help schools carry out national curriculum and pedagogical innovations. The project has important implications for addressing the issues of implementation and sustainability of innovative curriculum practices.



Lydia Tan-Chia, Yanping Fang and Pow Chew Ang (2013) "Innovating the Singapore English Language curriculum through lesson study", International Journal for Lesson and Learning Studies, Vol. 2 No. 3, pp. 256-280

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