How is Singapore Math different from other countries math curriculums?
Singapore Math is more than just DOING math or dealing with numbers but really in the BEING – becoming a thinker and problem solver. This goes much deeper than just getting the right answers or just dealing with numbers.
The main difference therefore would be the motivation behind studying mathematics.
Why do we study Mathematics? Now, many people have answers for this. If you ask parents, the answer would be: “Being good in math means you can get into a good course in university”. If you ask a student, the answer would sound something like: “We study math because it’s a subject in school and we have to”.
Singapore Math however, sees the reason WHY we study math in a different way and this is what sets it apart from how other countries teach it. Singapore believes that “Mathematics is an excellent vehicle for the development and improvement of a person’s intellectual competence” Meaning, we are using Math as a means to reach the end goal of making our kids more competent. What does it mean to make our kids intellectually competent?
In this 21 st century, this means that our kids need to be critical thinkers, communicators, creative problem solvers who are willing to take risk and tackle challenges with a positive attitude. That
being said, Singapore Mathematics therefore uses teaching techniques that aim to train your kids to BEING these kind of people who are competent to meet the needs of the changing world.
t is therefore no surprise to know that we do not emphasize or reward just the correct
answers but we highly prize the reasoning behind, communication and presentation of
HOW they got to the correct answer. We want to train students who have the qualities of:
1) Metacognition – the ability to think about their own thinking.
2) Perseverance – not giving up when they face a problem but having the grit to pull through it.
3) Confidence – being confident to stand for their answer because
they know why they do what they do.
4) Good communicator – able to convince and explain what they
are doing and why their idea is good or better.
5) Creativity and resourcefulness – coming up with new and different ways to do the same thing or solve the same problem.
It is a quest to train a child to be competent and ready for life. This is what Singapore Math has done and is doing for kids. It is not an easy kind of training but it is definitely a worthwhile one.