Saturday, June 15, 2013

Singapore Math Learning Festival in Davao

“Singapore Math Learning Festival in Davao”
Sun.Star Davao, June 15, 2013

For the last two decades, Singapore Math consistently ranks as the top Math program in the world as measured by U.S. and international studies.

What makes Singaporean students the best in Mathematics?

Dr. Queena Lee-Chua and son Scott unraveled the mysteries of Singapore Math to more than 160 educators, parents and math enthusiasts during the Singapore Math Learning Festival held recently at the Ateneo de Davao University (Matina campus). The well-attended event was organized by the Galileo Enrichment Learning Center Davao.

A multi-awarded mathematician, educator, writer and psychologist, Dr. Queena is regarded as one of the leading authorities in Singapore Math in the country. On the other hand, her son Scott, at age 15, is a Palanca awardee, Math whiz and author.

Concrete vs. abstract

Dr. Queena explains that it is crucial for children during their developmental stage that they be taught concrete ideas before abstract ones. This is because children maximize their learning if they feel, see or hear their lessons.

Since math is an abstract concept, making it comprehensible has become a challenge for educators in teaching young students.

“In Singapore, the educators have found a way to concretize math that is understandable by children”, points out Dr. Queena.

According to Galileo Enrichment Learning Center, “Singapore Math translates math concepts into models that help students visualize the operations. Numbers are represented by boxes and brackets, and the positions of these boxes determine which operation to use. Students do not memorize dozens of formulas. In contrast, they break each problem down to its simplest form and use the basic operations to solve it”.

Mastering and understanding math

During their plenary talk, the mother and son tandem discussed how Singapore Math can help the students’ analytical and problem-solving skills. They likewise emphasized the importance of mastery and understanding, considered as the key features of Singapore Math, in order to develop one’s critical thinking skills.

The talk likewise gave educators and parents the opportunity to personally solve math problems utilizing the Singapore Math method. This method is so effective that Dr. Queena revealed that what was once deemed as high school level Math can now be solved by a grade-schooler without any difficulty.  

After the plenary talk, break-out sessions were held in the afternoon with the following topics: "Paradigm Shift: Adopting Singapore Math" by Mr. Lucio Landanganon (Subject Area Head in Math of Ateneo de Davao Grade School Department); "Concrete Activities to Enhance Math Skills" by Ms. Maribeth Lamis, operations manager of Galileo Head Office and also the official trainer of Singapore Math; and "Using Innovative Activities in Teaching Geometry & Fractions" by Dr. Flordeliza Francisco, a Ph.D. in Math professor of Ateneo de Manila University.    

Singapore Math Learning Festival

“The main reason why we decided to hold the Singapore Math Learning Festival Regional in Davao City is because it is in line with Galileo's advocacy to help uplift the education standard in the country.  The best way to start it is to conduct it here in Davao City - which is the most populous region and is the trade, commerce and industry hub in Mindanao”, says Ms. Julie Tiu, director of the Galileo Enrichment Learning Center Davao and herself a BS Math and Computer Science graduate from the Ateneo de Manila University.

Julie shares that there were three types of participants to the event: private school teachers; young parents, tutors and other professionals; and public school teachers who were sponsored by big companies which had an advocacy for education.

“I am grateful to the companies who sponsored the public school teachers to the seminar. They believe that by training these teachers, they will hopefully apply the teaching ideas and insights from the festival to their classrooms and homes. Students from public schools will also benefit from the learning event”.

“Many of the attendees were from far-away places like Sultan Kudarat, Maragusan, etc. who traveled 5-7 hours because they were regular readers of Dr. Queena’s Philippine Daily Inquirer column, “Eureka”. They came to Davao to hear her talk in person. These are teachers who have joined her “Eureka” readers’ contests and who were past winners of these contests”, enthuses Julie.

Participants to the Singapore Math Festival enjoyed their giveaway bags teeming with magazines, notebooks, folders, pens, and erasers courtesy of GH Office Depot; free coffee from Blugre and Coffee Bean (with free cookies); doughnuts from Krispy Kreme; lunch from Marina Tuna, and lots of prizes such as the bestselling books of Dr. Queena, gift items and certificates from sponsors Coca Cola, Outland Adventure, Power Mac and Bert Lozada Swimming School. 

Other sponsors included Security Bank, Bank of the Philippine Islands Foundation, Marco Polo, Regency Inn, Phil Daily Inquirer, Sun.Star Davao, Rex Bookstore, Vibal Publishing, Prulife, Allegro, Trust Hardware, Vice Mayor Paolo Duterte and Cong. Karlo Nograles.

“Overall, the response of the teachers was overwhelmingly positive.  They appreciated the event, and requested to be informed of any future seminars or trainings that Galileo Enrichment Learning Center will be conducting”, ends Julie with a smile.

Galileo Enrichment Learning Center is located at 27A Dacudao Avenue, Davao City.  Tel #:  (082)2210268;  0922-8501650. Website:

Special thanks to Davao Christian High School student Chang Fan Li for the event photos.

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