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Singapore Math

Thursday, April 1, 2010

The Lighter Side of Singapore Math (Part 1)



The Greeks have their Euclid’s Elements.
The Egyptians had their Rhind papyrus.
The Japanese had their sangaku.
The Chinese had their Chiu-chang Suan-shu.

What do the Singaporeans have?
The Model Method


Q: If the US math curriculum is ‘a mile wide and an inch deep,’ what about the Singapore curriculum? 
A: The Singapore curriculum is ‘a smile wide and a glitch deep.’



Some politically incorrect terms defined

Singapore: 1. A 'fine' city with the most number of restrictions and prohibitions, and a record number of supplementary (assessment) mathematics titles per hundred thousand people. 2. A city-nation with the highest number of drill-and-practice specialists per capita.

Math teacher: A complaining lot whose number has increased in the aftermath of Y2K and 9/11.

Model method: 1. An overrated and oversold approach to solving word problems. 2. Visualization attaining brand status. 3. An often-misused and abused anti-algebraic heuristic tool to tackling challenging word problems traditionally set in grades 7 to 10 to terrorize elementary grade students.

Number bond: A high-tech word to mean breaking a number into smaller numbers.

Back-to-Basics: Basic numerical skills to avoid being conned by shopkeepers, contractors, and timesharing agents.

Kumon Math franchises: The MacDonalds of Mathematics Education – the 'McDonald’s of Rote Learning.'

[Japanese] Sakamoto Math: Singapore's model method of using lines instead of bars or rectangles.


Ig Nobel Peace Prize for Singapore Prime Minister
Singapore's ban on the import of chewing gum, and others like feeding pigeons, spiting, begging in public, and failing to flush the toilet won the 1994 Ig Nobel Peace Prize for former prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew.

A Quick-and-Dirty Comparison between Singapore and USA

What appears as ‘critical or creative math questions’ for Americans are often routine questions for Singaporeans.

American textbooks offer even or odd answers, while Singapore textbooks provide almost all answers and solutions, free of charge.

Singapore may be the math envy of the US, based on its ranking at the TIMSS, but Singapore teachers long for the opportunity to be as creative as their US counterparts. Besides, Singapore teachers dream of the shorter teaching hours, and lesser dependency on grades.


Origin of Singapore Math

SINGAPORE MATH = China Math ∩ Russia Math ∩ Israel Math ∩ US Math ∩ ...


What's STEM for Singapore?
Not Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, but Strategies, Tuitions, Examinations, and Marks!

© Yan Kow Cheong, April 1, 2010