Friday, February 27, 2009

Temasek Foundation Singapore & Population and Community Development Association Thailand Project

In this Temasek Foundation funded project, Population and Community Development Association (PDA) in Thailand has put up a Train The Trainers (TOT) Project. The idea is that teachers and principals are trained in the curriulum and management system used at the Lamplaimaat Pattana School in Buriram, a school that has a track record on par with that of private schools in the nation. The one-day training on effective teaching and learning of mathematics served as a case study to help teachers think about curriculum implementation and for principals to think about how they can sustain and implement high-quality programmes.

It was encouraging too see even the school principals thinking hard to come up with the solutions to the problems posed to them. And did they have good and interesting ways of solving those mathematics problems! I hope the general message about shifting the focus from memorizing fatcs, carrying out procedures without understanding and doing tedious clerical tasks like computations to intellectual tasks like doing visualization, looking for connections, developing number sense, developing metacognition and enhancing communication came across during the seminar.
There were 200 participants on each of the two days. So, I was glad to have the opportunity to influence the thinking of 400 people who are in the position to do something to make the learning process in schools effective and enjoyable. There were also three teacher trainers from a teacher training institute in Luang Prabang, Laos.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Teacher Workshop @ Queenstown Primary School

The workshop was on developing visualization in primary mathematics. An interesting point raised by one of the teachers is whether it was easy for students to visualize. It set me thinking and I then suggested that visualization may well has a cognitive component as well as an affective component. Another way to put it is that it has a skill component - can visualize or not - as well as a habit component - is the mind in the habit of seeing the same thing in different ways or not. Thus, can students see that 2/3 dividied by 4 is the same as 1/4 of 2/3, 1/2 of 1/3 as well as 1/6 of the whole depends both on the possession of the skill to interpret diagrams as well as the habit of being able to interpret the same diagram in different ways.