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ERIC Number: EJ1147892
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1029-8457
Implementing the Singapore Mathematics Curriculum in South Africa: Experiences of Foundation Phase Teachers
Naroth, Charmon; Luneta, Kakoma
African Journal of Research in Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, v19 n3 p267-277 2015
This paper reports on the findings from individual interviews and focus group discussions involving six teachers implementing the Singapore Mathematics Curriculum (SMC) in the Foundation Phase (Grade R to Grade 3) in a school in South Africa. The interviews presented an opportunity to explore teachers' experiences with their attempts to use the SMC approach in their classrooms. By the same token, it highlighted the challenges faced by the teachers as they implemented the curriculum, and informed recommendations for the effective implementation of the Singapore mathematics curriculum in South Africa. The SMC identifies problem solving as central to mathematics learning. It defines problem solving as the acquisition and application of mathematics concepts and skills in a wide range of situations, including non-routine, open-ended and real-world problems. Furthermore, the textbook activities are built on a progression from Concrete experience (through the use of manipulatives), to a Pictorial stage (in which learners draw models) and finally to the Abstract level (this is known as the CPA approach). This sequence allows learners to gain a concrete understanding of basic mathematical concepts and relationships before they start working at the abstract level. The teachers identified the following features of the SMC and the textbooks as having a positive impact on implementation: the teachers' guides are user-friendly; the various representations of mathematical concepts, and the connections made between various topics in the Singapore textbooks, supported conceptual understanding; the CPA approach fostered deeper understanding of mathematics and was effective when teaching learners who have special needs and a language barrier; the Singapore framework has significantly fewer topics and follows a spiral organisation in which one layer of content is built on the next; and the use of the manipulatives offered visual and tactile stimulation for the learners and helped improve learning. One of the key challenges identified by the teachers was that they struggled to implement a problem-solving approach and that the learners struggled when engaged in problem-solving activities. The learners also found the bar model drawing challenging. The findings also highlight the problems associated with implementing the SMC simultaneously in all grades and advocate a grade-by-grade implementation strategy.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa; Singapore
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A