Dissertation: Creative Writing in English: Singapore

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Creative Writing in English: Singapore

Singapore

Singapore is a country in which the learning of the English language has become vitally important. For many students, the learning of the English Language is dependent upon the development of creative writing skills. Creative writing is used as a learning tool because it permits students to write in a manner that allows them to feel comfortable as they become more proficient in using the English language. Creative writing is utilized as a mechanism that allows students to expand their vocabulary and improve comprehension skills. In recent years creative writing in the English language for junior college students and into adult working life in Singapore has been encouraged. The goal of the study was to evaluate three different Singaporean groups: Junior College students that completed a creative writing course, Junior College students that had not completed a creative writing course and already in the workforce who completed a creative writing in English program. A total of 55 people were surveyed for the purposes of this study. Most of these individuals had positive views of the courses and reported some increase in English proficiency (speech, writing and comprehension). The participants also reported that they understood the importance of English language proficiency in achieving their academic and career goals.

Table of Contents

Chapter I Introduction

Background Information

Statement of Problem

Purpose of Study

Research Questions

Significance of Study

Definition of Terms

Chapter II Literature Review

Introduction

English Literacy in Singapore

English as a Second Language

Singaporean English

English Language Skills

Learning English

Instructional Tools for ESL

Listening and Speaking Strategies

Sociocultural perspective

Situated Meanings and Cultural Models

ESL and Academic writing

The pre-process era

Pre-process Approach

The Process Era

The role of Creativity in Education and Learning English

Creativity and Education

Creativity and the English Language

Singlish and the need for Creative Writing in English

Movement to speak "Good English"

Language, culture and identity

Singlish in Schools

Workforce Education and Skills in Singapore

Chapter III Methodology

Methods

Data Collection

Participants

Chapter IV Results

Chapter V Conclusion

Chapter VI Recommendations

Chapter I

Introduction

Throughout the world learning to speak and write English proficiently has become vitally important in the context of conducting business and functioning in an increasingly global society. Around the globe instructors of English as a Second Language are constantly creating curriculum that better meets the needs of students and ensures that English proficiency is obtained.

Singapore is one country in which the learning of the English language has become crucial. For many students the learning of the English Language is dependent upon the development of creative writing skills. Creative writing is used as a learning tool because it permits students to write in a manner that allows them to feel comfortable as they become more proficient in using the English language. This particular instructional tool is utilized as a mechanism that allows students to expand their vocabulary and improve comprehension skills.

In recent years creative writing in the English language for junior college students and adults in the workforce has been encouraged in Singapore. The geographic location of Singapore and the country's status as an English speaking country has made it an attractive destination for tourist and investors alike. Investment and tourism are significant aspects of Singapore's economy and assists in the nation's ability to have a high quality of life for its people. As such English proficiency remains important throughout junior college and once individuals enter the workforce.

Singapore has a unique education structure. This discourse will focus on Creative writing as it pertains to junior college students. In Singapore junior college is also referred to as Pre-University Education. According to Singapore's Minister of Education Pre-University education "prepares students for the GCE "A" Level examination at the end of the 2-year junior college or 3-year centralized institute course. Students who completed their pre-university education will receive a School Graduation Certificate ("Pre-University Education")."

As a way to ensure that English Language learners are acquiring the language in a manner that is efficient and lasting, educators have utilized creative writing to assist students. This phenomenon is apparent in countries throughout the world. In addition to students, employers have also recognized the need for employees to continue writing creatively in English. In doing so employees are better able to communicate in the workplace and amongst individuals who are native English speakers.

Background information

Lim (2004) that many people who are familiar with Singapore English (SE) which is sometimes referred to as Singlish. In addition there is a great deal of scholarly research available concerning SE. Many of the current surveys of varieties of English, textbooks, dictionaries, and even websites have been dedicated to the purpose of discussing SE. However research concerning the specific and unique nature of SE is not as prevalent. In addition information concerning the pedagogy of English language in Singapore is also lacking.

Lim (2004) explains that Singapore English has as a foundation a significantly large body of naturally-occurring spontaneous speech of young, native speakers of Singapore English. As such English spoken in Singapore is vibrant, current, contemporary and colloquial (Lim, 2004). The current speaker of Singaporean English are young Singaporeans who were raised during a period where, since the time they entered school they have been "English-knowing bilinguals" (Pakir 1992). In other words, the young people of Singapore have had exposure to English and their mother tongue to a degree that is almost equal (Lim, 2004).

With this understood, in Singapore and in many other nations where English is compulsory, students have had a great deal of exposure to English. This is quite different than American school where most students are not required to even be exposed to a foreign language until middle school. Although Singapore has adopted English as the national language of the country, there are some very real differences between the English spoken in Singapore when compared to other parts of the world that also have English as the official language. Subtle changes in the way that English is spoken are not an uncommon phenomenon. People in the United Kingdom speak a different form of English than people in America. Regardless of the manner in which English is Spoken, it is evident that these differences can have an effect on the manner in which English is taught.

Lim, (2004) explains that there are indeed elements of use which differentiate SE from other forms of English and also define it as SE. However, there are also many aspects that SE does share with other varieties of English. The author further explains that over the last 30 years Singapore English has developed into quite a different language and it continues to evolve. A great deal of this evolution can be attributed to the rapid pace with which language policies are put into practice, and the rapid manner in which the country and its community has developed. As it pertains to the historical and sociolinguistic background of the use of the English language in Singapore, the author also points out,

"In a small island of 4 million people made up of 76.8% Chinese, 13.9% Malay, 7.9% Indian and 1.4% persons of other races (Leow 2001), it may seem strange that English, the language of the colonial rulers, should have the dominance and scope that it commands in the day-to-day life of Singaporeans. The situation is partly the legacy of colonial history and partly the effect of post-independence policies in which English has been recognised as a resource to increase the country's rate of economic and social development (Lim, 2004)."

According to Gupta (1998) "English did not of course arrive in Singapore with Thomas Stamford Raffles in February 1819. English speakers had visited the islands of Singapore many times, trading and reconnoitering. But the Treaty which Raffles and Major William Farquhar made with the Temenggong and the Sultan began a formal connection with Britain which was responsible for the prominence that English has in Singapore today Gupta (1998)." The author further explains that the East Indian Company was first used as a conduit for the British government to operate in Singapore. This was usually the case with the proliferation of British rule at the time; trade was the predecessor to British Colonialism. For administrative purposes, Singapore became a part of Penang and Malacca which were two other settlements in the region. By 1826 these areas were grouped together and became known as the Straits Settlement. Initially the centre of the Straits Settlement was Penang. Penang was governed by Calcutta and Calcutta was governed by London. Within a six-year period Singapore had developed so much that it became the centre for the Straits Settlements.

In the years that followed the role of the British government in Singapore became more apparent as the East India Company withdrew from the region. In 1867 Singapore became a Crown Colony that was governed directly from London. Throughout the nineteenth century more parts of the Malay Peninsula and of Borneo began to be controlled by Britain, however, Singapore remained… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Creative Writing in English: Singapore."  Essaytown.com.  August 18, 2010.  Accessed October 15, 2019.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/creative-writing-english-singapore/1582565.