OER Organises Mathematics Education Research Seminar
Thursday, 21 September 2017
The Office of Education Research (OER) held a Mathematics Education Research Seminar on 14 September 2017 in collaboration with the Academy of Singapore Teachers (AST).
Audience listening to presentations
The seminar, themed “Mathematics Education in Singapore: Where to Next?”, sought to generate discussions on the state of mathematics education in Singapore classrooms and how the teaching of mathematics can be transformed to enrich students’ learning. This event attracted a large turnout of around 180 attendees, which comprised mathematics teachers, subject heads and MOE policymakers.
MME AG Head A/P Tay Eng Guan delivering the opening note
NIE researchers from the Mathematics and Mathematics Education Academic Group (MME AG) and OER’s Centre for Research in Pedagogy and Practice (CRPP) and Learning Sciences Lab (LSL) presented the findings from their research studies and highlighted their implications for the Singapore classroom.
Prof Berinderjeet Kaur
A/P Lee Ngan Hoe
A/P Leong Yew Hoong
A/P Toh Tin Lam
Dr Eric Chan
Dr David Huang
Dr Melvin Chan
Some of the topics that researchers covered during the seminar include mathematical reasoning and communication skills, model-eliciting activities, generative and complex activities in mathematics and motivation in mathematics learning.
The speakers and their respective presentations are:
- A/P Tay Eng Guan (Head, MME AG), A/P Toh Tin Lam (Deputy Head, MME AG), Prof Berinderjeet Kaur (MME AG), A/P Lee Ngan Hoe (MME AG), A/P Leong Yew Hoong (MME AG) – A Study of School Mathematics Curriculum Enacted by Competent Teachers in Singapore Secondary Schools
- Prof Berinderjeet Kaur (MME AG) – Reasoning and Communication in the Mathematics Classroom
- Dr Eric Chan (MME AG) – Mathematical Modelling for Children
- Dr David Huang (Assistant Dean, Research Strategy and Research Scientist, LSL, OER) – Promoting Analogical Transfer in Delayed Instruction
- Dr Melvin Chan (Research Scientist, CRPP, OER) – Enhancing Students’ Motivation in the Mathematics Classroom
A member of the audience asking questions
The seminar concluded with a panel discussion moderated by A/P Tay with Prof Kaur, A/P Leong, Dr Eric Chan, Dr Huang and Dr Melvin Chan as the panelists. The panel addressed questions posed by the audience regarding their respective presentations. Some of the topics discussed include motivating students to learn mathematics from primary school and assessing students’ reasoning and communication skills in mathematics.
Three tips on teaching Math from the seminar
1. Try adapting textbook questions using “What” strategies to foster deeper reasoning and communication. For example, the “What’s wrong” strategy presents an incorrect solution and asks students to identify and explain the errors. In one school, the use of this strategy was associated with major improvements in exam scores.
2. Motivate students with the right goals. Encourage personal and mastery goals – communicate the importance of learning well for oneself, rather than for others. Do not over-emphasize performance goals; if performance motivation seems to work, be selective – use this strategy on suitable students and not the whole class. Challenge, not threaten, students to do better. For example, saying “You can attain this grade if you work hard” is better than “You will fail if you don’t work hard”.
3. Pose harder questions to learners gradually. Low-progress learners may be motivated during lessons but become demoralised by exams. Let students experience more successes to build up their confidence.