How Singapore Went From Mediocre To Being The Top-Ranked Nation in Maths
The Singapore Math curriculum is considered one of the best in the world. But it wasn’t always this way. The Singapore Math curriculum first developed by a team of teachers from the Ministry of Education (MOE) in the middle of the 1980s. Singapore Maths standards were then at best mediocre, and Singapore did not participate in any international Maths competitions until much later on. The team of teachers assigned to develop the Singapore Maths curriculum studied behavioral science research and travelled to many other countries, such as Japan and Canada, to compare the effectiveness of different teaching methods.
One of the goals of the team of teachers was the move away from rote learning and instead to try to place the emphasis on actual problem solving. The group of MOE teachers produced a series of textbooks that took into account the teachings of educational psychologists from around the world. The findings from the psychologists were that people learn in three stages: by using real objects to visualise concepts, and then using pictures and finally using symbols to reinforce their learning. This led to the MOE’s emphasis on using visual aids to model Maths problems (e.g. the use of colored rectangles of different sizes to represent a fraction problem).
At The Maths Lab we use projector screens and tablets to create the same stimulating visual experience that help students understand complex mathematical concepts, effectively building upon what students learn in school, and helping them to master Maths topics much more quickly.