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Singapore’s 15-year-olds top OECD’s Pisa global competence test – The Straits Times
Whether you call it Singapore Math, math mastery or something else doesn’t matter. What matters is that Singapore did something with math that made everyone stand up and take notice. Singapore went from obtaining mediocre math scores to the best in the world in a very short period of time – and they’ve maintained that momentum. – Mr Andy Psarianos, author of Maths – No Problem! textbooks.
Little Singapore first started to draw a lot of attention when it came out tops among 37 countries, including Britain and the United States, in the 1995 and 1999 rankings of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), conducted by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA).
As the accolades piled up over the years, maths specialists around the world wanted to know the secret to the little red dot’s success. They deduced that it is “Primary Mathematics” – the curriculum, teaching approach and textbooks first developed in 1982 in Singapore by the Ministry of Education.
OECD’s director of education Andreas Schleicher, a mathematician by training, praised Singapore’s stripped down mathematics curriculum. “Mathematics in Singapore is not about knowing everything. It’s about thinking like a mathematician,” he declared, adding that the decision to design the curriculum around how students learn maths rather than around the structure of the academic discipline was a stroke of genius.
That development involved a nine-member team led by mathematics teacher and curriculum specialist, Dr Kho Tek Hong, that had been tasked to create high-quality teaching materials. The team studied the latest behavioural science research and travelled to schools in other countries, including Canada and Japan, to compare the effectiveness of different teaching methods.
Aiming to move away from simple rote learning and focus instead on teaching children how to solve problems, the textbooks the group produced by the early 1980s were influenced by educational psychologists, such as American Jerome Bruner. He posited that people learn in three stages: by using real objects, then pictures, and then through symbols.
Based on this Concrete Pictorial Abstract (CPA) approach to learning, the team also developed a “spiral curriculum”, where each topic is revisited in intervals at a more sophisticated level. A concept is represented initially by “concrete” materials, later by models (pictures) and then finally by abstract notation (such as plus or equals signs). There is also a strong emphasis on modelling mathematical problems with visual aids – using coloured blocks to represent fractions or ratios, for example.
In the UK, the Inspire Maths series of textbooks, adapted from the Singapore books, were trialled in 70 primary schools by the Department for Education in 2015 and 2016. Independent research conducted by the Oxford University Department of Education in 2016 found that British schoolchildren made more progress in maths when teachers used Singapore-style methods. Teachers reported that the programme could boost children’s motivation and engagement, and the evaluation found that it could be used creatively and flexibly.
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Tutors Who Excel In All Subjects, Don’t Specialise.
Ingel also doesn’t believe in specialisation – he can express mathematical equivalent equations in mechanical, chemical and electrical terms. He is the only supertutor to integrate lessons from all 3 subjects and show how they are being applied in real-life situations. Why settle to learn Mathematics only if you can learn Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics?
Ingel is an expert in tutoring and he has been teaching for over 14 years in Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry.
- Awarded Harvard Certificate for Teaching and Learning Strategies for Higher Education.
- Awarded Massachusetts Institute of Technology Statistics and Data Science Program.
- Awarded AI for Industry – Practical Foundations in AI with Python (Intel, Microsoft)
- Ex-tutor in NUS
- First Class Honours Degree in Engineering from the National University of Singapore.
- Consistently on Dean’s List.
- Awarded numerous scholarships at California Institute of Technology (Caltech, #2 in the World, only Engineering student in NUS selected), Tsinghua University (#1 in China) and Osaka University (#2 in Japan).
- As an undergraduate, contributed to the publishing of a paper: “Development of Visible-Light Active Photocatalyst for Hydrogen Production and Environmental Application”
- Completed NUS Undergraduate Opportunities Research Programme (UROP) in just his first year of college
- Top 1% in JC cohort
- Full distinctions for then Further Mathematics, Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry
- Represented JC in the Chemistry Olympiad Competition.
Not all distinctions are achieved equally. Hailing from a less-privileged background meant he never had tuition throughout his academic life and has to derive the best efficient studying system. He now imparts his learning system to his students. When Ingel teaches, he believes students should be learning in the most efficient manner possible. The way he does it is to impart learning techniques that are simple to remember, and easy to apply. Already graduating with a First Class Honours degree, he doesn’t believe in collecting more academic certificates such as MScs, PhDs (which can be done relatively easy) to further justify his credibility and become even more specialised in one field. Instead, he choose to broaden his breadth knowledge.
Ingel has been mentioned in BestinSingapore.co as one of the best tuition centers in Singapore.
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