Math made easy

FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas - The Philippine Star

One of my past great wishes was to have been introduced to arithmetic by a good teacher when I was a first grader. Sad to say, my teacher was my mother, who was no good in the subject, but good in everything else, from singing to declaiming, to cooking and sewing. And so we both struggled to have me learn addition and subtraction, and memorize the multiplication tables which I failed to do. (I’m ashamed to say I sometimes use my fingers to add up numbers.) I was bored because I did not understand mathematics, geometry and algebra, but somehow, my high school and college instructors gave me passing grades so I could earn a college degree. Thank God, I managed to become a writer, and join the staff of two broadsheets in Manila. That doesn’t surprise everybody, as even the late Carlos P. Romulo, who failed his math subjects, became UN secretary-general, a Pulitzer prize winner, and president of the University of the Philippines.

When I became a mother, I was amazed at how my son Andres breezed through modern math in Xavier School. What trick made him easily work with numbers? Teachers in the know would say, a simplified method of teaching math.

Now here comes a bigger wonder. Two weeks ago, at the media forum Bulong Pulungan sa Sofitel a group of educators presented what my colleague Rina described as “old biddies,” a new generation of teaching materials aimed at helping both students and teachers understand and appreciate the principles of mathematics from kindergarten to high school.

This is the globally acclaimed Singapore math and science teaching method which uses new generation hybrid textbooks. Edcrish International Inc., pioneer and leading supplier of this method, uses the textbook “My Pals Are Here” series, with the collaboration of Marshall Cavendish Education, one of the largest publishers in Singapore.

 As explained by Edcrish International Inc. chair and chief executive Simon Crisostomo E.C.E., the “My Pals Are Here” series teaching method is a world class program that has been widely adopted in Singapore’s primary educational system. Application of the method erases the misconception on the difficulty of teaching the concepts of basic math in the primary level, thus equipping teachers to easily adopt and cascade the new teaching method to the school children.

 The method is based on the concrete approach of Singapore math and science teaching methods through material representation visualization, to pictorial diagrams and drawings of the syllabus from the national curriculum board of Singapore’s Ministry of Education.

The method has gained worldwide recognition as students consistently rank top in international mathematics and science studies, according to Crisostomo.

The series is currently used in the US, United Kingdom, Europe, Asia, and now includes the Philippines. There are over 200 schools in the Philippines now using the Marshall Cavendish Education Singapore (MCE) “My Pals Are Here” series. Among these schools are Ateneo de Manila Grade School, Xavier School, Immaculate Conception Academy, St. Scholastica’s Academy, Assumption, and Southville International School.

The method used in “My Pal Are Here” series is appropriate for young students, said one of the local teachers using the teaching program. The series offers a holistic approach to excellent learning and teaching curriculum, technology and professional development. Students are said to easily take to the tactile and visual approach to learning math, as opposed to the purely abstract way of learning based on memorization which students of the past used in learning numbers.

The teaching materials consist of a set of books for different levels of learners that cost about P200 to P300 per book, plus loadable content through an e-book.

Crisostomo said, “The resurgence of surpassing the country’s competitiveness in math and science education are inseparable from the progress of the people.”

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They must have been good in their modern math and science learning, as well as in other subjects – the five scholars who are set to sign grant agreements tomorrow, Dec. 9, at the Science Education Institute, having been selected for the first ever DOST-Newton Ph.D. Scholarship delivered by the British Council and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

The five scholars will be pursuing their PhDs under the Newton Fund, a 375 million British sterling (equivalent to P2,667,737,283) fund that promotes the economic development and welfare of low-income populations in partnering countries through science and innovation partnerships.

Angelo Aquino will be looking into wind belt technology for harnessing wind power in urban areas, at the University of Sheffield, while Gene Fe Palencia will be focusing on wireless sensor networks for energy microgrid management and control system at Coventry University.

David Gonzales is set to enter the University College London and will be studying the behavior and interactions of bacterial communities to determine factors that can help prevent disease and infection.

Sherdon Niño Uy, on the other hand, will be working with Birmingham City University on developing a system for wind resource assessment, which can aid cities like Manila, in decision-making for small-scale wind turbine placement.

The fifth scholar, Charlie Lavilla Jr., seeks to develop a targeted low-cost food supplementation to treat or prevent muscle damage in people with diabetes and cardiovascular disease. He is set to enter Nottingham Trent University.

The British Council is the UK’s international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities.

Promotional materials say the British Council “creates international opportunities for the people of the UK and other countries and build trust between them worldwide.”

The council works in more than 100 countries and its 7,000 staff – including 2,000 teachers – work with thousands of professionals and policy makers and millions of young people every year by teaching English, sharing the arts, and delivering education and society programs.

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For the benefit of the alumni, mga iskolar ng bayan, and the UP community as a whole, the University of the Phlippines Alumni Association will launch a concert series at the Carillon Park in UP Diliman, Quezon City, in December 2015.

The first concert, entitled “Krismazz Jazz at the Carillon”, will be held on December 10, Thursday, at 6 p.m., featuring The UP Jazz Band, with conductor Prof. Raymundo Maigue.

Admission will be free of charge, with part of the proceeds from sponsorships to be allocated for the maintenance of the Carillon Park and Tower.

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As we are on the subject of bright minds, here’s good news about?researchers being honored for their published research work.

The National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) and Department of Science and Technology (DOST) recognized researchers from different DOST agencies in the recent DOST International Publication Award and DOST Granted Patent/Utility Model Award ceremonies held recently.

The researchers were given a cash prize of P60,000.00 for each published research in Thomson Reuters (formerly ISI) or Scopus indexed journals in the last three years before the year of nomination. A total of 25 published researches were awarded this year.

On the other hand, the Utility Model Award winners received a cash prize of P15,000 each. There are 10 awardees for this year.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Nuclear Research Institute was hailed as best institute for having the most number of awardees for the International Publication Award while the Industrial Technology and Development Institute was recognized for having the most number of awardees for granted utility models this year.

The awards for internationally published researches was started in 2013 as an incentive for DOST scientists and researchers. In 2014, granted patents and utility models of DOST technology generators were added to the scope of the awards.

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Email: [email protected]


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