Interesting article on the But Is It On The Test blog regarding the philosophy, culture and context of Singapore Maths and how it has transformed the status of Maths education in the country from mid table mediocrity in 1983 to it’s current World Leader position.
Well I say interesting ……….
No disrespect to the authour of the blog (which I have only just come across) as it’s well enough written, reflects their views and experience, and does have a nice analogy with England’s historical football (in) abilities.
But once again we have an article references the Cockcroft Report by someone that I suspect very much hasn’t read it, and most certainly hasn’t spoken to someone that was involved in the report, worked with Cockcroft for years, and was at the forefront of the work that Singapore now so blatantly have copied.
The underlying message is that we in the UK should embrace the Singapore Maths method which may make since given their class sizes (as ours continue to increase), but doesn’t make sense given the difference in culture (the amount they spend on private tuition for example), and would be akin to once having a World Class motor car industry that you sold off but continued to buy the cars now made by foreign companies …… oh wait!!!!!
We wish Singapore Maths no harm, applaud how they are interpreting ‘our’ work from ‘back in the day’, and are mildly flattered that they have based so much of their content and material on ‘borrowed’ stuff of ours. In fact we would love to work with Dr Yeap Ban Har (Head of Maths CPD Singapore) and his Singapore maths project. Given what they have achieved by borrowing and interpreting, imagine how good they could be with access to the genuine, original materials and the creators of the books, games and manipulative materials.
In case you think think this is ‘sour grapes’ don’t just take our word for it …
But, there is no such thing as Singapore Mathematics” or so says Maths consultant Dr Yeap Ban Har one of the authors of Singapore Maths.
From – Rationale of Singapore Mathematics: “Borrowing heavily from the Cockcroft [sic] Report (1982) the emphasis of the programmes is all on problem solving.”
More than anything though what would be great would be for people writing about and praising Singapore Maths to do some research, realise that it all started here in the UK, that the UK has thrown away it’s advantage (Education Education Education eh Tony), and that their are still some originals in the World worth involving in the current Educational Crisis.
You know where we are. Ready and willing if required ….