I can’t believe it has been three weeks! On 26 Mar 2015, I had the privilege of conducting a “Introduction to Singapore Math” workshop for the pre-service teachers at Columbia University Teachers College.
This workshop is a collaboration between Lexington Singapore School and Teaching Residents at Teachers College 2 (TR@TC2), a new 18-month teaching residency program being launched by Professor A. Lin Goodwin, Vice Dean and Professor of Education at Columbia University Teachers College. This program is among 24 teacher preparation programs nationwide funded by the TQP (Teacher Quality Partnership) grants to prepare more than 11,000 teachers, with a national goal of improving student achievement in the STEM disciplines.
This is a unique program where tuition for the residency program is fully funded, and teachers in turn stay with an urban school for three years. Most of the teachers in this residency program specialize in TESOL and Special Needs and are eager to find out how Singapore Math, with its focus on conceptual understanding and visualization, support students in this specific group.
It was an eye opening experience for both me and the teachers as we explored the differences in math pedagogy from different continents and culture and what we can do to better support our young learners. Among others, we talked about bar modeling, how complex word problems can be solved without the use of abstract algebraic manipulation, and how this in turn can support algebraic thinking for students in middle grades!
Some comments from the resident teachers at the workshop:
The concept that math is a subject which can be grasped by all and not by a select, ‘gifted’ few was a new way of looking a subject I’d personally given up on. This workshop was extremely beneficial because I am reminded that there is more than one approach to a topic.
– Ogechi Egbuchulam (2015 TR@TC2 Teacher Resident)
I thought this workshop was great! Being able to use all of the different methods to solve one problem can help in any classroom, but when making modifications for students with disabilities, this was a great program to demonstrate that differentiation can be done in a math classroom. I really like the way Singapore Math works!
– Katie Pennings (2015 TR@TC2 Teacher Resident)
I thought the way that math was explained was so simple that it did not even occur to me to do it that way. I am studying to become an English Language Learner teacher and I will probably be pushing into math classes. This will be very beneficial.
– Alfonsina Jimenez (2015 TR@TC2 Teacher Resident)
We would like to thank Professor Goodwin and Teachers College for arranging this collaboration. We would also like to extend our special thanks to Dr Clement Gomez, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Education at Teachers College and Colleen Horn, Ed.D., Partnerships Coordinator for the TR@TC2 program for their kind support and assistance.
– Kar Hwee Koh, Ed. M.
Lexington Singapore School