SEAMEO INNOTECH, in cooperation with SEAMEO Member Countries, has initiated a research project entitled “Nurturing Critical and Creative Thinkers through Inquiry-Based Teaching and Learning (IBTL) in Early Childhood Care and Education” (or IBTL Project). It aims to document various case examples of inquiry-based teaching and learning aimed at developing critical and creative thinking among children, particularly for those aged 3 to 8 years, and which are adapted to the contextual realities in Southeast Asia.
This descriptive research pondered on the central question: How does inquiry-based teaching and learning nurture critical and creative thinking skills of children ages 3 to 8 years? The study carried out desk review, focus group discussions, key informant interviews, and classroom observations. Surveys were also administered to gather school data/profiles. The research instruments include interview guide questions, school and teacher profile survey forms, and classroom observation checklist. Key informants include key officials from national/subnational Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) institutions and Ministries of Education (MOEs) involved in the provision of ECCE, school heads, teachers, parents and students. In-country visits in Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam were conducted from January to March 2016.
A common set of criteria was used to select target schools — from pre-kindergarten to Grade 3 — for the study. The criteria for selecting a school were as follows: (a) must have adopted an IBTL approach, preferably in the last 3 to 5 years; (b) can either be a national public or private institutions (c) should not be an international institute, and (d) can be a small school (e.g., not more than 300 students) or a large one in terms of student population. International schools were excluded since they follow an international curriculum different from the host country. Thus, replication of teaching and learning approaches from international schools would be difficult because regular public and private schools follow the MOE-mandated curriculum.
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