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How to explain Singapore math


Why is the Singapore methodology so popular all over the world, and can it be implemented in Russian schools?

April 17, 2017 4880

“Mathematics is the queen of sciences” - a proud inscription on the flyleaf of almost every textbook on algebra flaunts. But many students by the end of elementary school are already beginning to become interested: “And how will mathematics come in handy in our life?” And if for 4 academic years primary school teachers can describe in detail the importance of this subject, spatially talking about the possibility in the future to count the change in the store and the multiplication table, without which you can’t live without it, then in high school the main question about mathematics remains open. Occasionally you can hear something about the development of logic, but in most cases - silence.

True, why do we need math? Subtract, add, multiply and divide are skills that you can learn in the evening. Why sit at a school desk for 11 years?

The complex character of the queen of sciences

And why did such questions begin? Why does every second child count the minutes until the end of the lesson and does not think at all that the equations written on the board will somehow help him in life?

After all, if you think carefully, during the course of our life we ​​perform many actions that do not require a logical explanation. Why do we make them? Because I like it.

We can paint, play the violin, jump with a parachute and not ask ourselves any questions, and the school curriculum in mathematics haunts anyone. Why? Because she. boring and complicated. And when a child is bored and difficult, he tries to justify this and convince himself that in the future this knowledge will be useful to him. But here, as you have already noticed, there is also a great deal of complexity.

But not only schoolchildren criticize exact science, many teachers of specialized universities grab their heads when freshmen, who have just received a certificate, come to them. Professors of the best universities in Russia are sure that school lessons in this subject are a waste of time. Physicists and mathematicians who are authors of educational and scientific articles on the website of the Science Club ∀ x, y, z website spoke on the problems of teaching mathematics in schools:

“The main problem is that math is usually not taught at school. Often they teach incomprehensible algorithms, on which you need to perform incomprehensible actions with incomprehensible characters, and then carefully record the result of these actions, strictly following obscure design rules to get a positive assessment. This has nothing to do with mathematics. The fact is that mathematics is not about numbers, not about formulas and not about transforming expressions. It is about understanding, about the possibility of distinguishing true reasoning from incorrect, about the possibility of finding a mistake in oneself and coming up with how to fix it, of independence, of creativity. "- said Ilya Schurov, Ph.D. in Physics and Mathematics, associate professor of the Higher Mathematics Department of the Higher School of Economics.

“What are the main problems in teaching mathematics at school?” Of course, mathematics is the foundation. This is a wonderful “gymnastics of the mind”, and there is no need to be afraid of complex areas: I know for sure that interested students can perceive the set theory, derivatives, and much more. But you can’t overdo it: transferring university programs to school often leads to a meaningless mess in the head, behind which basic concepts are lost (except for mathematics, this affects the teaching of physics very badly). The class is divided into groups of “luminaries” and children who simply do not have time. It is important to maintain balance, and this depends primarily on the teacher. A good school math teacher is a special art that is hard to teach. Excellent university teachers are often lost at school and simply cannot control the class. "- Ivan Oseledets, Doctor of Physics and Mathematics, senior researcher at the Institute of Computational Mathematics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, expresses his position.

To date, the mathematics that children study in schools does not meet modern requirements and standards. It does not prepare children for the future, it is not aimed at developing creative potential and logical thinking, but it is sufficiently equipped with outdated methods and boring approaches.

Interestingly, if another method of study were applied to the queen of sciences, would the situation look better? For example, the Singaporean methodology in mathematics has long been known for its effectiveness: children who study science using this system win in tournaments and olympiads, enter the best universities in the world and deal with solving complex problems in a few minutes. What is the secret?

Singapore Mathematics and Mathematics in Russia: Key Differences

This technique appeared in 1982 in Singapore, but it began to gain worldwide popularity at the beginning of the XXI century. Such a system, aimed at the study of mathematics, was created on the basis of the interaction of the best and most effective educational approaches around the world. It is designed for children 5-12 years old and has a large number of followers in other countries.

