1. What is the STELLAR programme? When was it implemented?
STELLAR stands for “Strategies for English Language Learning and Reading”. First piloted in 30 schools in 2006, this approach aims to strengthen the teaching of English through a balanced combination of explicit instruction in language skills, including grammar and phonics, and the use of age-appropriate children’s stories. It is being implemented progressively at the upper primary levels: P4 from 2013, P5 from 2014 and P6 from 2015.
2. Is the STELLAR programme part of the 2010 English Language (EL) Syllabus?
The EL Syllabus 2010 is a subject syllabus and planning document that outlines what is to be taught at the various stages from primary through to the secondary levels. STELLAR is an EL instructional programme for primary schools that provides the instructional materials, teaching strategies and training to enable teachers to implement the EL syllabus.
3. How is STELLAR different from other EL programmes? What difference will STELLAR make in terms of helping children speak and write good English?
The STELLAR programme is designed to cater to a diverse range of EL learners in our school system. It has been developed and trialled based on research carried out in Singapore schools. The STELLAR programme uses a contextualised approach to EL learning with systematic and explicit grammar instruction. It makes extensive use of children’s stories and articles instead of traditional textbooks and workbooks. It emphasises foundational skills in grammar and vocabulary and enriches students’ learning through the use of stories and texts that engage and stretch our children’s imagination.
Students are provided with opportunities to express themselves in an environment where language learning can be enjoyable yet purposeful. Through the reading of engaging stories in class, students get to speak extensively, discussing and sharing their views with the teacher and their peers. The main purpose is to build students’ confidence in speech and writing, and enhance their learning of the language. On-going evaluation studies show that the STELLAR programme has been effective in engaging children and strengthening their language skills.
4. Are all schools included in the STELLAR programme?
The STELLAR programme was trialled at the various levels from 2006 to 2009. By 2015, all schools will be provided the training and resource support necessary to implement the STELLAR programme from P1 to P6.
Examinations (EL and Foundation EL)
5. What are the papers in the EL and Foundation EL exams?
There is no change to the number and names of the papers. There will still be the following four papers for both EL & Foundation EL:
a. Paper 1: Writing
b. Paper 2: Language Use and Comprehension
c. Paper 3: Listening Comprehension
d. Paper 4: Oral Communication
6. In what ways are the focus and testing of skills in the revised examinations different from the current examinations?
The language skills tested in the revised examinations are the same as those tested in the current examinations. However, the revised examination papers give greater emphasis to the 21st century competencies (such as being able to communicate confidently and effectively and to think critically) in the teaching syllabus by:
a. giving pupils greater scope for providing personal response in speaking and writing; and
b. greater emphasis on viewing skills integrated with listening and reading.
7. Is the revised exam syllabus harder/easier than the current?
Care has been exercised to keep the revised syllabus at a comparable level of difficulty. There is no significant change to the skills assessed. The new or revised items have been trialled, and the findings show that pupils were able to do the tasks even without preparation.
8. How can parents support their children's learning and proficiency in English at home?
Research has shown that children whose parents read to them when they were young continue to benefit from the early book reading experiences well into their secondary school years. To develop a strong foundation in learning and using the English language, children benefit from reading extensively a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books. Parents can also support their children’s learning by seeking out opportunities for meaningful interactions with them. Children learn through interaction with others, including talking about what they have just heard, seen or read. Parents should read with their children and engage them in conversation afterwards. They could also use opportunities at home, or during outings with their children, to have conversations where they and their children could exchange views on what they have seen or heard together, and on how they are learning.