Time for teachers to adopt multidisciplinary approach

The excellent showing by Singapore students in the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa) study in mathematics, science and reading is testimony to the effective and engaging lessons by Singapore's teachers, both in and out of the classroom ("Singapore students bag education 'World Cup'"; Dec 7).

With the plethora of information both online and in print media, rote learning has been displaced and our teachers have done the right thing by inculcating in students higher order thinking skills.

However, it is also important that our teachers move beyond teaching traditional subjects like maths and science as standalone subjects.

It would be great if they go a step further and adopt a multidisciplinary approach.

Some studies on interdisciplinary teaching have reported increased critical reasoning abilities and better student engagement.

Also, more students should be exposed to industry-based subjects like computing.

In an increasingly globalised economy, the threat of losing our comparative advantage is greater than before.

As such, the Education Ministry should act on the urgent need of producing students who will be industry ready. For example, it is important that the students are computer literate, not just as end-users but also as software designers and developers.

Introducing students to computing will pave the way in developing a ready supply of talent in technology fields like software engineering.

We must acknowledge that mastery in many industry-based subjects requires a strong foundation, and introducing such subjects at a young age is essential.

Besides, these can help cultivate soft skills like problem solving and logical reasoning as well.

Furthermore, such subjects may further engage students when they learn traditional subjects like maths as they appreciate the relevance of traditional subject content.

The excellent showing in Pisa is indeed praise worthy. However, let us not rest on our laurels. Let us continue to explore options to improve our education system to maintain our status as a choice nation for global companies to outsource their operations.

Woo Jia Qian (Miss)