Maths: What Is the So-Called Miraculous Method of Singapore?

In France, 2000 primary classes have adopted the Singapore method. Objective: to make mathematics learning the most concrete to give meaning to this subject.

In France 120 000 pupils in 2000 classes, from CP to CM2, study mathematics in Maths Learning Center Singapore. Jean-Michel Blanquer wants to go further. The Minister of Education announced Thursday that he was assigning a mission to the MOC Cédric Villani to improve the teaching of math at maths learning center singapore. And he mentioned the possibility of drawing inspiration from this method so that France can catch up in international rankings.

For each year, Singapore is leading international studies on education systems, including the famous Pisa or study Timss. This maths learning center singapore is in fact a synthesis of many didactic and pedagogical practices for teaching mathematics. It is already used in about ten countries. Chus Garcia Piney is a teacher at the school of Acacias, Marcoussis. She discovered the Singapore method for two years and applies it with her class of CE1. She explains to L’Express the benefits of this method.

What is this method?

The principle is that students do math without realizing it. The child must understand before learning, as understanding why we write “5 + 3 = 8”. For this, they observe and manipulate in a concrete way before moving to a more abstract application. The goal is to always make sense of exercises and mathematical symbols and numbers.

This involves the invention of stories from real situations or images and a new vocabulary. We thus speak of mathematical sentences, such as “6 + 3 = 9”. But to be in the concert, we will say “6 flowers + 3 flowers = 9 flowers” and use objects, such as multidirectional cubes or labels for games. Students must be able to appropriate the meaning of “+”, because they see at first a simple cross without understanding what its meaning is.

Can you give an example of an exercise?

A child has 5 red and 8 blue stickers. I ask students what they can look for with these stickers. How many stickers are there? How much is red, blue? How much is left if we remove the blue? Students create the statements and answer each question by asking themselves how to do it. And then I introduce mathematical sentences, like “5 + 8 = 13”, with visual schemas and verbalization. The interest here is not to find the final solution, but to find the right questions that can be asked.

Do children never learn by heart?

No, except the tables of multiplication of course which are essential to know to do certain operations. But it is useless to learn if we did not understand upstream and give meaning to everything we learn.

All these steps do not take too much time?

In reality it is very fast. When the teacher starts using this method it takes a little time to set everything up. Last year, with my CP class, I thought I would not finish the program. The students finally understood the meaning of the four operations and even went beyond the program. So yes, doing exercises certainly takes time because we verbalize everything and go slowly in the explanations, but when something is acquired it is for good. It’s like cycling.

Group work is also important?

There is individual work, especially because we have to evaluate students. But they also work a lot in pairs and groups. This causes those who are more withdrawn to express themselves more. And those who understand explain the solution to the class. It brings them a lot, they help each other and the whole class progresses.

As a teacher, this method totally satisfies you?

Yes, I dreamed, I enjoy! With the classical method of learning mathematics, we are too much in the principle of the learned dog and in the race for success. With the Singapore method, one simply wonders if the students understood or not, without comparing their grades or their level.