Final Words: A Reflective Synthesis
When we began to conceptualise this book, we had a number of core questions in mind, largely emerging from what we see as a contrast between dramatically shifting sociolinguistic practices due to changing demographics and spawned by generational shifts and immigration policy on the one hand yet largely staid language ideology on the other. Language-in-education policy has attempted to manage this tension with periodic revised syllabi, outcomes and pedagogical approaches. At times, the result is linguistic inconsistency and paradox, perhaps most starkly seen in the persistent siloed approach to the teaching and learning of language (which spills even into research) which tends to regard each language in Singapore’s quadrilingual education individually rather than considering bilingualism/biliteracy and translanguaging (Garcia, 2009) practices and pedagogy within quadrilingual education. In this final chapter, we synthesise the ideas and issues in the chapters with reference to four core questions: How does language pedagogy respond to current policies and to social changes in language use? What does language education at the primary level in Singapore currently look like, and how similar or different is the pedagogy used in teaching the four languages? What are current pedagogical innovations in Singapore’s language education landscape? What can other educators, policymakers and researchers learn from Singapore’s challenges and successes at multilingual education?
We thank the Office of Educational Research and the Office of Graduate Studies and Professional Learning, both of National Institute of Education, Singapore, for support in the preparation of this book. We also thank Siti Azlinda Amasha who has worked with us throughout and Ying Wei Fu (Anna) who participated in the early stages of preparing the manuscript.
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