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on individuation  theory and writing

by Kevin Martens Wong for Merlionsman on Tuesday, 13 September 2022

Most of us can intuitively understand how individuation theory supports and enhances coaching and solutions-focused work, but how does individuation theory underpin and enhance one's writing and expressive abilities? Originally prepared on 21 January 2022 by myself as the text "Supplementary Information about the Use of Individuation Theory in 8807 H1 General Paper Tutorials and Consultations with 19-A2, 19-A5, 19-I5, 21-I4, 21-O2 and 21-O4 (April 2020–Present): Teaching Statement and Review of Existing Research", this essay presents the original and pioneering connections I have uncovered in existing research that signal not just the functionality but the preeminence of individuation in supporting coherent, clear and successful writing across most, if not all genres and text types, and which have been used both implicitly and overtly in the H1 GP classroom and consultation space since April 2020.

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1. Introduction: Syllabus Aims of 8807 and 8881 H1 General Paper

The 8807 and 8881 H1 General Paper (GP) syllabi mandate the following outcomes in all free writing responses produced for the subject, namely the Paper 1 Essay and the Paper 2 Application Question: (references given are taken from the 8807 H1 General Paper syllabus)

  • critical awareness of continuity and change in the human experience (p. 2)

  • an informed personal response (p. 2) that expresses critical and creative thinking (p. 2)

  • a broad and mature understanding of a range of subject matter (p. 2)

  • maturity of thought (p. 2) and the formulation of cogent arguments (p. 2)


For the Paper 1 Essay in particular,

  • an informed, critical, creative and relevant response (p. 4)

  • the connection of knowledge across disciplines, contexts and environments (p. 4)

  • a sustained and well-thought out argument (p. 4)


For the Paper 2 Application Question in particular,

  • a synthesised personal response (p. 4) based on their own understanding and interpretation of the text (p. 4)

  • the use of inferential and evaluative skill (p. 4)

  • a comparative analysis should two passages be presented (p. 4)


The consistent inclusion of creativity, critical thinking, maturity of thought and individual expression as subject aims further underscore that it is not simply highly undesirable for GP to be taught as a rote memorisation subject, but that some level of so-called “softer” or more creative skills must be taught, and must be taught in an engaging, authentic and personal relevant way to ensure student uptake and long-term investment, as a means of ensuring students satisfy the aims of the syllabus above.


2. Review of research into successful General Paper teaching practices in Singapore


A meta-analysis of the research into the teaching of free writing in GP in the particular context of Singapore suggests that to increase student success outcomes, Singaporean students must:


  • be provided with a classroom with a strong ethos of self-expression (Cheah, 1985, p. 13; Choo, Chan & Alsagoff, 2015, pp. 20-29)

  • be provided with a classroom with a strong ethos of independent inquiry, both into themselves as humans and into the world around them (Cheah, 1985, p. 13; Choo, Chan & Alsagoff, 2015, pp. 20-29)

  • have maximal participation and autonomy in said classroom (Cheah, 1985, p. 13; Choo, Chan & Alsagoff, 2015, pp. 20-29)

  • be able to monitor themselves, introspect and conduct self-repair strategies (Cheah, 1985, p. 15)

  • be self-motivated and autonomously regulate that motivation (Cheah, 1985, p. 17)

  • be given the tools to work independently of the tutor on their own writing (Cheah, 1985, p. 17)

  • be given tools to bridge the gap between concrete and abstract experience (Lim, 1988, p. 8)

  • disabuse themselves of the idea that “argument means confrontation rather than persuasion by reasoning” (Hvitfeldt, 1994, p. 4)

  • separate from the collective while remaining part of it as an independent observer to construct an authentic and meaningful personal voice (De Costa, 2003)

  • set clear targets and have a clear idea of the necessary rubrics and skills required for them for the summative A-Level assessment (E. Teo & Sim, 2006)

