Jamaica Urged to Adopt Singapore Math Model

Photo: Contributed Mathematics teachers listen intently to Lead PR1ME Mathematics Specialist from Singapore, Kelly Lim Kai Ling. Occasion was the Amazing Mathematics Powers workshop, hosted by Book Merchant Limited recently at the Shortwood Teachers’ College in Kingston to expose Jamaican teachers to the Singaporean method of teaching.

Story Highlights

  • Lead PR1ME Mathematics specialist from Singapore, Kelly Lim Kai Ling, says that Jamaica could become a world leader in mathematics by adopting the teaching methods of the Southeast Asian country.
  • Singapore is regarded as the best in the world in the teaching and learning of mathematics.
  • According to Ms Lim Kai Ling, research done by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD has shown that classroom size does not matter. Rather, it is the skill of the teacher that is important.

Lead PR1ME Mathematics specialist from Singapore, Kelly Lim Kai Ling, says that Jamaica could become a world leader in mathematics by adopting the teaching methods of the Southeast Asian country.

Singapore is regarded as the best in the world in the teaching and learning of mathematics.

Ms. Lim Kai Ling was addressing hundreds of primary-school mathematics teachers, coaches and specialists who participated in the Amazing Mathematics Powers workshop held recently at the Shortwood Teachers’ College in Kingston.

The participants at the three-day workshop were exposed to the Singaporean approach of teaching mathematics, which focuses more on critical thinking skills and less on drill and practice.

Ms. Lim Kai Ling said that Singapore stresses mastery for all of its children, who will have the creative problem-solving skills that the country requires.

“Mathematics is the vehicle to approach problem-solving,” she pointed out, noting that the core principles of mathematics are understand the problem, plan your approach to the problem, answer the problem and then check to see if you are correct.

She said proficiency in mathematics is a higher indicator of success in life than any other element.

According to Ms Lim Kai Ling, research done by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD has shown that classroom size does not matter. Rather, it is the skill of the teacher that is important.

In Singapore, there are 40 students to a teacher.

Clinical Psychologist and Life Coach in Jamaica, Dr. Rose Johnson, who was a facilitator at the workshop, gave the teachers pointers on how to boost outcomes by improving life in the classroom.

They were urged to become effective communicators, which would allow them to foster the natural genius of the children in their charge. She reminded the teachers that they are in the profession because they want to give, and that they are the leaders in the classroom.

“Let the students imagine themselves at their best. They will believe it, and then that becomes reality. Disruptive behaviour, many times, has nothing to do with school,” she pointed out.

The workshop, endorsed by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, was hosted by Book Merchant Limited as part of its Scholastic PR1ME Mathematics Programme and was geared towards training the participants to teach mathematics in Jamaican schools using the Singaporean model and the PRIME Mathematics textbook.

PR1ME Mathematics is a world-class programme based on the effective teaching and learning practices of Singapore, Republic of Korea and Hong Kong, which are consistent top performers in international studies.

At the completion of the workshop, the participants received joint certification from the Jamaica Teaching Council and Shortwood Teachers’ College.

Sponsors included NCB Foundation, JN Bank, Maxie Department Store, National Housing Trust (NHT), Shortwood Teachers’ College, Sagicor Bank, Access Financial, Kris an Charles, Yoga Angels Jamaica, LIME Foundation, Dairy Industries and Rainforest Seafoods.

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