Principles of Teaching and PR1ME Mathematics

PR1ME is based on a composite of approaches, used by the top-performing nations in mathematics, and based on Singapore Maths used by over 58 nations globally.


If you want to start to understand how the top performing nations in primary maths education get great results, being aware of some of the stated Principles of Teaching used in Mathematics education in Singapore might help.


Principle 1

Teaching is for learning; learning is for understanding; understanding is for reasoning and applying and, ultimately problem solving.


Principle 2

Teaching should build on students’ knowledge; take cognizance of students’ interests and experiences; and engage them in active and reflective learning.


Primary Mathematics Teaching and Learning Syllabus, Ministry of Education, Singapore, 2012, pp21-22


No doubt, many New Zealand schools and teachers also have these principles central to their maths teaching.


How are these teaching principles delivered so successfully in Singapore?

The Ministry of Education believes that many teachers need support to deliver the curriculum, and acknowledges the role that textbooks play in providing some of the support required. As a result, it assesses all published materials made available to teachers and students in Singapore. It is the way they ensure the integrity of their curriculum is delivered the way they want it to be.


PRIME Mathematics is a collaboration between the Singaporean Ministry of Education and Scholastic. It is designed to give schools outside of Singapore, the benefit of the world-class curriculum and teaching/learning experiences used in Singaporean schools.


Teaching Principle 1: Problem solving

“The learning of mathematics should focus on understanding, not just recall of facts or reproduction of procedures. Understanding is necessary for deep learning and mastery. Only with understanding can students be able to reason mathematically and apply mathematics to solve a range of problems. After all, problem solving is the focus of the mathematics curriculum.”


Primary Mathematics Teaching and Learning Syllabus, Ministry of Education, Singapore, 2012, p21


There is no doubt that for many years, New Zealand teachers have been emphasising the critical importance of problem solving. This is not new. Problem solving is at the heart of the New Zealand Curriculum: Mathematics.


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