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Beyond Academic Grades: Reflections on My Care for University Students' Holistic Development in Singapore

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Cherise Shi Ling Teo

National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore



This reflective paper draws on my experience in caring for students as a lecturer in the English Language (EL) department of the National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. My care considerations are broadly categorized into the three areas of positioning of the teacher in relation to students, negotiation of needs, and pedagogical design for students’ well-being. Being a former primary school teacher, I see myself as both teacher and mentor when conducting teacher-training modules in NIE. As the positioning of self in relation to students (Barrow, 2015; Noddings, 1984) informs both my interactions with them and my lesson plans, I see this positioning as a starting point in care considerations for teaching. In negotiation of needs, I discuss open communication channels that allow the deepening of understanding of different needs and expectations (Baice et al., 2021; Gravett & Winstone, 2022). The third area of care focuses on “care-full” planning of curriculum structures that consider students’ needs and limitations (Anderson et al., 2020, p.11; Conceição & Howles, 2020). I also consider the state of Singapore’s highly competitive education landscape in order to highlight the specific needs of local university students, such as the need for teachers to create safe learning spaces that encourages cooperation rather than competition for holistic development (Noddings, 2012). Other than anecdotes from my EL classes in NIE, I refer to the qualitative student feedback that I received between 2019 and 2022 in my reflections on the impact of my caring methods.



Care ethics, pedagogy, higher education, holistic education, teacher training