Before 1980, Singapore relied upon imported text books and curriculum from surrounding countries to educate the masses within the mathematical field. At that time Singapore’s Curriculum Development Institute was founded and began to design and apply their own textbooks with their beginning and intermediate levels. In this interest, the Education Ministry has focused its attention on new directives geared towards problem solving and trial and error methods for the student. This method invites and allows the student to take the subject on their own level and terms so that education is better facilitated.
If there are any doubts as to the effectiveness of this implementation, they will be quickly dispersed if the records are examined. Studies have shown that Singapore’s already stellar mathematics reputation has been growing by leaps and bounds since adopting a focused response to needs within their system. Something is being done right in the right places and the world is taking notice.
At the heart of this method lay a few essential premises. What is taught is built upon and not revisited with review. Mastery of basic skills is emphasized as the basis for future expansion and attention must be focused upon complete understanding along each step of the way. Although upon initial inspection the process might seem slow and cumbersome, the end result is that the student advances at their specific pace and are not forced into confusion by per-determined advancement guidelines.
There is an intense focus on utilizing problem solving methods as it applies to skill development for the student. As the concepts are represented by familiar situations to the student, grasp of the concepts are recognized more easily and the sense of intellectual reward inspires more interest and excitement. Gone is the need for repetitive and boring insistence within the classroom. Learning becomes an eager demand for more knowledge rather than being forced upon the student at an unrealistic rate.
Another consideration is to reach out to the students with a wider perspective than is classically determined to be adequate. Studies have shown that the learning process is enhanced once the student can visualize the problem solving application without relying on the repetition of examples. Focusing on the examination of the problem at hand in familiar terms recognizes easier extrapolation of the problem’s solution.
Singapore math is a prime example of applied technique that is working well for a society that has always laid claim to excellence. By all indications that reputation will do nothing but improve.
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