CCA Centric System: The Secret To Success In Singaporean Education

To understand what the CCA Centric System is and what it means, we first have to understand what a CCA Centric System could bring about.

What Could A CCA Centric System bring about?

Mainstream schools in Singapore has been increasingly receiving criticisms about the teaching methods used in class these days. Most teachers tend to play it safe and use cookie-cutter solutions in class, but MOE has been laboring hard to break out of that mold to implement bold and creative strategies to make-up for some of these shortcomings in the system.

One school, however, decided to take the first step by totally changing the way classes are held in school. Boon Lay Secondary School boldly switched up the way classes are formed, a move no other school in Singapore has ever done before.

A CCA Centric System could bring about greater student engagement and higher participation rates.

Instead of forming classes based on academic results, classes are formed based on CCA groups, dubbed the CCA Centric form class system.

This new system, which naturally resulted in teachers being less authoritative and more consultative, emerged notable improvements in the students’ performance, such as:

  1. Increased attendance from 95% to 100%
  2. Students are more punctual
  3. Better overall academic results
  4. Serious cases of misconduct dropped from 9% to 2%

But is it really that easy? A small tweak in the system and we kill four birds with one stone? This might just be the local education scene’s latest most talked about WIN.

Boon Lay Secondary: A Living, Breathing Case Study

Both students and teachers alike agree that this new system creates a stronger teacher-student bond.

Teachers recognize students’ strengths and weaknesses, and students feel more comfortable opening up to their teachers as they see each other consistently throughout the 4 years of their education.

And all these can only happen with enough time invested.

For a CCA Centric system to take place, and for students to become more highly engaged, time is important.

Time is important

Time builds trust and respect between the students and the teachers, and spending time in CCA groups allows just that to happen.

More opportunities for interactions are created, and conversations are not just confined to the textbooks, but beyond. Sports, arts, and club activities tend to require students to be more collaborative, and sometimes even competitive. These activities thus become a good platform for team building and experiential learning.

Experiential learning is not new in this sector. Its applications have been numerous and impactful. However, these experiential learning endeavors have traditionally been used in an “enrichment” setting.

Applying this into CCA Centric groups as form classes is perhaps, the first time experiential learning is being applied into the school’s mainstream curriculum. And this could be the reason behind the tremendous impact that it is causing.

So what exactly is behind this success?

The secret to the CCA Centric system is in its STUDENT ENGAGEMENT.

The students are simply much more engaged in school!

It has been shown that a CCA Centric system relies on one thing as the most important – student engagement.

For one, the depth of communication goes up one notch when students are able to speak through their common interest of their CCA. They share the same language when communicating with each other, and form their own dictionary over the course of their 4-year journey.

Trust is built through that common ground and mutual understanding, and the students’ feel that their voices are heard and understood by teachers and peers alike on a deeper, more personal level.

Simply put, they are equipped with a common language to speak objectively with one another

So how can we increase our students’ engagement in our own ways?

Naturally, the question on every teacher’s mind is how they can improve, and increase students’ engagement in their work.

We’ve found, through numerous case studies, that the best way is for teachers to start with asking them these key questions:

  1. What does Student Engagement mean to you?

Is it being relevant? Spending more time? Better content in your lessons?

Engagement is about grabbing the attention of our audience. Content is one big factor. But the way it is being communicated is another.

Just think of that one teacher whom we remember for life because of that ONE THING he/she said or did to impact our learning, even if we don’t spend much time with them.

When we become a gust of influence on our students, we are keeping them engaged.

  1. What are the obstacles?

Is it too little time, there is already too much to do? It seems like there is just no common interest? Perhaps you find it difficult to identify what’s best for them? Or are you lacking resources?

One of the easiest way to deal with obstacles is to break them up into little bite-sized pieces.

You may not be able to solve them all at one time. And some things you think are blocking your way could be just a mental cage you put yourself in. Breaking them down makes them much less daunting and much more manageable as you tackle each one the best way you know how.

  1. What help do you need?

Perhaps a tweak in the system? A community of support? A set of tools that empowers you with the right vocabulary to communicate well?

Do not be afraid to reach out!

A wise person once said that the best way to overcome the fear of public speaking is to remember that everyone in the audience WANTS YOU TO DO WELL.

It is also true for when you reach out for help.

Communicate clearly what it is that you need, season with tact and grace. More often than not, the person helping you would want you to do well. On the other hand, if your request is rejected, move on! Nothing is lost, but at least you tried.

So what do think will help you make your students come alive and succeed in your role as a teacher? Be it a CCA Centric system or some sort of extra-curricular programme, or even any form of inspiration.

Just reach out! Talk to your peers, talk to your leaders, or even talk to us by leaving us a comment.

Over the past 5 years, we have been helping organizations (including schools) increase engagement between staff teams and foster camaraderie between students.

If you enjoyed the article, and you’re interested in more articles like these, be sure to download your FREE copy of Impacting Education – where we share even more tips about how you can engage your students in school.

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One Comment

  1. Tan Chor Pang

    Just came across your article by chance. You made several interesting points which are happening although not in these are not know well facts in the public domain eg engagement. These is more research bases on what we are doing and I’ll be happy to share them with you for a more complete and in-depth understanding of the entire concept of schooling which we offer to our students.

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