Singapore maths, particularly calculus, is a subject generally considered difficult by any standard around the world. The concepts of calculus are abstract, hard to grasp, and require a lot of visualisation, understanding, creativity, and much proving. This is all the more so since Singapore is a country known for its driving competitive education system. This education system is intentionally made to be high quality and effective by the Singapore government in support of its drive to maintain the country’s strong economic standing in the world. But this means that not all students in Singapore can learn at the same level and pace inside a classroom environment. This is why many parents turn to maths private tuition in Singapore for their children.
Why calculus is so difficult
In preparation for the O-level and A-level mathematics examinations, the education system teaches the students all the fundamental foundations required. But, naturally, calculus as a subject can be overwhelming for students because the Singapore Maths high school syllabus makes all high school maths subjects intentionally difficult. Thus, the government attempts to strike a delicate balance by providing the best quality textbooks and highly trained teachers for its students.
However, calculus and Singapore Math education does not put much emphasis on applied mathematics, compared to other countries such as the United States. While applied mathematics emphasises data analysis using real-life maths problems that allow students to solve and understand real-life problems, Singapore Maths puts a priority on teaching students theoretical maths.
Other cons of calculus and Singapore Maths
The teaching of Singapore Maths focuses on concepts and the expectation for students is for them to attempt to relate these concepts to real life. This difficulty is even seen in the teaching of statistics, considered as completely an applied maths subject. But again, only the theoretical concepts are taught and theoretical problems are solved. Students are rarely encouraged to even collect data and attempt to analyse them using the concepts that they have learned.
Even if applied maths is done in certain areas, these are generally only small-scale and short processes that won’t have any large impact on students. This focus on more of the theoretical thus causes some students to have difficulties in learning calculus and other Singapore maths subjects. Many of these students could be doing better had there been more of a focus on applied maths. Remember that theoretical maths is more abstract and requires a lot of practice to fully understand it.
However, in the defence of the education system, many experts would argue that it is this emphasis on theoretical maths that gives Singapore students its superiority in mathematics that makes it dominant in maths and sciences in Asia, if not the world. But again, this overemphasis on theoretical maths can be overwhelming for some students and can threaten their future in JC and eventually, for university. This is why many parents turn to maths private tutoring for their children.
From concrete to pictorial
Interestingly, those who are very good at calculus and other Singapore maths subjects find abstract and theoretical learning a good approach to encourage active thinking, understanding, and communication of maths concepts, thus, opening up further concrete to pictorial methods of problem-solving. These methods are often used by schools in the European Union and Southern Hemisphere and have helped students understand and excel in maths. This probably explains why Singapore students excel in maths and science compared to students from other countries.
Some may also argue that the Singapore maths method of learning leads students to be able to build meaningful connections to learning concepts and skills in contrast to the rote memorisation of rules and formulas.
Why hire maths private tutors from FamilyTutor?
FamilyTutor has qualified and experienced tutors – All our tutors have vast teaching and tutoring experience in all Singapore Maths subjects and are all qualified and MOE or NIE certified.
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