Language is a communication tool that can be applied in various aspects of life. From daily social bonding with family and friends, appreciation and preservation of culture, to networking with people from foreign countries; bilingual skills ensure that students have a unique advantage in this era of globalisation, as we are surrounded by Malay, Tamil and Mandarin speakers. The rise of major economic powers in the region also has strong signals for our students to be prepared linguistically, and to be more willing to work with their strategic partners in the future, by understanding their language, appreciating their culture and norms and compiling discourses from various perspectives.
The Mother Tongue Languages (MTLs) department aims to nurture every student to become a “Global Connecting Architect”, effective in the use of a second language to think, plan, create and communicate so that they can confidently venture beyond our shores to connect with other cultures, and to frame discourse from foreign perspectives.
The annual MTL Fortnight provide an immersive environment for students to learn and appreciate MTL. A wide range of activities are conducted for students; they include a Chinese seal carving and fan painting workshop, Malay arts appreciation and Tamil traditional games. They also go on learning journeys to learn about their own culture and heritage.
Chinese Language / 华文
Students are groomed into active learners and effective communicators of Chinese language. They will be able to connect both local and global communities through relevant and creative approaches.
Here, students create multimedia artefacts ranging from microfilms, animations, documentaries and digital posters in the Chinese language. Authentic learning takes place as they research on societal issues and apply skills learnt in their curriculum through these hands-on tasks.
Applied Learning in Action
Through collaborative projects, students research on different topics of interest. Communication skill is one of the key learning objectives they will hone as they participate actively in discussions and field research.
Students assumed different roles in producing their final work. This process allows them to understand societal issues from different perspectives as they work on the project. Deep and insightful understanding of language skills and current issues takes place when opportunities for application are present.
As part of the Chinese Talent Development Programme, selected students participated in the Author-in-Residence Programme, held in collaboration with the Singapore Association of Writers, and Committee to Promote Chinese Language Learning. Throughout the programme, the students enjoyed learning the skills of creative writing, short stories, poems and novels. They reflected that the lessons were thought-provoking and were useful in honing their critical writing skills.
Malay Language / Bahasa Melayu
At SST, our students learn as active participants in an ICT-enhanced learning environment. They create various digital artefacts, such as microfilms, documentaries, animations and advertisements. These activities allow students to express their opinions, persuade intended audiences or disseminate information. The learning is authentic in the way that it mirrors actual tasks in the real world.
Students embark on learning journeys, which make the Malay language learning more interesting and meaningful. They also learn about the Malay culture in an interactive way through hands-on workshops and public engagement.
Honing Critical Thinking Skills & Creativity
Language is a tool for transmission of thoughts, emotions and values. It is also a vehicle for imagination and creativity. Students get creative to bring across the message of Cyber Wellness through dramatisation in their Performance Task.
Producing a microfilm enables students to showcase their ability in comprehending a given theme and expressing their ideas creatively. It is a platform for students to integrate their learning and skills, as well as an opportunity to collaborate with their peers.
Learning Beyond the Classroom
Learning is not just limited to the classroom. Students are presented with an array of interesting activities that provide them with the opportunities to learn and appreciate the Malay language and culture in a conducive environment. These include kompang, silat and traditional kite making workshops. Learning journeys are also conducted to give students a rich and fun learning experience beyond the classroom.
Malay Language Month Showcase
SST students participate actively in community events such as the Malay Language Month, as it is an opportunity for them to use the language with members of the public in an authentic setting. Titled Bingkisan Nelayan (The Fisherman’s Gift), the students showcased their project in 2019 on the fishing tools used by traditional Malay fishermen. They also shared how the intimate knowledge of the sea and fishes are reflected in Malay philosophy and idioms. The students were commended for their efforts and received positive feedback from the public.
Tamil Language / தமிழ் மொழி
During the MTL Fortnight, there were many different types of class activities for each level of students. The Secondary One students went to the Indian Heritage Centre, where they learnt the past about the Indian culture, how it has impacted Singapore and how it has changed over the years. They also went to a local Indian restaurant to taste different types of Indian food, from Dosai to Vadai.
Students also wrote speeches about a topic and presented in front of their class. These were part of the class activities that helped them improved their oratorical skills. Other activities, such as dramas, were also done in class to further improve their speech skills. The students were divided into two groups with the same script. They had to assign themselves to different roles and memorise their script in order to act it out.