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English Department


Nurturing independent thinkers, effective communicators.

Unpacking the Vision

After six years of primary education at CHIJ Primary (Toa Payoh), the school believes that the IJ girl will possess the following qualities and skills:

  • The IJ Girl is an effective reader, writer and speaker of the language.
  • An IJ Girl speaks English confidently and eloquently, expressing her thoughts and views with clarity and precision.
  • The IJ Girl is a critical thinker who is able to comprehend with ease and accuracy what she reads.

a) Forward-looking Curriculum

– Customised Content

STELLAR Programme

  • The STELLAR (Strategies for English Language Learning and Reading) Programme was  developed by the Ministry of Education (MOE) in 2006 to cater to the diverse range of English language learners in Singapore. This programme has been implemented in our English Language curriculum from Primary One to Primary Five and partially in Primary 6. In 2015, all our students will be exposed to this programme
  • The vision of STELLAR is to develop in children a love for reading and a strong foundation in the English Language and it aims to strengthen children’s learning of the English Language by using engaging and age-appropriate strategies and instructional materials.
  • Under the STELLAR programme, special emphasis is placed on developing the children’s oral communication skills and this is congruent with the vision of the English Language Department at CHIJ Primary.

The Reading Programme @ CHIJ

  • This is implemented from P1 to P6 since research findings have shown that analytical thinking is boosted by reading. Apart from improving one’s general knowledge, reading increases one’s Vocabulary and Spelling and it also enhances critical thinking. Increased Vocabulary is especially crucial for writers and in order to write well, you will need to read.
  • CHIJ Primary strongly believes that our students should be given the opportunity to read frequently and most importantly, they should be exposed to a buffet of reading materials and genres. To develop their love for reading and to instil in them a thirst for knowledge, our students will be introduced to various reading materials.
  • P1 and P2 pupils are exposed to ‘Story Worlds’ which are specially-selected age-appropriate readers which are interesting and informative.
  • Pupils from P3 to P6 are exposed to the ‘Little Red Dot’ which is the ‘The Straits Times’ educational supplement forprimary school students. It focuses on English language learning, and contains articles on news and current events intertwined with elements of social emotional learning, as well as Values Education and National Education which are all key learning areas in the classroom experience of 8- to 12-year-olds. It contains at least one thought-provoking learning activity to develop pupils’ critical-thinking skills and caters to all levels and learning styles.

Reading Support Programme

  • Trained and experienced teachers support our Primary 1 and 2 pupils who are not reading at their age-appropriate levels in a Reading Support Programme which is held three to five times a week, respectively for half an hour per session. The Primary One students receive intensive training on phonics while the Primary 2 students go through a customised, one to one reading programme.
  • Structured monitoring of the pupils’ reading ages by means of running records is one of the measurable outcomes of this programme.

DEAR (Drop Everything and Read) Programme

  • The DEAR programme which is monitored by the English Language Department and the Mother Tongue Department takes place daily at the parade square (in the hall, if it rains) from the time the pupil arrives in school up to 7.20 a.m. On Mondays to Wednesdays, students read English books and on Thursdays and Fridays, they read Mother Tongue books.

Oral Interaction Time

  • Precious time taken for the EL teacher to interact with her students on a given topic or on any topic that is of interest to the students.  This is done 3 times a week, 10 minutes per session at the start of every EL lesson. It is done to encourage our students to speak up and to engage them on an informal level.

– Pupil-centric Pedagogy

Cooperative Learning @ CHIJ

  • Jigsaw! Popping Popcorn! Numbered Heads Together! Fan and Pick! These are some terms that you might hear being used very frequently at IJ by both our teachers and our students. They are Cooperative Learning structures which form the basis of the instructional procedure at CHIJ.
  • Cooperation is a structure of integration designed to facilitate the accomplishment of a specific end product or goal through people working together in groups. It is the deliberate structuring of learning situations by the teachers so that pupils work together to maximise their own and each other’s learning. In the cooperative learning model, the teacher maintains complete control of the class, even though the students work in groups to accomplish a goal.
  • Cooperative Learning creates a risk-free environment for students and it enables pupils to take part in higher-order thinking. It also facilitates success in almost any task and therefore makes learning enjoyable. In addition, it addresses multiple intelligences of pupils and provides pupils with opportunities to deploy and develop interpersonal intelligence. It also promotes ethnic relations, enables pupils to acquire social skills and develops pupils’ self-esteem. It prepares pupils for the work place of the future and develops leadership skills in students as every student is provided with an opportunity to be a leader in a team.

