SINGAPORE — Upper-primary students could soon learn lessons in empathy and morality at school through a video game.
Developed by the Ministry of Education (MOE), the game will be piloted in select schools next year alongside current lessons and resources, the MOE said in response to questions.
The game will ask students to respond to scenarios and tasks intended to simulate real-life social situations they might encounter at school.
These include situations such as helping a new classmate, dealing with conflict during group work, or other scenarios that can help students think about how to be empathetic and how to communicate. sensitively with others, the MOE said.
Using children’s responses, teachers can lead discussions to reinforce social and emotional skills learning, he added.
According to tender documents for a game hosting and data capture service seen by The Straits Times, it was developed for grades 4-6 students to use during character and citizenship lessons. and contains six scenes and 52 tasks for students to complete.
Character and Citizenship Education (CCE) is a subject taken by primary, secondary and junior high school students, intended to teach them moral values and help them understand contemporary issues such as bullying , online media, race and religion. Its program was renewed last year.
The documents say the system is expected to have a total of 1,800 users, 120 of whom will use it concurrently on a daily basis. Students are expected to experience different social situations in a virtual setting and make choices about how to respond, the documents say.
The game is also intended to help teachers understand how students are likely to react in different social situations, and to use the data collected and reports generated to facilitate follow-up discussions and plan targeted interventions.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education headquarters will monitor data in all schools and work with teachers on targeted follow-up activities, according to the documents.
Associate Professor Jason Tan of the National Institute of Education said the MOE’s adoption of a game for CCE could be to actively tap into the familiarity of such medium for children for educational purposes.
Professor Tan said the game’s use of simulations that lead to classroom discussions is in line with the MOE’s approach to teaching CCE, which is to encourage the development of empathy, care, respect and moral reasoning skills in students.
Professor Tan, who teaches a course on CCE at the NIE, said: “One of the things you try to do is get a child to wonder why a person did this or made that choice and the others possible options, as well as the possible effects of each choice on others – essentially to put oneself in other people’s shoes.”
However, such approaches in school must be combined with support from the home environment, as moral development is a lifelong process and parents are the primary educators of students, he added.
He said: “It’s one thing for students to be exposed to these simulations, but the biggest challenge is how to get students to apply them in a sustained, sustained and consistent way, not just in the classroom.”