  • make their own thinking, metacognition and expectations explicit for themselves (P. Teo, 2006; McConnell, 2006), especially so that they can choose the right question in Paper 1 based on their knowledge of their own cognitive and expressed strengths and weaknesses (Su, 2006), and “layer” their essays with self-reflection that demonstrates originality of thought, a pre-requisite for Band 1 for Content in Paper 1 (Lee, 2006, p. 215)

  • be able to deploy Socratic Questioning and self-reflexive criticality toward a cognitively detached observer stance to ensure a high quality of response and evaluation for the Application Question (Seng, 2006)

  • draw on their own background knowledge, experiences, interests, lifestyles and meaning to “[participate] in the meaning of the text…as an active participant and co-constructor of meaning” (P. Teo, 2006, p. 13; Lim, Lim & Poh, 2006)

  • be taught in a cyclic, interwoven fashion that incorporates technology, real-world experience and empathetic consideration of other people’s perspectives (Azilawati, Ho & Chee, 2007)

  • focus on the qualitative improvements needed to be made to their writing, rather than the grades earned (Yang & Cheong, 2007, p. 3)

  • be invited to focus on their own weaknesses and areas for improvement in a constructive manner (Yang & Cheong, 2007, p. 7)

  • have consistent and frequent access to specific, actionable and individualised feedback on writing tasks (Yang & Cheong, 2007, p. 13)

  • focus on writing as a process-driven rather than as an outcome-driven activity, which necessitates some level of metacognition (Yang & Cheong, 2007, p. 13)

  • incorporate real-world, complex, emotional, affective and socio-cultural perspectives and analysis into their classroom experience, essays and Application Question responses (P. Teo, 2006, pp. 25-27; Liaw & Ng, 2006; Ong, 2006; Liew & Loh, 2010)

  • be introduced to the relational, emotional, and ethical practices of intercultural communicative competence, values education, and emotional labor (Liew & Loh, 2010)

  • extend their conceptualisation of reality beyond the self to the Other (Choo, Chan & Alsagoff, 2015, p. 31)

  • use engagement, attitude and other affective resources to “to accomplish more mature and sophisticated argumentative voices” (Cheung & Low, 2017)

  • read critically and deeply, and apply metacognitive strategies and active reflection in the space of the examination (Chew et al., 2022, pp. 2-5)

  • recognise patterns, similarities and differences across texts, and synthesise viable evaluations and conclusions thereafter (Chew et al., 2022, p. 4)

  • understand how meaning is created and decoded (Nor Azah et al., n.d.)


As described by Singapore’s own National Institute of Education (NIE), “expert” General Paper teaching further requires


a complex interweaving of cognitive and affective competencies. … The pedagogical practices of English Language, Literature, and General Paper—such as selecting and analysing rich texts, and interacting with students to facilitate critical thinking and personal responses—frequently involve complex emotional work. English teachers’ emotional work may be quantitatively and qualitatively different from that experienced by teachers of other subjects. Such emotional experiences are compounded by the subject’s value-laden content [and] the need for culturally responsive pedagogies (Liew & Loh, 2010, p. 1).


The rigour of General Paper, as a pre-university subject that prepares students for engagement with adult perspectives, systems and frameworks, also necessitates that the GP tutor must therefore

not be presumptuous about how students learn. The teacher’s role should be as one that does not teach by the book or be in the position of dispensing knowledge. Instead, the teacher has to slip into the role of being a researcher, one who constantly engages with his/her students to seek new solutions to new problems that crop up in any aspect of classroom teaching. The bottom line is that the teacher has to be in constant dialogue with students about aspects of their learning in order to find out how best to teach them. One could call this a customised approach to teaching and learning, an approach that stresses teacher-student dialogue (Koh, 2004, p. 56).

