In 2016, Chiswick House School was the first school in Malta to shift their teaching and learning approach towards Mathematics to one that is underpinned by the fundamentals of what is widely known as Maths for Mastery (or Singapore Maths). The change was carried out across the whole school from our Early Years to Level 5 and this year we have also implemented it in Level 6 at St Martin’s College. Within the next two years it will be extended to the rest of the Middle School. In the TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) results, Singapore has ranked first in Mathematics for over twenty years. Pupils studying Mathematics in Singapore have constantly obtained above average scores across all types of questions in the tests ranging from lower order to advanced questions. For example in TIMSS (2011), the international average for pupils who answered advanced questions was 5% whereas for pupils in Singapore it was 48%, evidently showing that the strategies being used in this country are effectively equipping learners with the skills to become serious critical thinkers. These results have made the world look into the methods which have been adopted by Singapore and to use these methods to support their mathematics curriculum and its implementation strategies. Teaching and learning Mathematics should now focus on Teaching for Mastery.
We have chosen Maths No Problem! as the textbook scheme since it is very well-structured and supports a holistic approach to the teaching and learning of Mathematics based on the Singapore methods for all learners. It includes a differentiated approach for children struggling with this area of learning and those who are more advanced and need more challenge. Moreover, the scheme is based on the works of world-known figures in education including Piaget, Dienes, Bruner, Skemp and Vygotsky and has been tested and refined over the last 30 years. Maths No Problem! has also since been awarded with the prestigious IPG Independent Publishing Award (IPA) for best education publisher of the year (2017) and in 2017 is was the only textbook scheme recommended by the DfE in the UK as quality scheme for teaching Maths for Mastery. Our approach to the teaching and learning of Mathematics has evolved around problem solving and every lesson starts with an anchor task which the children need to find a creative solution to. Each lesson is based on a Concrete, Pictorial and Abstract (CPA) approach since learning departs from the premise that a hands-on, multisensory task facilitates the development of more abstract concepts. As part of the Mathematics lesson all pupils also complete a Maths Journal entry to record their individualized learning trajectories. The educational philosophy underpinning the teaching of Mathematics is also tightly connected to our 7Cs that place the essential 21st century skills of collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking at the centre. Compassion, confidence and commitment are “ways of being” which we are developing across all areas of learning. The OECD 7 principles of learning guide our daily practice.