Differentiated Instruction

  • Differentiated Instruction at CHIJ hopes to address the multiple challenges teachers face in mixed-ability classes in every level, particularly in Primary One and Two; with pupils coming from different cultures and learning styles, different levels of social and emotional maturity, differing interests and levels of academic readiness in various subjects and even in various facets of a single subject.
  • Differentiated Instruction aims to have teachers shift from a ‘single-size instruction’ to one that can better meet our pupils’ needs. Pupils are placed in flexible groupings which accommodates student academic readiness where pupils experience different working groups and arrangements.
  • Differentiated Instruction sees the teachers proactively planning to address a range of learner needs. The instructional approach is pupil-centred and teachers ensure that the lesson deals with what the pupils learn, how the pupils learn and how they demonstrate their learning. Thus the instruction is typically a blend of whole-class, group and individual instruction. The whole class instruction using cooperative learning strategies is also a fundamental feature unique to CHIJ Primary as it is a school-wide pedagogy of the school. Assignments are adjusted not by quantity but by the nature of the assignment to match the pupils’ needs.
  • The teacher in the DI classroom helps her pupils become independent and to accept greater responsibility for their learning. This is achieved though the clear class systems and Learning Corners which the teacher puts in place from the very first day. Having pupils know how to continue their learning and remain engaged in class allows the teachers to become facilitators of learning and have uninterrupted time for focused teaching with the pupils that require additional guidance.


  • The school is adapting and adopting an Australian-designed curriculum package called Inter@ct. Inter@ct is designed as a conceptual approach curriculum. This curriculum is based on various concepts of the world we live in. The school is now exploring the following concepts of Identity, Community and Sustainability at different levels. Through this curriculum, our students will be carrying out various authentic tasks and assignments that would help her contextualise her learning of various skills and concepts in all the academic subjects.
  • For English, our students will be using this curriculum to help gain a better understanding of different comprehension, communicative & thinking skills. For e.g our students would be taught how to differentiate between facts and opinions or know the differences between literal, inferential and evaluative comprehension questions. Various graphic organisers, that allow pupils to use thinking skills explicitly, will guide them in preparing for the oral and writing examination components. The concept that each level is focusing on will be tied in with various Stellar books that our students are exposed to within the year.

– Holistic Assessment

  • Holistic Assessment is an initiative of the Primary Education Review and Implementation. It was introduced by the Ministry of Education to ensure balanced use of summative and formative assessment to provide information on mastery and attainment as well as information to improve teaching and learning. It is not about removing examinations but about using a range of assessment methods and modes for different purposes.
  • At CHIJ, we have incorporated HA from P1 to P5. Show and Tell, Reading Aloud, Listening Comprehension, Picture-matching and Note-taking are but some of the areas our students are assessed on. Teachers use rubrics, checklists coupled with qualitative comments to provide students with richer and more holistic feedback and a Learning Progress Report is prepared termly and given to parents. At P1, this is accompanied by a portfolio of each student’s formative and summative assessments.

b) Vibrant Learning Environment

– Stimulating School Environment

  • When you do get a chance to see the classrooms, you will notice that teachers have taken time to create a stimulating and vibrant classroom atmosphere with the exhibition of students’ Art Pieces, compositions and charts providing tips on improving one’s language.
  • The classroom of today is no longer what it used to be with teacher at the front and thirty to forty students listening attentively. Instead, you will often see students huddled together in teams discussing how to write a better introduction to a composition or editing their peer’s written work or even presenting up front.  Some would be engaged in peer conferencing, some would be  walking around to get more ideas to talk about while some would be popping up to provide answers to questions or suggestions to scenarios posed by the teacher.
  • Have you noticed the bright yellow posters put up around the school? These posters highlight sentences with the common errors made by our students and Singaporeans alike, together with the correct way it is to be expressed. Focus on the correct version and support us in our quest to produce IJ girls who communicate effectively.
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