Celebrating a Year of Singapore Maths at Chiswick House School
In September 2016, Chiswick House School was the first school in Malta to follow the worldwide revolution in the teaching and learning of Mathematics by adopting the Singapore Maths approach across all levels. Singapore has ranked first in international studies such as the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) for the past twenty years. This world-renowned approach is based on the fundamental pillars put forward by research in Mathematics Education. It places problem solving at its heart and encourages the use of concrete experiences before the introduction of more abstract concepts. This approach links beautifully to Chiswick House School’s 21st century skills that focus on Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration and Creativity.
It has been a challenging but very exciting first year with lots of positive outcomes already observed. We hold high expectations for all learners and they in turn have taken this challenge. The programme we are following is well-structured and scaffolded so that plenty of repetition is possible not only during the same year but also across levels. The daily hands-on tasks have allowed the learners to develop a deeper understanding of the concepts introduced. They have also supported learners in making better connections between the Mathematics learnt in the classroom and that applied to their daily lives. It is Mathematics rooted in our everyday context. It has been a pleasure to listen to the daily discussions undertaken by the learners in which they analytically evaluate a given problem, come up with different methods to solve this and defend their arguments with their peers, learning key negotiating skills. Problem solving, a crucial aspect of Mathematics, was previously unattractive to our learners. Now, through the Singapore approach most children cannot get enough of it! Many parents have commented that they have seen a great shift in the mindsets of their young ones with regard to the aspect of problem solving as they now also look forward to making up their own challenges. This approach has also boosted summative assessment results. Finally, we have witnessed an increased passion towards Mathematics and look forward to repeating this success over the coming years. St Martin’s College introduces Singapore Maths in Level 6 this coming September. We are delighted that many schools in Malta have come to observe our practice and together we shall see this approach in many Maltese schools. Let us all improve our national performance in TIMSS.