Shyamli is an academician, a peer coach and a researcher with the Republic Polytechnic, Singapore. She is passionate about strengthening the teaching and learning community through research, and development. Her research interests are in measuring student motivation and finding ways to improve it further through curriculum and co-curricular interventions. Her work includes exploring the impact of interventions such as values education, financial assistance, big PBL problems, 70-20-10 instructional approach on students’ perceptions and/ motivation.
Republic Polytechnic, SingaporePosition –
Principal LecturerTitle –
The fast changing, information driven economy demands the ability to synthesise diverse sources of knowledge to solve multifaceted real-world problems. Therefore, researchers have highlighted the need to inculcate creative and critical thinking skills and dispositions (CCTD) through intentional, and scalable educational efforts. To facilitate honing of CCTD in final year students about to enter the workforce, it is vital to equip lecturers in institutes of higher learning (IHLs) with necessary competencies and resources. The study distilled the theoretical understanding of CCTD to develop a framework (RAINBOW) of guiding questions to build CCTD. A qualitative research design was employed to understand the experiences of lecturers and students in final year projects (FYP) and seek feedback on proposed framework and interventions. Focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted with lecturers and final year students from multiple disciplines including Engineering, Infocomm Technology, Health, Hospitality, and Management. Findings revealed challenges faced in FYP, the skills and dispositions required to do well, indicating a clear need for suggested interventions. Key FYP challenges articulated by students included not knowing where to start or what questions to ask, finding the appropriate resources, and adapting to unexpected problems. Salient FYP challenges faced by lecturers included meeting project expectations, guiding students on how to get started and go through the process leading to the final presentation. Both students and lecturers indicated thinking critically, communicating well, and developing creative solutions as top 3 skills required to do well in FYP, while resilience, ownership, and openness were listed as the top three dispositions. They reiterated the need for guidance and resources to help them prepare better for FYP. These needs were mapped with CCT processes to refine RAINBOW framework of guiding questions to help them recognise real issues, ask the right questions, interlink the information, envision the solutions, balance the implications, observe the changes, and widen the possibilities, through project work. Interventions recommended include RAINBOW based e-course and Communities of Practice (CoP) for staff, complemented with parallel e-course and sharing of past projects for students. The paper also covers limitations and implications for future research.