3. Review of research into successful teaching of writing practices in worldwide

Worldwide, contemporary research into writing, in addition to the aforementioned issues particular to Singapore, further stresses that to achieve success outcomes in writing, students must:

  • have a strong, visualisable and contextually appropriate metacognitive awareness of self (H. Parisi, 1994, p. 33; Nilson, 2013; Fleur, Bredeweg & van den Bos, 2021), which P. Parisi (1979) calls “cognitive illumination” (pp. 64), which Hattie, Biggs and Purdie (1996) call “situated cognition”, and which Muhammad (2021) argues must be ‘remodelable’ either with guidance from the tutor or on the student’s own part

  • contend and challenge perspectives, opinions, ideas and values honestly and authentically (Whitney, 2017, p. 16), especially because it enhances inclusivity in the classroom (Lewis, 2021)

  • developmentally- and cognitively- appropriate feedback “relating to where the students are in the instructional cycle, moving from focusing on the task, the strategies underlying the task, and the self-regulation of the processes” (Wisniewski, Zierer & Hattie, 2020), again implying the need for metacognitive self-reflexivity and monitoring (Hattie & Timperley, 2007; Wisniewski, Zierer & Hattie, 2020; Chung, Chen & Olsen, 2021; Peng et al., 2021)

  • have some motivation to replicate what they learn in the classroom and in an instructional context in their own personal experiences and contexts of the world (Duke, Purcell-Gates, Hall & Tower, 2011) such that writing does not resemble “merely school-work” (Jones, 2015)

  • learn how to transfer skills, ideas, concepts and schemas between different domains easily, which is also a critical 21st-century skill beyond writing (Kreamer & Heny, 2019, p. 36)

  • write authentically, which allows students to ”produce work that is meaningful to them and can then transfer their writing skills to other contexts” (Kreamer & Heny, 2019, p. 46)

  • be able to ensure appropriate episodic retrieval in the construction of responses demanding a personal investment or angle (van Genugten, Beaty, Madore & Schacter, 2021)

  • find consistent relevance in the content and applications to their own lives in the real world, particularly if the context they are learning how to write in (such as Singapore’s) is teacher-centered and still heavily biased toward inauthentic summative assessment (Suriano, 2019, p. 6)

  • develop their own “research voice” and use language “as a tool for expressing humanity in qualitative data” toward preparation for tertiary-level writing (Mitchell & Clark, 2021)

  • be able to visualise abstract ideas and conceptions, including of themselves, as a means of complex argument generation (Barzilai et al., 2021)

  • comment on, critique and refine peer work and collaboratively-produced work in a constructive and empathetic fashion, which is particularly important in the new blended learning and/or post-pandemic context (López-Pellisa, 2021)

  • think critically as a means of ensuring creativity is generated and sustained (Cropley, 1995; Clifton, 2022).

  • take on other hypothetical and real-world perspectives, both for the purposes of rebuttal and counter-rebuttal, to synthesise or integrate ideas for oneself (Lachner, Jacob & Hoogerheide, 2021)

  • be exposed to what Sng (2006) calls ‘megacreativity’ and Piller (2016) calls ’transversal creativity’: to engage in “innovative and creative ways of thinking based on the principle of ‘WHY NOT’” (Sng, 2006, p. 69) and not regard their writing and the writing a student reads as “a structure to whose expectations [the student] must conform and whose features they must accurately replicate in their writing, but rather as a rich body of material, aspects of which should serve as resources to them in their traversing and inventing—intellectual work that can be gratifying, liberatory, and potentially subversive” (Piller, 2016, pp. 4-5).


A specific focus of a number of researchers is a critical shift in cognitive self-perception and monitoring when it comes to adolescent writing to achieve success outcomes. In particular, P. Parisi (1979) argues that so long as


young writers are intimately associated with their work, their egocentrism will blunt the impact of the audience's actual response. On occasion, I have seen a student writer insist to virtually a whole class that it has read him wrong. It is precisely in such public situations that the writer cries, "But that's not what I meant," or, "But that's the way it was"-again looking "through" the text to his or her own intentions, refusing to see the order of words as an independent locus of interpretation (p. 63).


