Even humanities students need mathematics exclusively. Singapore was so concerned about choosing an effective method of teaching the subject that it ended up developing its own unique system — salutatorian. Despite the fact that methodological materials on Singapore mathematics have been translated into dozens of languages, including Russian, a few countries have agreed to become adherents. Among them are Israel and Japan.
HOW IT ALL BEGAN
In the mid-1990s, Singapore Math Incorporated was formed. The firm was based in Portland, developing and publishing mathematics textbooks based on a whole new way of presenting basic data for elementary school children. The company still produces materials in mathematics as well as logic and computer science.
Since 1995, Singapore’s junior high school students have made themselves known to the world. Then and now little Singaporeans win almost all international math, logic and computer science competitions. It’s something to think about, isn’t it? Maybe it’s a non-standard approach to learning the subject? What does it consist of and how does it work? Read more about that.
SINGAPOREAN MATHEMATICS: USING THE PROGRESSIVE DIFFICULTY METHOD
The goal of the program is to teach children to think and understand including cognates definition. The essence of the method boils down to the conditional division of the material into parts – steps. Children move from one stage to the next without being overwhelmed by the volume of information.
At each stage, the task of teachers is to penetrate deeply into the essence of the material. Children learn from their own experience, master the principles of mathematics, and only then move step by step to the basics: formulas, graphs, etc.
Step-by-step learning is not a new method. The system is the brainchild of an American, a specialist in cognitive psychology, who has devoted himself to the study of human cognition of the world with the identification of patterns of process, including mathematics.
Each new rule or pattern is mastered by Singaporean students through 3 stages of perception:
The concrete perception stage is based on practical experience. Children are introduced to the physical properties of objects and shown the consequences of mathematical actions. That is, they are offered to count not in the mind, but visually moving, touching, folding objects.
The pictorial stage allows them to move on to the depiction of objects on paper. All that children have already mastered by touching and moving objects, they continue to do on paper, using pictures.
Only after successful mastering of the pictural stage, the teacher decides to move on to the final – abstract stage. Usually children’s level of preparation at this stage is such that they have no problem imagining in their mind everything they did before with objects first by hand, then drawing on paper.
The topic is fixed at each stage and only after that children move on to a new one: https://argoprep.com/blog/k8/math-playground/. Teachers make sure that all students in the class understand the topic in depth. All of them! There are no concepts, “failing,” “retarded,” or “humanities.” In Singaporean schools, everyone is good at math. If someone learns more slowly, the whole class continues to go deeper with them until everyone is ready to go further together.
This may not sound like a new methodology. Moreover, some would rightly point out that counting sticks and number fans were always used in math classes in the USSR. This is true. But now everything has changed. The new generation of children is being taught with new methods.
From the first grade, children are forced to memorize tables, rules, formulas, without explaining the essence, for the sole purpose of keeping up with the charts and going through all the material for the school year. Lagging and, even worse, hating math is not the exception these days, but a sad pattern.