NY Times on Singapore Math


Last Friday, this New York times article about Singapore Math appeared. The premise of the beginning of the article is that by studying one number at a time slowly, students learn more thoroughly and therefore build a better mathematical foundation. This is true, even if it is an oversimplification of the curriculum.

Here is a quote from the article:

Principals and teachers say that slowing down the learning process gives students a solid math foundation upon which to build increasingly complex skills, and makes it less likely that they will forget and have to be retaught the same thing in later years.And with Singapore math, the pace can accelerate by fourth and fifth grades, putting children as much as a year ahead of students in other math programs as they grasp complex problems more quickly.

This is true, from what I have seen and heard from different teachers. Not only that, but the mental flexibility for problem solving can be much greater with Singapore Math, if it is taught correctly.

And here is one of the main reasons I recommend this program:

Singapore math’s added appeal is that it has largely skirted the math wars of recent decades over whether to teach traditional math or reform math. Indeed, Singapore math has often been described by educators and parents as a more balanced approach between the two, melding old-fashioned algorithms with visual representations and critical thinking.

So you don’t have to sacrifice any of the important aspects of teaching math if you adopt this method. It does require some training and/or learning in order to implement it well, though, because the curriculum books on their own don’t offer a thorough grounding in the theory and practice.

What are your thoughts about the article?

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