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## Sunday, May 1, 2011

### The Lighter Side of Singapore Math (Part 3)

Is the Singapore model method a plus or minus?

Skeptics or critics: "The model method is pre-algebra in disguise."
Proof: Use of a bar instead of a variable x.

Agnostics: "I've faith in Back to basics!"
Proof: I never use x, y, z nor any models in everyday life.

Believers: "The model method is visual algebra in elementary math."
Proof: Singapore's top rankings in TIMSS.

The Aftermath of TIMSS

One by-product of Singapore's top TIMSS ranking: Low fertility rate of 1.16 of its population—way below the replacement level of 2.1 At the current rate, Singapore might cease to exist!

Outsource your math to Singapore, not to Bengalore.
Bengalore the tedious and monotonous, Singapore the creative and innovative.

The red dot in South East Asia [Singapore] had leaked into the sea of math education, forcing [American] states to reassess both curriculums and pedagogies.

Half-baked Papers from School of Education researchers:

"How to wean the elementary student from models to algebra"

"Beyond the Singapore Model Method"

"Could Korea Math be the next mathematical fad?"

Six Top Oft-quoted Factors for Singapore's Success in TIMSS

1. Excellent textbooks

2. Good teachers

3. High pay for teachers

4. Society's high regard of teachers

5. Good career path for math teachers

6. Teachers mostly math majors or minors

Six Key Factors of Singapore's Success in TIMSS

1. Nation-wide private tuitions (individual or group) to make up for poor teaching in schools.

2. Parental involvement—many parents taking leave to coach their kids closer to exam time.

3. Practice of drill-and-kill assessment [supplementary] questions assigned by kiasu parents, tutors, and teachers.

4. Self-help groups such as CDAC, MENDAKISINDA to help the weaker—and economically challenged—students.

5. Remedial math lessons disguised as "enrichment math" programs.

6. Community clubs (CC's) tuitions for average or below-average income earners.

In the Pipeline...

New citizens- and permanent-residents-to-be may soon have to know how to solve one or two word problems, using the model method, as they sit for the literacy-numeracy test for those who don't have a formal education. Indeed, a stressful time for new immigrants!

Line Method vs. Bar Method

The line method is to the bar method what the soroban is to the Chinese abacus. http://tinyurl.com/4rxdky3

A Dozen Tweets from @MathPlus

The Light Bulb: How many Singapore math educators does it take to change a light bulb? It depends on the type of model they draw.

A numerologist is a "make-believe" number theorist trying to fool the innumerates that numbers have powers to rule their lives.

How many US politicians does it take to adopt Singapore #math? Three: To prove Singapore's existence, location & its relation to election.

Singapore #math authors may be the least credited in the world, as their first names are often mistakenly referenced for their surnames.

Beyond Singapore math textbooks & workbooks, here are some enrichment & creative math titles to tickle the brain: http://tinyurl.com/3lfuzsf

Anything cat-size or smaller tastes like chicken. Creatures roughly dog-size taste like pork; anything larger tastes like beef.

Benjamin Vitale: "Russian Math is hard work, Singapore Math is smart work." Famous Russian mat'cians aplenty proves they're doing sth right!

Her double masters didn't help her math⎯she lost \$100,300 in casino. http://bit.ly/hWnVms She's faith in the "Lore of Averages"!

Singapore math on its own cannot magically turn a bad teacher into a good one, but it can make a good one better.

A Postmodern Equation: Life - Love = Autumn + Spring + Winter

Since 1991, Lee Kuan Yew gave some \$13 million to #charity⎯earnings from his memoirs, speaking engagements, and being on advisory boards.

With perfect equality at zero, Singapore's Gini score (a measure of income inequality) is World's No. 2 at 0.42, behind Hong Kong's 0.43.

Zero Tweets from @Zero_Math

Join the ZERO-MATH Fan Club, by following K. C. Yan as @Zero_Math and share your zero tweets with the Zero-Math brethren! Here's a sample of them:

A #Math Quickie: The temperature is forecast to be twice as cold as today. If today is zero degrees, what will tomorrow's temperature be?

Zero is inarguably a Hindu invention, but textbooks still attribute its origin to both Hindus and Muslims. Political or racial correctness?

How to Lie with Zero: 0% Bank Loan, 0% Interest, Zero Down-payment, ... #zero #interest #marketing

A Dangerously Zero Thought: "It's the thoughtlessness that counts!"#zero

© Yan Kow Cheong, May 1, 2011