Mathematics in All Classrooms
Mathematical problem solving has been the central focus of mathematics learning. With various programmes and effective structures in place, we guide and equip our pupils with the 21st century competencies to help them become proficient and confident problem solvers.
Mathematics Framework by Ministry of Education
What started as a MOE project to Improve Confidence and Achievement in Numeracy (ICAN) has taken on a greater role in shaping the approach that teachers in West View take towards helping pupils attain proficiency in Mathematics.
There is a renewed focus on the mastery of basic Math facts, i.e. the multiplication and division tables, mental calculations etc., in a structured way. The first 5 minutes in the Math lessons now provides opportunities for pupils to retrieve and recall basic Math facts. Since its implementation at the beginning of the year, pupils through P1 to P6 have shown a greater mastery of basic Math facts, leading to greater accuracy and speed in calculations.
With regular practice, pupils will develop fluency in basic Math facts, thus allowing them to focus on understanding and applying Math concepts. As a result, pupils’ confidence and interest in Mathematics increases as well.
Before proceeding to the learning outcome of a Math lesson, our teachers would first prepare pupils by reminding them of the previously-learnt knowledge which would lead them on to the current desired learning outcome.
The hierarchical nature of the Math curriculum requires learners to build on their previous knowledge as they learn Math in the current year. Teachers take the time to re-visit concepts learnt in previous years or in earlier lessons that would impact on the current learning. Doing so allows pupils to close the gap in their learning before going on to new concepts.
Teachers engage pupils using a repertoire of pedagogies that cater to the profile of the pupils, their learning styles and their abilities. These pedagogies can be broadly categorised into three approaches:
Pupils engage in activities to explore and learn mathematical concepts and skills, individually or in groups. They could use manipulatives or other resources to construct meanings and understandings. From concrete manipulatives and experiences, pupils are guided to uncover abstract mathematical concepts or results.
Instead of giving the answers, teachers lead pupils to explore, investigate and find answers on their own. They learn to focus on specific questions and ideas and are engaged in communicating, explaining and reflecting on their answers. They also learn to pose questions, process information and data and seek appropriate methods and solutions. This enhances the development of mathematical processes and 21st century competencies.
Using explicit teaching, teachers introduce, explain and demonstrate new concepts and skills. Pupils are told what they will be learning and what they are expected to be able to do to help them focus on the learning goals. Teachers draw connections, pose questions, emphasise key concepts, and role-model thinking. During lesson closure, teachers review the key learning points of the lesson to consolidate the learning.
Teachers use a variety of tools to help them assess the pupils’ successful mastery of the learning outcomes. These tools include:
The activity book provides pupils with the opportunity to practise what they have learnt.
Before the end of each topic, a Topical Checkpoint is administered to assess each pupil about his or her mastery of the basic concepts taught in a particular chapter.
Pupils are exposed to a range of exam-based questions with different levels of difficulty.
Through the explicit teaching of Heuristics Skills, teachers equip the pupils with a range of strategies to solve non-routine and unfamiliar Maths problems.
It is important that pupils consolidate and deepen their learning through tasks that allow them to reflect on their learning. This is a good habit that needs to be cultivated from an early age and it supports the development of metacognition. Teachers help pupils make sense of their learning by making the connection between what they learn in class with the real world outside class.