Maths teachers learn new Singaporean method

  • Counting up: training, from Maths No Problem, for private and public mathematics teachers during a seminar this week. Shown are Margo Furbert, left, Warwick Academy primary maths co-ordinator; Andy Psarianos, CEO of Maths No Problem; Rebeka Sousa, president of the Bermuda Council of Teachers of Mathematics; Yeap Ban Har, consultant; Jill Finnigan, senior teacher; Julia Neal of Maths No Problem (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)

    Counting up: training, from Maths No Problem, for private and public mathematics teachers during a seminar this week. Shown are Margo Furbert, left, Warwick Academy primary maths co-ordinator; Andy Psarianos, CEO of Maths No Problem; Rebeka Sousa, president of the Bermuda Council of Teachers of Mathematics; Yeap Ban Har, consultant; Jill Finnigan, senior teacher; Julia Neal of Maths No Problem (Photograph by Jonathan Bell)


A game-changing course based on Singapore methods has been delivered to maths teachers at public and private schools.

Training, from the international firm Maths No Problem, was provided to Warwick Academy teachers, as well as public primary and middle schoolteachers.

Andy Psarianos, chief executive of the company, said the programme was based on the successful education system in Singapore.

Mr Psarianos said: “Singapore’s success was quite remarkable — unheard of.

“Singapore is at the top of the league tables, but they didn’t used to be.”

He added the small southeast Asian republic is an “outlier in education”.

Mr Psarianos said: “When they changed their system of education, they shot to the top in 1995.

“A decade before, they were at the bottom.”

Singapore, which has a population of 5.6 million, is also top for ease of conducting business and ranked the world’s most competitive country.

Maths No Problem, a British-based professional development and textbook company, sends its trainers worldwide to run events such as this week’s three-day seminar at Warwick Academy.

The course was sponsored by professional services firm Deloitte.

Mr Psarianos said: “We help jurisdictions like Bermuda adopt methodologies that are used around the world, but especially in Singapore.”

About 70 teachers were trained by Yeap Ban Har, a consultant who heads the company’s professional development unit, from Monday to Wednesday.

Jill Finnigan, a senior teacher at Warwick Academy, said three teachers from the school who were sent in 2017 to a course in London with Dr Ben Har had come back “raving about their experience”.

She added: “We decided then and there to bring Dr Ban Har here to share knowledge not only with our school but other educators.”

Members of the Bermuda Council of Teachers of Mathematics, headed by Rebeka Sousa, joined the programme.

After a team from Warwick Academy met Kalmar Richards, the Commissioner of Education, the course was advertised to teachers in public primary and middle schools.

Ms Finnigan said teachers who took in the course part had to be members of the BCTM or join the group to “make sure there was a continuation of the ideas learnt on the course”.

Dr Ban Har said the research-based method used in Singapore combined a variety of techniques in the classroom for more effective learning.

He said: “It encourages teachers to let students explore problems and discuss it in class instead of teaching maths in one way.”

He added techniques from around the world are combined in the “Singapore strategy”.

Dr Ban Har said: “Teachers are teachers and the same everywhere.

“From the responses I get, many are still teaching not in the way we are describing, but maybe still doing things traditionally.”

Margo Furbert, the primary maths co-ordinator at Warwick Academy, added: “If we could get our key stakeholders in education aware of this approach, we could revolutionise teaching in our island.”

Ms Furbert added: “I wish that I had been taught this way.”

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Published Aug 29, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Aug 29, 2019 at 8:02 am)

Maths teachers learn new Singaporean method

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