Colonial Singapore

The teacher, Melvin, started off by utilising the syllabus content; he instructed students to post on KF any questions they had regarding chapters 3 (Why did people come to colonial Singapore before WWII?) and 4 (How was life different for the various people in colonial Singapore before WWII?) of the history textbook (Fig. 1). 

 Fig. 1. Students' questions regarding the syllabus posted on KF.

Fig. 1. Students' questions regarding the syllabus posted on KF.

From the resulting list of questions that arose, he selected one student's question 'Why weren’t the people in Singapore being caught when they smoke opium in the 19th to early 20th century?' to be the overarching inquiry question of discussion in consequent lessons (Fig. 2). This was because he felt that the question relates to relevant content covered in the syllabus, such as crime, British administration, culture, and more. The question was posted on the same KF view 'Sec 1A History' (Fig. 3).

 Fig. 2. The over-arching inquiry question.

Fig. 2. The over-arching inquiry question.

Students were first tasked with working in groups to break down this broad inquiry question into sub-questions. Following this, they were instructed to answer the other groups' questions. Subsequently, Melvin split the students into different groups and got them to answer the overarching inquiry question. 

 Fig. 3. KF view 'Sec 1A History'.

Fig. 3. KF view 'Sec 1A History'.

In this manner, Melvin used students' own questions and ideas to prompt their curiosity in the topic and sustain their engagement in learning.