“The teaching of mathematics should be regarded initially as an extension of the teaching of language.”
– Frank B. Allen, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics, 1988
The Learning Nexus Program® is a specially written curriculum in language acquisition, math initiation and tutoring for children ages 5 to 10.
To understand what the Learning Nexus Program® is about, one first needs to know what Singapore Math is.
“Singapore Math” is the generic term given to the curriculum taught in elementary schools in Singapore, a tiny, prosperous island nation in South East Asia. It has been closely studied and hailed as “powerful”, “clever” and “effective by US academics, homeschoolers, schools and the media in the US. Its success has prompted its adoption in many countries.
Since its inception in 1995, students from Singapore have consistently come out top in every Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) four yearly assessments of students from over 60 countries. Singapore Math’s success is evident in that US, UK and Israel have adopted its use.
The Learning Nexus Program® takes the principles that made Singapore Math such a runaway success one step further. Our curriculum specialist has studied, taught, administered and brought up two children of her own in the Singapore education system. After all, who would know the strengths and weaknesses of Singapore Math more than someone who has had firsthand experience both as a learner and teacher of the Singapore Primary Mathematics syllabus.
“Mathematics and language are inexorably linked.”
– T.C. Dale and G.J. Cuevas, 1992
Designed to include a strong language component, the Learning Nexus Program® provides the scaffolding students need to acquire the skills necessary for mastery of most academic subject areas. Our literacy driven curriculum’s approach is simple and direct -make it fun, exciting and uncluttered.
“Three Rs” – Reading, writing and arithmetic (mathematics) are useful and powerful brain tools.
Language acquistion is a complex process which equips children with skills that are helpful in preparing them for mathematical thinking and sense-making.
Everything we think is in WORDS.
- 12 is 5 more than 7
- How many inches are there in 2 ½ feet?
- In a race, Bob came in 3rd place, John was two places ahead of him and Jim was 5 places behind John. What places did John and Jim come in?
- Andy had 300 marbles. He gave 1/5 to Mary and 3/8 of the remainder to Tommy. How many marbles did he give to Mary? How many marbles did Tommy get from Andy?
A student will not be able to solve the problems if he has not learned the meaning of each word and how they are strung together to convey a message.
“natural language, gradually expanded to include symbolism and logic, is the key to both the learning of mathematics and its effective application to problem situations. And above all, the use of appropriate language is the key to making mathematics intelligible. Indeed, in a very real sense, mathematics is a language. Proficiency in this language can be acquired only by long and carefully supervised experience in using it in situations involving argument and proof.”
– Frank B. Allen
Children take that magical journey into the world of language long before consciously knocking on the door of mathematics. While it may seem that language and mathematics involve different domains of thinking, there are also many overlapping thought process, e.g. storytelling both involve abstract thinking.
Before we get carried away with making sure our students are able to solve complex problems, let us first ensure that our students are skilled in reading for comprehension. Failure to do so will only result in disenchanted students who will believe they are incapable of mathematics. After all, schools have already set the tone by calling the finding an answer to an unknown in mathematics a “problem”.
As the good professor says:
“We must not dissipate our energies in dealing with a bewildering array of specific problems. This prepares the student, at best, to deal with similar problems. No. We must focus on building proficiency in the formalized natural language required to apply the thinking process in mathematics. Only then can we open the channels of communication which will enable our students to profit by more advanced instruction. Only then can we prepare our students to cope effectively with problems which are today unforeseen and unforeseeable.”
In an effort to bring about a change in attitude in how students view mathematics, we have put together the Learning Nexus Program® where students will acquire conceptual understanding through associated learning situations, moving from the concrete to the pictorial to the abstract and from pure to applied mathematics.
Instead of solving “problems”, students in the Learning Nexus Program® will take the role of adventurers who unravel the mysteries of “quotients, fractions, equations, angles, data …” in their journey through the world of math.
We ensure our curriculum is responsive, current and relevant to the fast paced world by keeping with the latest studies and trends in education.