P. Teo (2006) echoes this in his argument for how to induct Singaporean students into GP seamlessly, noting that


One common complaint among teachers who work with beginning GP students is the students’ lack of maturity, which is partly manifest in their inability to discuss issues in an objective, balanced and holistic manner, taking into account multiple and multifaceted perspectives. Their typically egocentric worldview, which makes them see things from their perspective and theirs alone, makes it difficult for them to even recognise, let alone appreciate the significance and value of, other points of view. … Such an egocentric “framing” of the world, with the “I” as the axis around which the world revolves, is common and even inevitable, especially during one’s formative years, as it helps people their own identities. What is dangerous, however, is that such a tendency to generalise, compartmentalise and distance the experiences and perspectives of others in relation to our own can lead to what some psychologists have termed “cognitive bias”, which predisposes our evaluation of people according to certain frames of reference. Once established, this cognitive bias is difficult to change in later adult life (p. 23).


Nilson (2013) goes a step further and argues that teachers in the twenty-first century are obligated to teach students higher-order metacognition and self-monitoring, to the extent that


we owe our students lessons and practice in how to learn at a fairly high level; letting them slip through college without solid learning skills and, subsequently, with only fleetingly superficial knowledge is professionally irresponsible, if not unethical [emphasis author’s own] (p. 1).


Per Nilson (2013), executive/higher-order cognitive decision-making, self-regulation, metacognition and monitoring are something that experienced professionals use to maintain their edge over others in the workplace and the global economy; it would be not simply short-sighted but deeply unfair to students that maximum emphasis on this not be ensured in the day-to-day routines of the classroom toward developing students to take up similar roles in the global village in future:


The literature on self-regulated learning tells us that deep, lasting, independent learning requires a range of activities—cognitive, affective, and even physical—that go far beyond reading and listening. It entails, first, setting learning goals for a class period, assignment, or study session. Then the learner must plan how to go about the task effectively—perhaps actively listening, taking notes, outlining, visually representing the material, occasionally self-quizzing, reviewing, or writing a summary. While executing the plan, she must direct and control her focus and behavior to stay on task, but allowing herself appropriate short breaks for revitalizing her brain. At the same time, she must observe and monitor her mind and actions to ensure that they aren’t succumbing to distraction, fatigue, discouragement, or detrimental self-talk (“I’m just no good at _____”). She has to maintain and reinforce her motivation to learn this material, perhaps by considering its relevance to her experiences or her future. If her mind wanders from the task, she has to bring herself back to it (p. 3).

Instructional materials for writing should finally be user-centered, and aim to break down the processes of not just writing but creativity, affect, metacognition and other related schema, into “usable instructional packets” that students can easily deploy on their own; as Trott (2019) asserts, teachers must


consider how students will use the packet outside of the classroom to encourage self-efficacy and empower students to own the learning. If students are comfortable with the usability of the packet, then she or he will refer to it when working on their own. And, if students are working on their own with the packet, then she or he are truly engaged with the learning. Thus, these students are not passive recipients but active participants (p. 103).


4. Selected methodology: Individuation theory


A hybrid tutorial-and-consultation methodology to buttress existing lecture and cohort resources and engage a sizeable number of students while still satisfying many, if not all of the research outcomes highlighted above per Graham (2021)’s principles for creating a vision for classroom teaching was thus desired; the recognition of the plurality of student experience, background and cognition, as Hamilton (2019) describes, was especially preeminent in the selection of a suitable method:


Students enter my college writing classrooms differently; they want and need different things. Some see my course as purely practical; a course that will help them improve upon their writing skills so they can later produce documents such as resumes and cover letters, or intelligently communicate with professors, coworkers or bosses through email or memos. Others see the course as a hurdle; just another in a long string of liberal arts requirements that are eating up their time and money, and have very little to do with the practical skills they hope to learn in their major courses. Still others are primed for this liberal arts experience; the course is an opportunity to think challenging ideas and have challenging discussions and write challenging essays, all in the name of some push toward a better society. Others don’t see the course at all, lost as it is in the buzzing, blooming confusion of this startling new world they’ve entered into and of which they are struggling desperately to make sense. I value all these students, and I must do a good job at teaching them all something about writing (p. 48).


