Multimedia to aid Chinese instruction in Singapore schools

To better support students in the learning of the Chinese Language, Singapore's Ministry of Education has launched the Oracy eLand portal in all primary schools.

Education Minister Heng Swee Keat made the announcement at the 2nd International Conference on Teaching and Learning of Chinese as a Second Language at the Ngee Ann Polytechnic Convention Center.

Keat said the portal, designed for Primary 1 to 3 students, uses multimedia content such as flash animations, video clips and audio clips to make learning Chindese engaging and interactive. It also offers a systematic and multimodal way of teaching and learning commonly-used vocabulary and sentence patterns.

The portal was earlier piloted at Temasek Primary School, Anglo-Chinese School (Primary) and Chongzheng Primary School in May this year.

"Bilingual education in English and the mother tongue languages remains a cornerstone of Singapore's education. English, as the common language of instruction, enables our students to plug into the globalized world, while learning mother tongue languages enables our students to have a sense of identity, and connect to our Asian cultural values and heritage," Keat said.

Prior to the launch of the portal, the education chief said the ministry did a comprehensive review of Chinese language instruction in 2010.

"The Review Committee recommended that teaching methods must take into account the different home language backgrounds and language abilities of our students, especially in their foundation years. Every effort must be made to help those who face greater difficulties in learning their mother tongue. Students with the passion and language ability will be given opportunities to go as far as possible, and be nurtured to be bilingual and bicultural," he said.