UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research in Education (CARE)

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Name of Author: 
Lim, Choo Li
Thesis (M.A.) National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University
Hilarian, Larry Francis; Chia, Wei Khuan
Year of completion: 
Country of Research Data: 

The purpose of this study was to describe, examine, and evaluate the current status of guzheng playing in Singapore schools at primary and secondary levels. Despite the growth in its popularity and a widespread of interest in the learning, there is limited information on its teaching and learning in Singapore. This study could serve as a guide to a systematic approach to the teaching and learning of guzheng subsequently. In order to have a macro view on its current status, three aspects of the programme, namely the factors influencing guzheng learning and development, the pedagogy, and the effects of learning and playing were investigated. At the micro level, the relationships between the school administrators, instructors, and students were examined to evaluate its effectiveness. The quantitative survey, comprising a set of questionnaires each for the teachers-in-charge, instructors, and students, was devised for distribution to the schools which implemented guzheng curriculum in 2001 or earlier. Data were collected between March and November 2002. Thirty-eight schools out of fifty-three responded to the survey, yielding a return rate of 71.7%. Descriptive statistics, crosstabulations, chi-square tests, two-independent-samples t tests, and one-way Analysis of Variance (univariate) tests were used to analyze the data. The study concluded that the current guzheng education in Singapore schools is envisaged to teach students the skills in guzheng playing, inculcate correct values and desirable social attitudes, and provide a healthy recreation. It is an alternative way for schools to introduce their students to Chinese arts and culture. The programme seems adequate, but lacks focus and direction. Considerable effort in improving the curriculum will, therefore, be necessary if guzheng education is expected to play its envisaged role. Such effort will include incorporating a greater variety of activities and repertoires into the curriculum to provide a substantial and vibrant guzheng education. National songs and local flavored tunes adapted from other ethnic groups should be channelled into the curriculum for developing guzheng ensemble playing as a local art. In addition, school administrators, who played an important role in executing the programme, should conduct regular recruitments of predetermined intakes, institute incentives and implement disciplinary measures for ensembles to have stable growth. Having an instrument at home and students’ interest in guzheng should be considered as criteria for the selection of new members. A gradual switch from the use of Mandarin to English should be considered in order to improve teaching and learning as English is the main medium of instruction at schools. School administrators should also make known to the instructors their objectives and resources allocation. Opportunities for instructors to upgrade their skills should also be provided. Finally, there is an urgent need to set up guidelines on common aims and objectives for guzheng education, as well as to outline ideas for the implementation of a comprehensive guzheng education.

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