A revised and greatly extended version of cognitive function theory hereafter referred to as individuation theory based on the work of Jung (1921), Beebe (2017), Nardi (2021) and others, together with the tutor’s own research and qualitative data from life coaching in the college, was ultimately selected as the most robust of all possible methods that could satisfy the greatest number of outcomes highlighted above, especially when


  • ample neurological research indicates that the act of writing in itself can be essentially considered applied metacognition (Raphael, Englert & Kirschner, 1989; Wong, 1999; Hacker, Keener & Kircher, 2009; Harris, Santangelo & Graham, 2010; Corrigan & Slomp, 2021; Teng, 2021), and so it makes very little sense to have classroom strategies to manage writing, metacognition, individuation and mental health as separate, distinct domains when they are actually “a complex interweaving of cognitive and affective competencies” (Liew & Loh, 2010, p. 1), as previously mentioned; a further strong indication of this is how writing in itself already serves as a very effective therapeutic tool and has demonstrated positive effects on mental health and psychological well-being (Dawson et al., 2021; Deveney, 2021; Deveney & Lawson, 2021; Ruini & Mortara, 2021)

  • psycho-analytic frameworks are not only already very robust in delivering success outcomes in writing, both in the classroom and professionally (Gilbert & Macleroy, 2020; Deveney, 2021), but there is empirical evidence that therapy founded on Jungian principles in particular has positive effects on students’ writing abilities (Allan & Bertoia, 1992) and in higher education in general (Montgomery, Strunk, Steele & Bridges, 2012; Hanifl, 2017)

  • proper, individual-adjusted use of the theory seems to mandate a responsive, co-constructive teacher-student dialogue and the nurturance of socio-emotional learning goals in line with MOE outcomes, rather than the use of the impersonal, excessively-reductive Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) test since

    • no test, no matter how empirical, can test for an individual’s intent in taking the test (intent itself being one of the major components of cognitive function theory)

    • different individuals of the same psychological type can have vastly different external manifestations in reality, rather than the very narrow range of manifestations predicted by the MBTI (Bradway, 1964; Barbuto Jr., 1997, pp. 621-622). Within individuation theory, a psychological type is therefore considered analogous to the empirical possibilities offered by an understanding of one’s own blood type or genome, rather than a restrictive or pseudo-precognitive system that claims to know an individual’s future in much the same way knowing one’s genetic predisposition to a particular disease does not mean one will and/or must have the disease

  • proper, individual-adjusted use of the theory encourages very strong positive mental health outcomes and well-being outcomes (Jacobson, 1997) and socialization outcomes (Fraser & Tucker, 1997), including integration of traumatic content (Magee, 2020) and mitigation of interpersonal and family conflict, both of which have long been recognised, if not empirically shown, to have moderate to severe effects on student work and output both in Singapore (Liu et al., 2016) and globally (Dyson, 1990; Kataoka et al., 2011; Bachrach & Read, 2012; Boyraz, Granda, Baker, Tidwell & Waits, 2016)

  • proper, individual-adjusted use of the theory encourages an empirical, rigorous approach to student well-being and development on the part of the tutor-practitioner (Fidyk, Mayes & Grandstaff, 2019), and encourages the holistic, well-rounded development of the tutor-practitioner themselves as an ever-growing, self-reflexive, metacognitively aware, fundamentally imperfect human being; as Jung (1939) observes,


If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves (p. 239).


This in turn encourages students to see the tutor in a more holistic and well-rounded fashion, and to use the tutor as a model in a more realistic and grounded manner that takes into consideration the tutor as a more whole, complete person and encourages students to view themselves in the same way. Studies again show very strong positive outcomes for students when tutors exemplify the process of individuation through such an approach, and students and tutors are able to develop positive, genuine and caring relationships that maintain each party’s independence and reduce any possibility of co-dependence or unhealthy fixation, and nurture a common respect for personhood and stages of ego development and formation (Birch & Ladd, 1997; Battitsch, Schaps & Wilson, 2004; Goodboy, Bolkan & Baker, 2018; Fryer, 2018; Hill & Jones, 2018; Hogan, 2019)

