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60 years of math education in Singapore

60 years of math education in Singapore

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60 years of math education in Singapore

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  1. 60 years of math education in Singapore Lee Peng Yee Nat Inst of Ed Singapore

  2. Math education in terms of syllabus and textbooks

  3. Interviews We ask 4 persons the questions • What mathematics did they learn? • What textbooks did they use? • How did their teachers teach mathematics? • How did they learn mathematics?

  4. 5 periods in 60 years • After WW II to first local syllabus in 1959 • From syllabus A and B to syllabus C • Maths reform in the 70’s • Back to basic • The new initiatives since 1997 (refer to Soh Cheow Kian)

  5. Singapore • Land area: 683 sq km (263 sq miles) • Population: 4 million • British colony for around 150 years • Independence in 1965 • A service hub for sea, air, finance etc

  6. Maths Reform in 70’s • Introduced modern topics • It induced massive re-training of teachers • First locally produced textbooks • More peer learning and less reliance on teaching • Mathematics (up to Grade 10) made compulsory since 1974

  7. Back to basic • It coincided with merging of different language schools and streaming of students • New syllabus with primary school textbooks produced by MOE • Calculators since 1982 and all examinations in English since 1984

  8. First local syllabus • First local syllabus 1959 using the spiral approach • Options to teach mathematics as a unified subject or with different branches • Used imported textbooks • No statistics, calculus in Additional Mathematics (Grade 9-10) • Syllabus and teaching were traditional

  9. Early days • Built more and more schools • Schools run by missionaries and local communities • No public exam and no streaming • Expatriate teachers and foreign textbooks • Chinese schools known to be better in mathematics

  10. Summary • 1945 – 1960 Early days • 1960 – 1970 First local syllabus • 1970 – 1980 Maths reform • 1980 – 1995 Back to basic • 1995 – 2005 New initiatives (refer to Soh Cheow Kian)

  11. Major events • Merging of different language schools • Streaming of students with different abilities • From foreign syllabus and textbooks to locally produced • From expatriate teachers to locally trained • From professional training to nurturing entrepreneurship

  12. Outcome • Mathematics is taught in English • Practise differentiated teaching • More science stream students and mathematics compulsory • Build up local expertise in textbook writing, teacher training and research • Own system and nowhere to copy

  13. Teach less to more Teach less mathematics to more students

  14. Words in Chinese One aspect of cultural background • Teaching 教学 means teaching and learning • Learning 学习 means learning and practising • Parabola 抛物线 means a projectile • Radius 半径 means a half of the diameter

  15. Looking forward • There will be a genuine reduction of content • We make thinking more explicit in teaching • There will be other modes of assessment • The use of technology makes learning more experimental • We expect an increasing use of resource materials in teaching

  16. Teacher preparation • Highlight subject knowledge • Teach for exam and also teach for learning • Assessment for learning and not learning for assessment

  17. Conclusion • The system is more structured and more officially regulated • It will remain so for the next 5 years • More room for innovation in classroom teaching • It depends on the availability of local resource materials

  18. END pylee@nie.edu.sg Chicago 2005