Sunday, February 26, 2006

Reflection 4: SAIL - Strategies for Active and Independent Learning

I heard about this...

The first I heard about SAIL was a couple of years ago, when it was piloted with the EL dept at Ngee Ann. The 2nd time I heard about it was the implementation in Home Economics lessons last year. Came to know more about it when wanted to get some ideas on its assessment, to see if there's any good practices that can be considered for BLS. There was no 'formal encounter' of SAIL, but the notion is... it's going to create an impact on all instructional programmes, not just core, but elective subjects too... But what is it exactly?

This 'reflection homework' promotes me to dig more to read about it... {see below for some useful links}

Trying to link...

Theresa took quite a while to share her experience of integrating SAIL into the teaching of F&N last year and this year... It's pupil focus, definitely... and driving towards independent learning! Self-evaluation, self-review, self-improvement, ownership, rubrics, openness in assessment... these are some words that I can associate SAIL with.

This reminds me of this new thing I came across last year, introducing new modes of assessment to Mathematics - Journal writing, something along the same line, too!

Something that catch my attention when reading the speech by the minister at the launch of the monograph on SAIL (dated 25 March 2004). That is:

  • ... the critical shifts will be in how students learn, how actively they think for themselves, and how they interact with their teachers and peers in the course of teh day. That will determine the quality of their learning, whichever the pathway they choose...
  • ...The SAIL approach aims to engage our students in active and reflective learning, and nurture independent learning habits...
  • ...The approach emphasizes learning as a formative and development process, in which instruction and assessment point the way students to learn...

What else to take note of...

  • Broad statements of learning and expectations
  • Tasks that provide scope for students to learn and demonstrate knowledge, skill and attitudes articulated in these statements of learning and expectations
  • Assessment tools that spell out the various dimensions for evaluating students' performance in their tasks, as well as teh levels of attainment for each dimenions.

On top of that...

  • Teachers will provide opportunities for students for the use of the assessment criteria to evaluate their own work adn that of their peers

On the other hand...

  • "... it is essentially a way in which a teacher can help a student to take responsibility for his own learning..."

How would we do this? We are going to change the way classes are run... we are going to introduce new strategies to excite the students... What are the implications the new approach has on the final assessments?

How do students perceive it? They are ready for the changes? Most of them? What advantages do they see in the education system returning them their 'onus' and responsibility to learn and do well?

In the first place, how many will see the responsibility of learning is theirs by default? Over the years, many of us have taken over the responsibility from students... especially when we drive students to meet the targets (set by who? school? dept? ourselves? or students themselves?) So, who sets and owns the targets at the end of the day? It seems, for many of us, like it's been our responsibilities to make sure students 'learn' (or being able to answer to the questions in the exam papers).


Slides by CPDD (intranet):

Other useful Websites:

1 comment:

Erman said...


Thank you for your insightful reflection towards SAIL. Even though it was dated 4 years ago, I find that the rhetorical questions towards the end of the blog are still very much applicable in today's curriculum. I am sure self awareness is the key for any student's success in life, be it in school or not. Have you read about 21st Century Skills?

Just giving you a question, to be self-motivated learners is the key for SAIL, how do you think students would feel when they still do not get the distinction despite trying so hard to be parallel with the curriculum concocted by the teachers?

I would love to hear your response if you are have the time to answer. Thank you. =)