What is our teaching approach? At Matrix Math, we teach our students so that they can pass their exams, but we go way beyond that. We believe that learning maths, or any subject for that matter, shouldn’t be about passing an exam. It should be for real understanding of the subject matter so that it can be applied in real life.
Our teaching approach – We love teaching innovation
Our teaching approach involves methods of teaching that facilitate this. Take a recent study conducted by the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, for example.
Teaching differently gets better results
In collaboration with four research teams in France, UNIGE developed ACE-ArithmEcole, a programme designed to help schoolchildren surpass their intuition and informal knowledge, and rely instead on the use of arithmetic principles. And they got results. More than half (50.5%) of the students who took part were able to solve difficult problems, as compared to only 29.8% for pupils who followed the standard course of study.
The method, based on semantic re-encoding, gets students to achieve knowledge in arithmetic at an early age. At the end of the school year, the UNIGE team reviewed 10 classes of children aged 6 to 7. In five classes, known as the control classes, the teachers had taught maths in a conventional way. In the other five classes, they had implemented the ACE-ArithmEcole method which encouraged students to practise semantic re-encoding. By this we mean, for example, getting them to reframe their understanding of a problem, such as “Joe has 22 sweets. He eats 5. How many does he have left?” Instead of thinking of subtraction and a loss, they should see it as the calculation of a difference, or a distance that has to be measured. This is just like our teaching approach.
After a year of teaching based on this practice, the UNIGE researchers evaluated the method by asking the pupils to solve problems that were divided into three main categories: combination, comparison, and money change problems.
The results were unmistakeable. Of the students that were taught the ACE-ArithmEcole method, 63.4% gave correct answers to the problems that were easy to simulate mentally, and 50.5% found the answers to the more complex problems. In contrast, only 42.2% of the pupils in the standard curriculum succeeded in solving simple problems, and only 29.8% gave the right answer to the complex problems.
This is our teaching approach at Matrix Math, encouraging our students to look at things differently and take different approaches to solving problems.