MALAYSIA - It is easy to figure out that one plus one is two and that two times of four is eight. But how does one teach these concepts to children, especially if they are of preschool age?
The Singapore method of teaching Mathematics utilises concrete objects, such as blocks or paper cut-outs, to help children understand the complex concepts behind Mathematics. As these children progress to their primary school years, the concrete objects transition into visual diagrams.
By the time they are in their secondary and tertiary schooling years, these students will understand the concepts so well that even with all its abstractness, Mathematics is no longer an incomprehensible mystery.
Hallmark Approach managing director Gan Choon Keong, a former actuary, says that the teaching of concepts was something that he found lacking in the Malaysian methods for teaching the subject.
He realised this only after his son, who at the time had completed Form Three, sat for the Asean scholarship examinations.
"He couldn't do the questions," says Gan, explaining that the questions had been of the problem-solving variety.
Gan began to do his research on "Singapore Maths" and eventually started a Math centre of his own. It is not a different syllabus, rather Singapore Maths is a method; it is a pedagogy.
"While practice is necessary for Maths, the initial learning is conceptual," he adds.
Parents who send their children to learn Maths using this method have seen marked improvements not only in their children's Maths abilities but also in other areas.