Every year, dozens of schools in the US apply the methods and standards for teaching mathematics commonly referred to as Singapore Math. The shift from traditional math curriculum to the set of new math teaching techniques is less complex and difficult than it might seem. However, it takes more planning than just deciding which textbooks to buy. Singapore Math implementation is a multi-step process, which requires detailed preparations.
Planning the transition to Singapore Math
Every school is different and have its own specific needs when it comes to teaching math. To better implement the Singapore Math, we encourage school administration and teachers to start from answering the basic questions: why do they want to adapt Singapore Math and what are they hoping to achieve through this process? Singapore Math can be used to help students, who struggle with math, but it is also an excellent method of working with gifted children. Other things to consider are the specific needs of students (e.g. learning difficulties) and resources the school plans to allocate to implementation and teaching Singapore Math. Schools with big budgets can order the most comprehensive and most recommended training programs, however, many schools with small budgets have also successfully implemented the Singapore Math curriculum. To best plan the implementation, hire a consultant or contact an institution, which conducts Singapore Math training for teachers to ask for help and free estimation.
Becoming an expert in Singapore Math
The teachers’ understanding of the program is crucial for the successful implementation of Singapore Math. It is absolutely mandatory to provide teachers with proper training, before they start teaching Singapore Math. Therefore, your implementation plan should also include time for the teachers to complete a proper training. There are multiple methods of training teachers, from seminars and workshops to demo classes and lesson study (planning, observing, discussing and analyzing actual math lessons to identify weak and strong points of the method). The training techniques should be chosen based on interviews with teachers regarding their needs and previous training in Singapore Math. Additional training in math for teachers is required to learn how to use the chosen textbooks and workbooks during classes.
Working with students and their parents
Singapore Math brings the best results, when the technique is practiced not only during regular math classes, but also after school. Evening or weekend math workshops are excellent opportunities for developing new skills and getting a better understanding of methods previously used during math classes. Since studying Singapore Math methods is more entertaining than solving regular math problems, many children see those workshops as a fun way of spending their free time and are eager to participate. You can achieve even better results, if you include parents in the process of implementing new math curriculum. Invite parents to school and introduce them to the new method, explaining how it is different from the previously used curriculum. Give parents a short training in new methods and how they can practice math at home with their kids. Recommend resources, which can be used to study math and offer help in planning after school learning sessions.