Is Singapore winning the wrong race?

[This article has been removed because it was a comment made in good faith on a piece that has been retracted by the publication in which it was published. You can read about this below:

Apologies for any inconvenience or offense]


9 thoughts on “Is Singapore winning the wrong race?

    • Ah, the Positive Psychology mob – that takes me back. That’s the group that organised a, erm, “trial” at my previous school, during which the students were told ad nauseam how wonderful this Positive Psychology thing was, and then were placed into an intervention group and a control group (and knew which group they were in). No doubt the “results” from this were then presented as sound research, and were followed by plenty of statements from these people beginning “The evidence shows that…”.

  1. Great analysis Greg. One thing that strikes me particularly about that article is that all the suggested improvements sound very similar to various you-beaut proposals from Staff Development Days I’ve been to over the past decade, and the justifications are always the same – the brainscans, the creativity meme (I’ll bet Sir Ken’s TED talk got its millionth airing), the wellbeing red herring, “authentic tasks”, etc. My guess is that there will be at best a half-hearted attempt to introduce some of these ideas into Singapore’s schools, the majority of teachers roll their eyes and ignore them, and they’re then quietly abandoned until the next fad comes along.

  2. Similar to the way Finland seems to be going with its phenomenon-based learning. I remember reading Pasi Sahlberg’s book on the success of the Finnish Education system and being dismayed by at his concluding comments that they couldn’t stagnate and must start incorporating modern progressive ideas like project based learning. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Looks like there is good scope for some of the world’s current leading education systems to be dragged down by Western progressive ideas. And the misconceptions about PISA testing, the myth that countries that do well do so because of rote learning when the questions actually test scientific thinking (for example) not factual knowledge. Except for Estonia which seems to be gaming the PISA maths tests with admissions that maths teachers specifically get their students to practice PISA type problems.

  3. Mike C says:

    Where could I find studies or general works critical of Positive Psychology (and also Positive Discipline, which I’m reading about in the book Positive Discipline in the Classroom: Developing Mutual Respect, Cooperation, and Responsibility in Your Classroom)? Thanks.

    I saw David Didau share this relevant paper ( in this post:

  4. Mike says:

    It seems that Sahlberg is either unaware that the article has been withdrawn, or is pretending not to know, as he apparently made reference to the “winning the wrong race” meme at the ACEL conference.

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