Educator-in-Residence Programme (EiRP)

EiRP facilitates active exchanges between the NUS academic community and distinguished educators from around the world

Visit by Professor Tony Harland, Educator-in-Residence 2018


This year’s Educator-in-Residence, Professor Tony Harland of the University of Otago, New Zealand, gave a thought-provoking talk at the EiRP-Ruth Wong Memorial Lecture on Education, held on 20 September 2018.

The lecture was the central event among the many sessions through which Professor Harland engaged with the NUS community during his 12-day residency at the Centre for Development of Teaching and Learning (CDTL).

Foregrounding the lecture title, “The Assessment Arms Race and its Fallout”, Professor Harland spoke about it as an analogy that refers to the nuclear arms race during the cold war, and connects competition in the animal kingdom with competitiveness in educational systems. Such competition is usually framed by multiple tests and other assessments. The questions he posed about assessment regimes and their impact on critical thinking stimulated deeper thinking about what learning at higher education is about:

  • With the number of assignments and assessments that our students have to complete, are we giving them a chance to perform at an optimal level and succeed?

  • What would we want our students’ learning experience to be at the university? Would we want it to be framed by assessments?

  • How often do our students read beyond the requirements of their programme?

These questions and Professor Harland’s argument to slow down learning resonate with the current educational landscape in Singapore. Education Minister, Mr Ong Ye Kung, has called for a reduction in examinations in the schools and a focus on cultivating a passion for learning (Chia, 2018). He emphasised that a reduction in assessment does not mean a reduction in rigour. Students should have time to think and explore: to enjoy education and their learning experiences, as these would form the cornerstone for the passion for lifelong learning.

Part 2: "Slow Scholarship"   Other EiRP Events
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