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Posts Tagged ‘Abacus & Mental Arithmetic

This is a good site with input from parents who have sent their children to Abacus & Mental Arithmetic class in China.

http://baby.sina.com.cn/edu/2006-04-14/104516717.shtml

Pros:

Some kids really improve and gain confident in Maths. They can solve the mathematics problem faster by half the time compare to their classmates in school. Some even said good improvement in focus, response, memory, right-brain training, …

Cons:

Some kids find the program dull and stressful. And some even become more confused and cannot even get 3+5 without using the hands.

I think quite a good info gathered there.

 

 

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After so many posts on Global Maths Mental Arithmetics, I feel like I need to clarify that, it doesn’t mean that Global Maths is the best of all in Maths and a must go. There are a lot of Maths classes like Kumon, Enopi, Math Monkey, etc out there.

We visited some, and we like some other class as much as we like Global Maths. Just that after all the survey, we choose this one as it is the best fit.

We actually like Enopi a lot. Just that the center most convenient to us, we don’t quite like the environment and the teachers there. My husband even commented, “If only we can sign up to get the worksheets they are using, you can teach them yourself at home.” …

Ya, if I have not spent my money on the previous Reading center, I might consider taking up this Franchise… after all I like teaching, I like beautiful pictures and I love Maths. If you compare Enopi worksheets and Kumon one, they are more lively for younger children, as there are colourful drawings used in the questions.

But but, that doesn’t mean Kumon is not good. I witness a boy having trouble with Maths when he was 6 years old, after a year in Kumon, now he is doing fraction, already passes those +, -, x, ÷.  I remember a comment from a Kumon center’s Principal, the program really required discipline and determination. She sees a lot of children make it through but also has students, already standard 5 still not able to do the +, -, x, ÷ properly. And similarly, Kumon is solving on the formula questions, not on 应用题。

If you are interested in Maths, the next thing you can check it out is the Maths Olympiad.

Just an update, Ying was doing fine today. They separated the girls and put them into different classes, so that bigger kids in one class, younger kids like Ying in another. More manageable I guess.

Ying was ok.

When I picked her up. She even told me “Do you know, my teacher is called Teacher Pinkie.”

And as usual, I asked, “Girls, do you enjoy the class?”

I got a loud “Yes.”

Ling was progressing fine in Global Maths as she has learnt some basic from her school.

Ying was very very nervous during her second lesson, as she was seated apart from her sister (though just separated by a small walkway). She was biting her fingers, biting her pencil, even biting her dress.. which I’ve never seen her doing before. I was quite concerned and was waiting outside and watching her from the door window, for the whole 2 hours. Half way through,  I had a talk with the Principal and both of us came to the concensus that let Ying tried for another two lessons, and we shall monitor her progress to determine whether to continue or take a break until Ying is more ready then. At least the Principal is sensitive enough – well I might be a little bit too ‘kan cheong’ about my two princesses too.

It took Ying almost an hour to finally felt comfortable with the teachers and the class. I guess she has not been used to such a serious classroom based teaching as well. Luckily the teachers were patient enough to help her out and sometimes gave Ying a high-5 when Ying managed to answer it correctly. Ya, that is Ying’s style also. She needs a lot of praises one… hahaha..

At the end of the class, I asked the teacher whether she can cope or not, the teacher said yes.

At home, I asked Ying whether she likes the class or not, she also said yes. …

.. mm.. will see next week.

Was checking Ling’s school Weekly Summary Report, and her worksheets. Saw the Mental Arithmetics worksheets she had done.

Eh! Not bad wor.. The teacher do teach formula, like +4=+5-1. Not bad at all. …

Ya, I recalled in the Parents Interview, Teacher Beau feedback that Ling was doing well, have correct hands posture. They did explain that the progress is slow because only once a week, and as they are just starting the class, so teacher will do one-to-one teaching to help those children to pick up. And since this is just additional, non-school-syllabus kind of thing, so no homework on this so far.

Now I compared the Global Maths, ya, it’s 2 hours each lesson, and as beginner, we are advised to come twice a week, and there are homeworks to practise what they’ve learn.

Signed up the girls for one term. Since Ling likes it (even the one in school), and they have been really bored at home after class, and so coincident also the time slot fits our schedule, and most importantly,…  I managed to collect some funding from daddy, after nagging him that the girls can learn and pick up in their enrichment classes, why not let them try while they still have free time, some more the center is quite near my place, I don’t mind sending, bla bla bla….

Finally daddy bought in. So there they go, the two girls went for their Global Maths class happily.

As Ling learns in school before, so there is no problem for her. Some more the teacher is teaching 1-to-1 in a way.

For Ying, she was first asked to do some writing exercise, write from 1 to 0, before they started her on the Abacus. They show her how to hold the pencil, the position for the hands and how to hold the Abacus, the way to clear the beads… Then they started teaching her the action for +1, -1, +2, -2, … +5, -5 using the Abacus. Ying was so excited when finally she could do with the Abacus for the first time in her life.

Then they started her on exercise to tell a number from a picture of beads. Like, a bead above the line is 5;  continue counting whatever beads below the line to get the number. Ying was sigh and cautious.  And the teacher did the exercise with her using Mandarin.

Ok. Ying can recite numbers in Mandarin. But then she doesn’t know 九 is equivalent to 9; and 七 is equivalent to 7. So she stopped after telling the correct answer to teacher, as she didn’t know which numeric to write into the book. … In a way, it’s good also for Ying to pick up numbers in Chinese.

And one thing I noticed, they didn’t really teach what is plus 加, what is minus 减 ; no explaining of plus is adding and minus is taking away. Luckily Ying is already familiar with that. May be this is the first lesson and they will come to that later. I am not sure. Now I am really curious how they are going to teach multiply and divide, as I asked this question to the wife of the founder, she assured me  that they will explain first what is multiply and divide before hitting the Abacus. ..  will see..

I still remember that in a Math paper, the question that carries the most mark is 应用题.

And I always believe that on top of knowing all the mathematics concepts and rules, the most important skill required to tackle 应用题 is possessing a good reading skill. E.g. If you are in Chinese primary school, the Maths paper is in Chinese. So, if you are not able to read in Chinese, don’t know what is the story about for that question ( 应用题), no matter how good and fast you can calculate by heart, it is useless, as you don’t know whether you should do a plus or a minus or a multiply.

I remember writing about this before, and sorry for being long winded, but really, just want to stress the important of reading skill in maths paper, if you want to score.

We actually visited Global Maths, Kumon, E-nopi, .. so far, we like E-nopi the most, as they have segregated their program to two parts: Basic Math and Critical Thinking Math. I personally like their teaching materials. But then we didn’t sign the girl up (though they love it also, actually they love all classes, just we dont have $$$), because we are not quite satisfy with the teachers and the environment in the centers near my place. If only I can get the materials (the booklets), …

p.s. I like Maths. I love Maths. I was good in Maths.. never took tuition and Maths was always the subject I had confident to score. And because of some stupid reason, I took Biology instead of Double Maths in my STPM. So the whole two years of my Form 6, I enjoyed the Maths and Physic class the most, and just let the mind wandering about when it came to Biology. Never even touch the two thick Biology books if not exam.

During the Biology practical exam, I couldn’t even differentiate whether the frog I dissected was male and female. Tried to get some clue from the 监考 teacher, asking whether the black black things were the frog eggs , etc.. well, not success. .. finally simply drew a “unisex” one… hahaha… and luckily can still get a “C” for that paper.


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