Active voices of the young at Rosyth School

Taking part in the C@RS programme are (from left) Primary 6 pupils Raphael Niu Zi Yuan, Evan Lim Hong Jun, Wu Yu and Liu Yihua, all aged 12.
Taking part in the C@RS programme are (from left) Primary 6 pupils Raphael Niu Zi Yuan, Evan Lim Hong Jun, Wu Yu and Liu Yihua, all aged 12.PHOTO: ROSYTH SCHOOL

Being young does not mean one cannot take part in the public discourse on social issues. This is the philosophy behind Rosyth School's C@RS (Current Affairs at Rosyth School) programme.

Every fortnight, since 2014, teachers in Rosyth School select a different group of upper primary pupils to choose a news topic.

The pupils then use video-editing software to create a 60-second podcast, known as 60 Seconds of News, which is played for the entire school during Friday morning assembly.

Other pupils are then encouraged to write in to the Rosyth Forum - a public noticeboard in the school for pupils to air their opinions on the topics being discussed.

Teachers pick pieces that stand out; pupil editors from the school's competitive debate team sharpen the letters, which will be submitted to platforms such as The Straits Times' Forum page and Voices of Youth section.

Mr Melvin Wang, 32, who is the head of social studies and national education at Rosyth School, leads a team of teachers to carry out the C@RS programme.

He believes that infusing current affairs into the school's learning programme will nurture its pupils to become active citizens with a greater sense of duty to society when they grow up.

Since May this year, Mr Wang has tried NewsEd - ST Schools' new current affairs portal for classrooms - during its pilot phase, with four of his own classes.

He found that NewsEd allowed many more pupils, especially the "quieter" ones, to voice their opinions on current issues in a safe online space, since comments made on NewsEd are visible only within the school's circle of users.

He said: "NewsEd has given me the opportunity to extensively explore and rationalise controversial topics like the bilingual policy with my pupils.

"This platform has been especially powerful because everyone can post their opinions and the pupils become even more invested in the lesson when they know that their voices matter."

Mr Wang, who was named one of the inaugural Singapore Press Holdings Innovative Educators last week, added: "More importantly, classroom discussions become enriched and lively as there is a two-way exchange of information between the pupils and teacher."

Moving forward, he hopes to expand the use of NewsEd beyond his own classes to the entire school.

David Tay

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 04, 2017, with the headline 'Active voices of the young at Rosyth School'. Print Edition | Subscribe