Language Arts in the Integrated Programme: A Holistic Approach

Singapore’s Integrated Program (IP) offers a unique six-year educational pathway that combines secondary and junior college education, providing a comprehensive and seamless learning experience. One of the most significant advantages of this program is that students are exempted from taking the Singapore-Cambridge GCE O-Level examinations, enabling a more flexible and personalised educational journey that caters to each student’s individual needs and interests.

To ensure a well-rounded education experience for IP students, the Ministry of Education (MOE) provides guidelines for language arts, emphasising the development of communication, critical thinking, and literary skills. The language arts syllabus covers various genres and encourages students to read, write, and think critically about the world around them. Although the syllabus may vary across schools, all IP schools strive to provide a rigorous and holistic education experience that prepares students for higher education and beyond.

Meet Mr Olivier Tan, our accomplished Academic Head of the Integrated Programme who is deeply devoted to helping students master the English language. Through his tenure at Academia, Olivier has established an outstanding record of providing exceptional support to his students, winning the hearts of both students and parents with his reliable teaching approach. Through his expert perspective, you can delve into the captivating realm of Language Arts in the Integrated Programme.

How would you describe your teaching style, and why have you chosen such an approach?

Participation required. Nurturing. I believe that student participation is necessary, whether it serves to validate a student’s opinion or simply to encourage them to become more confident, speak up, and feel that they have a stake in their own learning. Their responses do not necessarily have to be right; the classroom is where they can test out their ideas and make mistakes. It is more important that students make an attempt to explain their opinions rather than merely stating or thinking them.

How do you prepare for each lesson?

I will familiarise myself with the curriculum for that lesson and decide which areas I want to place greater emphasis on. I also look at which students are attending so that I can prepare additional materials for them if they have an assessment or project coming up, or make sure that I follow up with them regarding what their schools are doing and how they are coping.

What are the most rewarding things about being a teacher?

Helping students achieve good grades is definitely one of them, but seeing them improve as individuals – their academics, mentality or maturity – and knowing that I have contributed something positive to their lives certainly brightens my day. One’s teenage years are usually fraught with challenges because they are just beginning to form their identities and life purpose, so being able to guide them through at least some of these things is undoubtedly a privilege.

What are the benefits of language arts in the integrated program?

Ideally, they equip students with the ability to communicate effectively using language, whether orally or in writing. They help students understand how various authors convey their intentions through their language – tone, choice of vocabulary, structure – and then having done so, students learn to apply these techniques to their own writing and responses.

What are some of the challenges faced by students in the integrated program?

One of the biggest challenges students face is a lack of practice in school to help prepare them for their written assessments which usually come in the form of their Mid-Year Examination or End-of-Year Examination. In particular, the latter is something that many consider nerve-wrecking due to its heavier weightage on the students’ final grade. Another issue often cited by students and parents alike is that when students transition into their fifth and sixth year, the academic rigour required for the General Paper, modules and research papers is significantly greater than what they have been doing in school for the first four years. Again, this is due to a lack of sufficient practice at this intensity, a root problem that the curriculum at Academia seeks to address.

How does Academia address differences in syllabus and content between different schools that offer the Integrated Programme?

Our weekly curriculum focuses on developing essential skills such as critical thinking, comprehension and writing, all of which are applicable to the different methods of assessment in these schools. Moreover, we also recognise the importance of exams, which is why the curriculum reflects the main components tested – the expository essay, comprehension, summary, and critical response. These components are also examinable when students proceed to Year 5 and 6, so we provide them with the required practice now which helps ease their transition later.

Beyond the weekly curriculum which serves as the foundation of the L4IP programme here, our teachers also encourage students to share their coursework in school with us, so that we can provide additional guidance in the form of notes and feedback that is also more targeted. Our classes can also be tailored to meet the needs of students by covering a later week’s curriculum earlier and vice-versa. For instance, if students in the class have an essay test coming up, our teachers can bring the essay curriculum forward so that the students get the relevant practice and content needed.

What is your advice for students in the integrated program?

Take full advantage of the absence of the O-Level Examination in your school to maximise student life and expand your horizons. Invest yourself in the opportunities offered to you, and that can really be anything – your CCA, presentations, academics, sabbaticals, student exchange programmes, and many others. At the end of the day, learn to be comfortable in your own skin.

Introducing Academia’s Level 3 Language Arts and Level 4 Integrated Programme

Get ready for Singapore’s most comprehensive English programme – Language Arts meets the Liberal Arts! Our programme combines literary analysis, critical theory, and transferable skills for the humanities, exploring Big Ideas that bridge the local and global. With a focus on essay writing skills, our programme is designed for Year One and Two IP, IB, and O-level students. 

Academia also offers a Level 4 Integrated Programme to help students succeed in their exams. This programme includes weekly tutorials designed to provide academic rigour and clarity to students. Academia focuses on essential tips and techniques to help students understand what is expected of them. 

We are proud of our all-intensive, all-out house culture and teaching skills for comprehension and summary components. Our programme also imparts the necessary content knowledge and structure to write sophisticated discursive and argumentative essays

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