  • the theory is systematic and allows for a systematic engagement of otherwise rather nebulous and difficult-to-understand concepts, such as creativity, personal voice, tone and author’s intent, that still need to be taught (Krippner, 1983)

  • the theory allows for the development and preservation of the classroom itself as a safe and even therapeutic space (Di Rezze, 2020)

  • analytical psychology and other therapeutic interventions with Jungian roots have already been deployed both theoretically and in applied fashion in varied educational settings (Henderson, 1956; Shaker, 1982; Mayes, 2005; Dobson, 2008; McCabe, 2011; Strickling, 2011; Romanyshyn, 2013, Coltrin, 2020; Shumate, 2021); the Hero’s Journey and other individuation-related psychoanalytic tools have also already been similarly used to great success (Brown & Moffett, 1999; Countryman & Rose, 2017; Kingsley et al., 2019). Cancienne (2019), Caserta (2021) and O’Connor (2022), in particular, highlight the use of the Hero’s Journey in a very similar metacognitive/reflexive fashion in American classrooms that is also seamless and does not require students to toggle between the theory and the actual subject (i.e. “learn another subject on top of the subject they are already learning”)


Epistemological and psychoemotional definitions of individuation have both been presented in the literature. Epistemologically, individuation is defined by Lowe (2005) in The Oxford Handbook of Metaphysics as follows:


In the epistemic sense, individuation is a cognitive activity—something that we, or intelligent beings in general, can do. For someone to individuate an object, in this sense, is for that person to ‘single out’ that object as a distinct object of perception, thought, or linguistic reference. Different people clearly have different powers of individuation in this sense. One can only ‘single out’ objects which are there to be singled out, that is, parts of reality which constitute single objects. Individuation in the metaphysical sense is an ontological relationship between entities: what ‘individuates’ an object, in this sense, is whatever it is that makes it the single object that it is—whatever it is that makes it one object, distinct from others, and the very object that it is as opposed to any other thing.


As it therefore relates to a living, breathing human ‘object’, or person, individuation can be understood more specifically via Jung (1921), where individuation is


The process of forming and specializing the individual nature; in particular, it is the development of the psychological individual as a differentiated being from the general collective psychology. Individuation, therefore, is a process of differentiation, having for its goal the development of the individual personality. … It is practically the same as the development of consciousness out of the original state of identity (pp. 561-563).


Individuation theory further serves an effective meta-framework for a number of previously only tangentially connected ideas, structures and schemas that have strong real-world and inter-disciplinary relevance and utility across occupations and domains, including:

  • racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia and other forms of discrimination, othering and prejudice; within individuation theory, described as projection (Murstein & Pryer, 1959)

  • a number of features of the contemporary Singaporean psyche and zeitgeist, including a fixation on image and face (Ang, Tan & Ng, 2000; Hwang, Francesco & Kessler, 2003; Netzley & Rath, 2012), perfection (Ng, 2012; Yeo & Pfeiffer, 2016; Hardy, Obaidul Hamid & Reyes, 2020) and filial piety (Thomas, 1990; Y.Y. Teo, 2010); within individuation theory, described through the extraverted feeling and introverted thinking ego functions

  • safe spaces for critical and/or therapeutic discourse, both internal and external to the individual, in-the-moment examination pressure and stress and the negative effects of Singapore’s high-stakes examinations culture (Wong, Kwek & Tan, 2020); within individuation theory, described as the temenos (Di Rezze, 2020)

  • various theoretical frameworks developed on the key principles of the Zone of Proximal Development (Vygotsky, 1978) and challenging task sequencing, such as the Interest-Directed Ability Customised Learning Model (IDAC) piloted by Jurong Junior College (JJC) (Lim, Lim & Poh, 2006); within individuation theory, described as the transcendent function or the unity of opposites (Wang, 2019)

