All About Math

Monday, 18.12.2017

One particular point of our children’s education that we parents need to focus on is math. The present primary school curriculum might make us scratch our heads when we look at their problems and questions – especially for people (like me) who aren’t mathematically inclined or gifted (I’m a writer, so that’s fine though)! 

So what can parents do to ensure a decent understanding of math for their kids in order for them to succeed in school? We look at math enrichment and tuition, that’s what! However, there are a whole lot of different math learning methods, which is a good thing as our children too have different ways of learning. Let’s give those methods a look, and allow you to make an informed decision:

Adam Khoo Learning Centre
They use a method called the Arrow Transfer Model (ATM)® that utilises arrows, colours, shapes, and directions to solve questions. Doing so eliminates the language barriers that could make math questions a big challenge, and builds their students’ understanding of difficult concepts. They aim to make solving math questions an enjoyable journey for their students while ensuring the fundamentals of math are properly introduced.

Chiltern House Preschool
Their math programme’s focus is on problem solving, by building on their students intuitive insights and prior knowledge. A language-based approach similar to the Singapore schools way of problem solving is used – students gain understanding of concepts and skills through written and oral language. They are eventually introduced to symbolic languages after they’ve experienced hands-on and pictorial materials to discover concepts for themselves.  Teachers encourage their students to observe, discuss, explain, and create math solutions.

Crestar Learning Centre
Their math classes for pre-schoolers and primary schoolers incorporate math learning with its application through daily life. Their students build their knowledge of math through physical materials and games, with progressive exposure to math concepts that are in line with the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) syllabus. They also provide abacus and mental arithmetic classes to promote mental agility – techniques used for complicated mental calculation will sharpen memory and concentration skills. 

Eye Level
Their method of teaching ties together Basic Thinking Math and Critical Thinking Math. Basic Thinking enables students to build a strong foundation for their students. A systematic curriculum with varying levels of difficulty is catered to their students’ abilities. They also adopt a proactive learning process where students receive continual, ongoing feedback from their instructors – they believe that communication and a positive environment is vital for education.

Sakamoto Math Method
This method is a visual approach to problem solving – their school provides students with a simple, systematic, and structured technique to analyse questions in a logical way. Understanding of concepts and applications is emphasised over simply memorising them, which in turn promotes both logical and creative approaches in problem solving. 

They utilise three simple steps to aid students in this: the first step consists of analysing the problem, identifying its facts, and grasping the relationship of the data; the second step has students convert the information gathered into a diagram, which helps them to understand the logic behind the calculations; the final step has them write down the equations and do the calculations to arrive at the final answer. 

PlayFACTO School
They specifically designed their method to enable children of different backgrounds, learning abilities, and skills to learn math by separating areas of study into five categories: numbers and operations, figures, classifications, patterns, and measurement. They have a greater focus on using activities to teach the fundamentals while making it a fun process. Meaningful guidance is given to their students – preparatory activities precede the main activities to ease their students into it.

They’re well known for teaching methods, where the starting point for each student is determined individually. They call it the ‘just right’ level, where students begin at a point where they can attain a perfect score through their own level of study. After determining their level, worksheets that have been specially designed for them will allow them to solve problems on their own, giving them a sense of achievement and accomplishment. Doing so opens up their desire to progress and will create a proactive mindset of learning. 

Instructors there provide a guiding hand for students, but more than just giving them the correct answers, they support their students’ efforts of self-learning. Understanding the process where they get to the answer on their own is something that will help with future, more complicated problems.


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