Montreal learning centre focuses on teaching Singapore math to young students

Click to play video: 'Seriously Addictive Mathematics'
Seriously Addictive Mathematics
Erminio Zappitelli and Julia Yaglioglu from Seriously Addictive Math join Global's Laura Casella to talk about Singapore math. – Sep 11, 2017

Learning math can be challenging for many children, but according to Montreal’s Seriously Addictive Mathematics (SAM) president Erminio Zappitelli, it doesn’t need to be.

SAM offers math classes to children between the ages of four to 12 using a method known as Singapore math.

For those not in the know, Zappitelli clarified that math is math no matter where you are.

“The content itself is the same but the methodology is different,” he said.

Prior to the 1980s, Singapore taught math using a computational method with students ranking very low internationally, according to Zappitelli.

READ MORE: Ontario to review school curriculum as student math scores decline

The low rankings led to a complete overhaul of the mathematics curriculum in that country.

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“By 1991, they were ranked No.1 in the world,” Zappitelli said. “They turned their mathematics concept from computation to problem-solving.”

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Julia Yaglioglu, SAM’s director, said that while the concepts taught in Singapore math align with Quebec’s math curriculum, the method is unique.

“It allows us to really teach not just the how in mathematics, but also the why,” she said.

“So by understanding the why, the children are able to apply the computational math in different situational problems.”

READ MORE: Is discovery-based learning hurting Canadian math scores?

The idea is to move away from learning by rote.

“We steer away from memorization and we promote and encourage the children to use their logical thought and critical thinking.”

The centre offers after-school programs and weekend classes in small group settings.

READ MORE: Alberta takes steps to improve students’ math marks

Classes are tailored to students’ needs, according to Yaglioglu.

“It can be adapted for children who are struggling and need a lot of assistance,” she said. “But the program is also designed for the very bright students so we’re able to challenge them and take them much further and really give them something to look forward to really engage with math.”

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Due to high demand, SAM will be opening a new location in Pierrefonds. The original location on Décarie was opened about 18 months ago.

Zappitelli said people are starting to understand the importance of mathematics in everyday life and giving children the ability to succeed.

“When you challenge your children and engage them in the math process, give them an opportunity to really understand what’s going on, it creates a different dynamic,”  which according to Zappitelli is what SAM strives for.

For more information, visit the SAM website.

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