  • other frameworks for the understanding of the ego and self, such as the Johari Window (Luft & Ingham, 1955), overcoming pathological shame (Brown, 2006), the Radical Candour quadrant (Scott, 2017), Socionics, the DISC model, the Enneagram, StrengthsFinder (Rath, 2007), the Essentialism dichotomy (McKeown, 2014) the Elevated Communicator model (O’Brien, 2021), and various critical thinking frameworks such as Paul’s Wheel of Reasoning (How, 2006); within individuation theory, each of the metrics or components of such frameworks can also be matched to cognitive functions, which serve as larger containers of meaning

  • stream-of-consciousness writing, intuitive writing (Piirto, 2014) and/or what Singaporean students call “smoking” or bullshitting; within individuation theory, described as an interplay of the introverted intuition and extraverted sensing ego functions

  • limerence/infatuation, attraction, the gender identity spectrum (Health Promotion Board, Singapore, 2018) and sexual orientation spectrum (Health Promotion Board, Singapore, 2018); within individuation theory, described as the individual’s own relationship with their anima and daimon functions

  • the associative-executive or dual pathway approach in creativity (Taylor & Barbot, 2021); within individuation theory, described as the Self/Superself functions

  • capitalistic greed (Sievers, 2012; Levine, 2013) and so-called Wendigo behaviour (Kimmerer, 2013); within individuation theory, described as misuse of the Spirit/Superspirit or Space functions

  • futures thinking (Sohail, 1997), sustainability thinking and seven generations thinking (Da Costa, Farias, Wasieleski & Annett, 2021); within individuation theory, described as the Source/Supersource or Time functions

  • Black Swan events (Taleb, 2007; Ho, 2008) and Wicked Problems (Ho, 2008); within individuation theory, described as the Sublime/Supersublime or Probability functions

  • the problem of evil and the problem of suffering (e.g. Schlesinger, 1964); within individuation theory, described as the Sublime/Supersublime or Probability functions

  • Resilience and grit in conjunction with mental health and school achievement (Polirstok, 2017; Tang, Upadyaya & Salmela-Aro, 2021); within individuation theory, described as the Salve/Supersalve or Willpower functions


Classroom, tutorial and consultation discourse is always mediated and governed by the following boundaries:

  • For any discussions involving race, religion and sexuality, including evangelical Christianity, radical Islam, and any lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) issues: The Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act (1990), including the revised provisions for protection of LGBTQ individuals in Singapore as of 1 March 2021 (Shanmugam, 2021; Elangovan, 2019), and the Health Promotion Board FAQ on Sexuality (2018).

  • For any discussions involving grievous physical or psychological harm to any student, including self-harm: all relevant college-internal provisions and guidelines, and the Ministry of Social and Family Development’s Sector Specific Screening Guide (SSSG) and Child Abuse Reporting Guide (CARG)

5. Conclusion


A review of the aims of the H1 General Paper syllabus and the relevant empirically-determined methodologies and priorities required to ensure students succeed in General Paper and more generally at writing presented above should more than show that individuation theory dovetails almost exactly and precisely in theory with all of these student needs, while also simultaneously fulfilling a large number of Character & Citizenship Education outcomes, Values-based Education outcomes, Socio-Emotional Learning outcomes, 21st Century Competency outcomes, and institution-specific aims such as at Eunoia Junior College, where this theory was first deployed in the classroom from 2020 to 2022, including Ethos priorities, Mission components and Student Outcomes statements. As P. Teo (2006) powerfully asserts,

One key role that a GP teacher can perform is to help students to see things from different perspectives to destabilise their pre-existing (mis-)conceptions, perceptions and indeed prejudices, in a bid to move them towards a more balanced, objective and nuanced evaluation of people and issues – which makes them write better essays and become better people (p. 23).

Most importantly, therefore, the inclusion of individuation theory in GP tutorials and consultations fully prioritises the development of the student as a capable, committed, intelligent and autonomous individual who is only limited by their own awareness of their potential, strength, resilience and belief in themselves, and is wholly true to the EJC motto of Beautiful Thinking and Goodwill to All where this theory was first developed and applied, whether applied outwardly to others, or inwardly to the student themselves.

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