Singapore’s National Conversation – by SchoolAsia

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Students will discuss their values, concerns and vision for Singapore. They will conduct research based on one of their key concerns to better understand obstacles, possible solutions, and current public discourse.

Materials Needed

10 min: Introduction to the ‘National Conversation’

Note: Although this lesson plan is focused on Singapore’s current ‘National Conversation’, the teacher may wish to group non-Singaporean students together (according to their home country), to have the same discussion about their values and vision for their home country.

  • Students to read ‘Panel spearheading national conversation on Singapore’s future unveiled’ (Channel NewsAsia, 8 Sept 2012) and answer the following questions:
    – What does the ‘National Conversation’ aim to be?
    – Who are the participants in the ‘National Conversation’?
    – What are the different methods that will be used?
    – Do you think these methods are/ will be effective in engaging different groups of people?
    – Any other suggestions on how to further engage people, especially the silent majority?
    – Is this ‘National Conversation’ important for Singapore?

20 min: Pair Discussion

  • Discussion Questions:
    – What personal values are important to you?
    – What ‘national’ values (if any) are important for Singapore? (What are ‘national values’ anyway?)
    – What current/future challenges might Singapore grapple with?
    – What are your key concerns for the nation?
    – What sort of Singapore do you want in 20 years time? Describe its characteristics, culture and/or policies.

Optional: For Q1, students may wish to compare their choices with Singapore’s ‘Shared Values’ (adopted by Parliament in 1991) – Nation before community and society above self; Family as the basic unit of society; Community support and respect for the individual; Consensus, not conflict; Racial and religious harmony. (More information available at ‘Singapore shared values’, Infopedia)

20 min: Class discussion

  • Educator to facilitate discussion based on the previous list of questions.
  • Educator to list out all the key concerns highlighted by the class.

30+ min: Research based on 1 key concern

  • Students to get into groups of 4, and choose 1 of the key concerns for further research (based on the list consolidated during the class discussion). Educator may want to ensure the groups choose different topics. Their group research should cover the following areas in detail:
    a) Current overview
    – Why is this issue a problem? Explain.
    – How is it currently being addressed?
    – If it is not being addressed now by the government or NGOs, why not?
    – How do you think this issue can be solved?
    b) Evaluation of the state of public discourse
    – What are people saying about this issue? Where are they saying this? Include different perspectives.
    – How would you describe the current state of public discussion on this issue – is this helpful? Why/ why not?
    – Is having a ‘National Conversation’ one way to solve it? Why/ why not?
  • The groups can present their detailed findings through a presentation or skit.


Educator may wish to get students to write an opinion piece about their area of research and/or an evaluation of the ‘National Conversation’.