What is Singapore Mathematics and its unique points?

Singapore Maths

Singapore Students’ Common Mathematics Mistakes

Singapore Mathematics has been highly ranked in internationally recognised studies and assessments, such as the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) and the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). However, that does not mean that all students in Singapore will find it easy to master mathematics. Today we interview Mr. Lau Chin Loong co-founder of Seriously Addictive Mathematics (SAM), to understand more about Singapore Maths, the common ideological mistakes that teachers make when teaching mathematics and how SAM has helped many students excel in maths.

What is Singapore Mathematics and its unique points?

Singapore Maths is internationally recognised and unique in its consistent and strong emphasis on problem solving, visualization, model drawing, with an in-depth focus on the understanding of mathematics concepts. It started when the MOE sought to develop Singapore students to be creative independent learners who are able to think creatively and apply their knowledge.

Singapore Maths

For instance, students are taught the concept of “grouping” instead of memorising multiplication tables. Also, students are encouraged to think creatively.  For instance, 19 minus 6 can be worked directly, or via 20-7. In Singapore Maths, the student’s answer is accepted if he is able arrive at the answer and provide a logical reasoning. Students are also required to ‘communicate’ their steps to arrive at the solution.

From what age can children be expected to learn maths?

Children are able to grasp the concept of counting from as young as three years old but their increased capacity to grasp mathematical concepts usually start from age four. SAM’s program is for children from age 4 to 12. We conduct a proprietary assessment test to determine each student’s ability in Maths, because children invariably differ in mathematical aptitude.  Our certified trainers take the extra effort to calibrate the pace of learning to each individual child’s comfort.  At the same time, we impart all the relevant thinking skills and learning attitude in them.

What are the common ideological mistakes when learning maths?

Nowadays, calculations (computational maths) can easily be done on our smartphones. The emphasis has now shifted to higher order thinking skills, which bodes very well for Singapore Maths.

It is now considered a mistake to emphasize merely memorizing formulas, and using drill and practice to hone calculation skills, without first understanding the root concepts. In contrast, Singapore Maths questions demand critical thinking, metacognitive and heuristics skills amongst others.   Students who merely memorise without truly understanding will not do well in Singapore Maths.

Another common ideological mistake in learning maths is to isolate mathematics from the real world, when in fact, it is an integral part of our daily lives.  Nowadays, it is more important to learn mathematics through stories and realistic examples that relate it to the real world.

What is The SAM Maths Acceleration Program and how does it help Singapore students to do well in mathematics?

Singapore MathsSAM is a leading mathematics program, modeled after Singapore Mathematics. Our approach is holistic, focusing on skills such as critical thinking, heuristics, logical reasoning and meta-cognitive understanding.

The SAM Maths Acceleration Program focuses on the Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract approach, where students immerse themselves in a prolonged engagement of a concept through games and exercises.  Students learn the ‘whats’ and ‘whys’ rather than just the ‘how tos’ in Maths.  We give equal emphasis on both the Classroom Experience and the Worksheet Experience to impart the most relevant and necessary skills for children to excel in Singapore Maths.

Can you explain more about the SAM program?

In the classroom, we have learning tools and props to let the students work on activities that help them visualize and understand mathematical concepts.  We also have over 30,000 pages of self-learning worksheets designed with a step-up approach and a narrative format for students to learn independently. Our certified trainers adopt a teaching pedagogy of learning by asking leading questions, rather than over teaching a student.

Modeled after the Singapore Maths curriculum, the SAM program helps students develop many relevant skills such as logical reasoning, communication, thinking skills, heuristics and bar modeling techniques.

Do you have any words of encouragement for students struggling to learn maths?

For many students, learning Singapore Maths is a daunting task when delivered in large chunks and when the underlying mathematical concepts are not properly explained.  Learn in small incremental steps helps, such as through daily and carefully calibrated practice delivered in ‘bite-sized’ chunks of homework.  Give your child bits of knowledge and understanding that they can build upon.  This helps hone their foundational understanding of key mathematical concepts.

For more information visit our Facebook Page