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Speech by Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law & Ministry of Education

date:Mar 19,2013 source:互联网 editorial staff:linan clicks:

Speech by Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law & Ministry of Education, at the 48th RELC International Seminar at SEAMEO RELC on Monday, 18 March 2013, at 9.15am

Speech by Ms Indranee Rajah, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Law & Ministry of Education, at the 48th RELC International Seminar at SEAMEO RELC on Monday, 18 March 2013, at 9.15am

Miss Melissa Sim, Centre Secretary, RELC,

Distinguished speakers and guests,

Seminar participants,

Ladies and gentlemen

1Good morning. It is my pleasure to be here to open the 2013 SEAMEO RELC International Seminar on ‘Assessment in Language Education’.

2Let me start by commending RELC for organizing this opportunity for scholars, teachers and researchers around the world who have come here to exchange perspectives and learn from one another. To all our guests from overseas, a warm welcome to Singapore.

3The fact that this year will mark the 48th seminar held at RELC is a testament to the collective interest in and a genuine understanding of the language education needs of the region. From the time the Centre was formed, language training for teachers and learners from all walks of life has taken centre-stage. This Seminar, I hope will represent an opportunity for all of us to discuss how we can think about our assessment practices in language education in the 21st Century.

Language Education
4The continued focus on Language Education is not just apt but critically important and timely. Singapore is committed to improve our education system. We recognize the need to enhance the development of 21st century competencies in our students. We want to develop in our students life-ready competencies like creativity, innovation, cross-cultural understanding and communication, so that they can maximize the opportunities a globalised world offers. Globalisation and technological advancements have shrunken the world. People across the world travel more extensively to work and to play. Cross-boundary interactions have become prevalent, facilitated by the world wide web. Therefore, our students need to learn to communicate effectively and confidently in an increasingly cosmopolitan society.

5Our ideas about learning are evolving constantly. Lawrence Summers, former president of Harvard University, in a recent New York Times article, asserted that “Education will be more about how to process and use information and less about imparting it”. I cannot agree more, particularly in a world that is producing new information at an ever-increasing rate. Therefore, effective language teaching and learning to help our students learn these skills and to communicate ideas is indeed critical.

Assessment In Language Education
6So how can assessment in language education play a part in promoting 21st century skills necessary for the globalised world we live in? We believe that greater emphasis must be given to allow students greater scope for personal responses in speaking and writing, as well as the integration of viewing skills with listening and reading to equip them with effective communication skills necessary to work with people of diverse cultural backgrounds to attain a broader worldview. At the same time, our students would need to be able to think critically, assess options and make sound decisions to improve their critical and inventive thinking.

7In order to promote more productive student learning, educators today are looking into learner-centred ways of testing which can empower the learner by helping him or her to cultivate independent learning skills. Since coming to the Ministry, I have learnt about the concept of ‘Assessment FOR Learning’, as contrasted with ‘Assessment OF Learning’ and how a range of assessment tasks when well-designed could support student learning and help them progress from one level to the next more effectively. I am also informed that researchers are promoting the concept and the process of self-assessment because it can improve learner motivation and self-esteem, leading to subsequent greater gains in learning.

8Assessment is thus evolving and plays a key role in supporting the development of students’ thinking skills and language learning, beyond the purpose of merely measuring individual achievement and evaluating the effectiveness of educational programmes.

9This is a good subject for discussion and I am confident that the 2013 RELC International Seminar will play a major role in increasing awareness of these relevant professional issues so that at the end, there is a more appropriate and learner-focused way to assess and to provide a more effective link between genuine long-term learning and its assessment. Hopefully it will also point to future innovative ways of blending formal and informal, formative and summative, objective and subjective approaches to ensure optimal benefit to both language educators and language learners across Southeast Asia.

10In closing, I wish each and every one of you a fruitful and enriching Seminar. I also wish our overseas participants an enjoyable stay in Singapore.

11Thank you.



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