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
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.
Pupils need to be motivated in order to be ready to learn.
Therefore, teachers need to provide motivating contexts for learning. Pupils
like play-based activities such as games. They also appreciate more if the
contexts are related to everyday life, whereby they can see the relevance and
meaningfulness of mathematics.
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, emphasize key concepts, and role-model thinking. During lesson closure, teachers review the key learning points of the lesson to consolidate the learning.
To help pupils in consolidating and extending their learning,
distributed and consistent practice is necessary. Distributed practice is a
learning strategy, where practice is broken up into a number of short sessions
over a period of time. In addition to that, practice must include repetition
and variation to achieve proficiency and flexibility.
Teachers use a variety of tools to help them assess the
pupils’ successful mastery of the learning outcomes. Some examples of these tools include:
The activity book provides pupils with the opportunity to practice
and apply concepts which they have just 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 topic. It includes items which require pupils
to recall mathematical facts, concepts, rules and formulae; perform
straightforward computations and algebraic procedures.
Pupils are exposed to a range of exam-based questions of
different cognitive levels. It includes items which require pupils to:
- interpret information; understand and apply mathematical concepts and skills in a variety of contexts
- reason mathematically; analyse information and make inferences; select appropriate strategies to solve problems.
Through the explicit teaching of Heuristics Skills, teachers
equip the pupils with a range of strategies to solve non-routine and unfamiliar
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.