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2nd AHS National Symposium

In alignment to MOE’s aim to strengthen a culture of learning among our teaching force, Anglican High School (AHS) has been organizing a biennial sharing for the E4 cluster of schools since 2008. As the feedback for the sharing has been positive and our teachers have benefited from the discourse with fellow participants, this sharing platform has widened to the national level in January 2013.

The inaugural AHS National Symposium in 2013 on "Assessment at the Heart of Learning" was very well received with more than 600 educators in attendance. This year, the 2nd Anglican High National Symposium on 27 March 2015 with the theme “Teaching Thinking to 21st Century Learners” was again well received by more than 500 educators island-wide.
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The development of critical thinking skills has become a key goal for many educators. The objectives of the symposium are to provide fellow educators with the platform to
  • share and facilitate learning of effective and innovative classroom practices in developing critical /creative thinkers;
  • provide like-minded practitioners to build and broaden their professional networks.

Dr Jennifer Tan Pei-Ling, a Research Scientist specialising in Creativity, 21st Century Literacies and Learning, and Co-Convenor of the Creativity and 21st Century Competencies Task Force at the Office of Education Research, NIE, Singapore, was the keynote speaker.
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Her keynote address, “Are More Heads Better than One?” aims to help educators understand and foster collaborative creativity and problem-solving competencies in everyday teaching and learning dialogues. There’s an old saying that “two heads are better than one.” And more heads are even better! When dealing with a problem or challenge on our own, we can often get stuck in old patterns of thinking. By involving others in a group problem-solving session, we open ourselves up to new ideas and perspectives on the challenge, and increase the likelihood of coming up with an innovative solution.

In her keynote address, ‘talk matters!’ for productive team creativity as it is more than just generating ideas! Positive creativity encompasses dimensions of divergence, convergence, prosociality as well as morality. Groups need a mindset change from the view point that knowledge is a hierarchical linear lock-step view to one that is a repertoire of knowledge (and talk) resources. 

There was good feedback from the participants for the keynote address with close to 75% of participants who strongly agree /agree that the keynote address was clearly delivered and the content was useful. Moreover, participants were also of the opinion that they can apply the useful ideas learnt. 

Besides AHS teachers presenting at 10 out of the 32 concurrent sessions at the symposium, there were guest presenters from 15 other secondary schools. Teachers from 80 secondary schools, 6 primary schools, 8 Junior Colleges as well as MOE officers from ELIS, AST, CPDD & CPO registered themselves as participants. 
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The scope of these concurrent sessions ranged from the Humanities to the Math and Sciences, as well as the non-academic areas such as Character and Citizenship Education. The presenters at the seminar provided many examples of successful and innovative strategies on how they have infused critical thinking in their classroom pedagogies.

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