Why is she so famous and effective? The thing is that in Singapore mathematics there are no sharp complex transitions in the program and boring tasks. Of the basic principles of this technique, the following can be distinguished:

Simplicity and quality. Schoolchildren learn basic mathematical concepts to complete assimilation and solve problems corresponding to their age. Teachers focus on the quality of education, and not on the amount of material passed. The textbooks on Singaporean mathematics have many colorful illustrations that help the child understand the condition of the assignment, it also shows different approaches to the solution, which open up the possibility for the child to try each of them and choose the most convenient one for himself.

In Russian schools, mathematics looks like a quest for a while. One lesson stands out on one topic, two, but no more, on the other. From the crumpled theoretical part, which is fraught in the textbooks, there is a lightning-fast transition to the practical field, where you already need to go to the blackboard and solve examples that often progress in level of difficulty with the speed of light.

Repetition of the studied material. Yes, this is again to the question of quality. According to the Singaporean methodology, repetition of the topics studied is given great importance. Junior students can take dice for a very long time to understand the principles of addition. In addition, having solved a large number of examples on the same topic, the child learns to operate learned concepts in practice.

At the lessons of mathematics in Russia, everything depends on time intervals. Not so much time is allocated to the topic to use it to repeat the material.

Team training. Pupils learn in an atmosphere of social interaction. They discuss among themselves the solutions of examples and learn to formulate their thoughts and ideas. In addition, such cooperation teaches us to listen to the opinions of others and calmly get out of contentious situations. This approach makes it clear that many tasks have several solutions, each of which can be interesting and convenient to use.

In Russian schools, this method of learning is very rarely practiced. On the contrary, teachers are set up so that everyone decides independently and does not spy on a neighbor in a notebook. Of course, after completing assignments, you can discuss work and sort out mistakes, but practice shows that children without obvious interest participate in such analyzes, where you need to raise your hand, stand up, give your answer to the teacher and sit back to listen to what solutions the other guys found. Agree, boring?

Do not remember, but think. Children who study according to the Singaporean method do not try to learn the entire textbook. They direct forces to understanding the structure of problem solving and examples. Only in this case a creative approach is possible when the child is not enclosed in the artificial framework of the educational process and understands why and for what he performs one or another action.

Do you think that such a child will ever have a question about the need for mathematics in the modern world, if it does not seem to him a complex and incomprehensible subject, and even vice versa - allows you to discover new opportunities?

An important task of elementary school in the system of Singaporean mathematics is the study by students of elementary foundations and the transition from specific values ​​to abstract concepts.

To achieve this skill, a 3-step concept was created:

First, the students go through the “concrete stage”. It involves the study of mathematical concepts using specific subjects. For example, to add 2 to 3, the child takes 2 cubes and adds 3 more cubes to them. To subtract 2 from 5, he takes 2 out of 5 apples. Everything is simple and clear.

This is followed by the “pictural stage”, which replaces the above cubes and apples with pictures in the textbook.

This approach is completed by the "abstract stage". He teaches children to navigate in the field of numbers and signs. Thanks to the first two approaches, the final stage seems logical and consistent for children, it helps to avoid difficulties and overloads.

Is Singaporean mathematics applicable in Russian schools?

Many parents of students who receive education in Russian schools have heard about Singaporean mathematics and have already appreciated it. Textbooks and notebooks using this technique can be purchased by residents of any country and studied on them at home.

So far, there is no need to talk about the implementation of the Singaporean educational system in the school curriculum. First, the school curriculum in Russia is rarely reviewed, and if any changes are made there, they are not significant. Singaporean mathematics is a fairly radical change in the format of a regular lesson.

Secondly, it is necessary to prepare teachers for work in this direction. And many teachers working in the school are struggling to adapt to such changes.

Thirdly, parents are also slightly different in their attitude towards the educational process in our country. In Singapore, the authority of the teacher is undeniable and the parents prepare the child in advance for serious mental work within the school.

It would be difficult to transfer all the rigor and simplicity of the Singaporean methodology to Russia, but it is possible to adapt the basic ideas to our mentality. Singaporean mathematics could open a different approach to the queen of sciences and show that even the most complex examples have an elementary basis, if you understand what, what follows and why it is needed. And according to experts and our little schoolchildren, it is the answer to these questions that is so lacking in the study of exact science.