Singapore Math in Ghana: Working with Teachers at the Association International School

Association International Teachers gives "thumbs up" on Singapore Math

Sometimes, life throws you the most wonderful curve balls. Late in July, I was contacted by Audrey Doryumu, Head of the Association International School in Accra, Ghana. Six weeks later, I was on my way to spend a week working with her teachers as they prepared to teach Singapore Math.

Association International School (AIS) has a student body that is both local and global; many students attend AIS while their parents are posted in Ghana for work, giving it a wonderful diversity of experience. International teachers provide unique perspectives to the school’s students as well.  The school prides itself on working with the Ghanian, British, and American systems of education and plans to offer an International Baccalaureate Diploma Program when it grows to include 11th &12th grades.

Morning Open House for new students was crowded!

Implementing Singapore Math

Association International School  is so excited to be the first school in Ghana to use Singapore’s Primary Mathematics. Head of School Audrey Doryumu considered starting the Primary Mathematics Standards Edition for the students last school year, but wanted to ensure students had the necessary place value skills to truly be successful and on grade level. The teachers spent last school year backfilling some gaps and hitting place value concepts hard, and feel students are ready to go with Primary Mathematics materials this year.

Delivery to Ghana is a challenge, so the books were delivered first to New Jersey, then sent in shipping containers to Accra. The school is still awaiting some workbooks for new students.

 Always more to learn!

After four invigorating  days of training with Singapore Math concepts and materials, we ended our week with a test. That’s right, each teacher took the “A”-book placement test for the grade level they will be teaching.

The 5th – 7th team tackled the 5A placement test and found much to discuss (and debate!) over this question:

Estimate the value of 492,396 x 7.

Should they be thinking 500,000 x 7 or 500,000 x 10?

The fourth grade team discovered that teaching mental math was going to require some practice on their part. I always mention that we, as teachers are “handicapped by our superior knowledge“. We know algebra and we have certain strategies for computation that we are used to using. The mental math strategies taught in Primary Mathematics are different than many teachers have worked with and it is important to practice to become fluent with them, particularly if teachers are used to relying on pen & paper. (Or mobile phones).

Second Grade was surprised to see students were expected to know the equivalence of pounds and grams.

18. Fill in the blanks with lb or oz.
(a) The apple weighs about 6 _____.
(b) The watermelon weighs about 5 _____.
(c) 28 grams weigh about the same as 1 ______ .

We pulled out the 2A text book and found the only reference to this on a textbook page. There was no additional discussion included in the Teacher’s Guide.

Having teachers new to Primary Mathematics take their placement test was a fabulous learning exercise for the teachers and one I’m sure I’ll be using again.

It was such a pleasure to visit AIS and spend time with their committed, professional teachers and staff. Thank you Audrey Doryumu, for inviting me to Ghana and giving me the opportunity to work with Association International School. I look forward to visiting the school next spring to get an update on their Singapore Math  adoption and to see how far the students and teachers have come.

By the way, Association International is always interested in bringing exceptional teachers to Ghana. If you’re looking for a rewarding teaching experience, contact their Human Resources department.

Last year, former U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan visited the school:

 

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About Cassy

Passionate about Singapore Math + Teacher Trainer and Coach + Treasure Hunter + Learner. Answer to the ultimate question? 42.

Comments

  1. Angel Okrah says:

    Hello Cassy: It’s great to learn that another school in Ghana is using Singapore Math Books. The Amos Okrah School in Kumasi started using Singapore Math Books for their Math curriculum in in 2009. The Phoenix Chapter of The Links Inc. sponsors the program as part of STEM component for the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention for Youth Program.

  2. Wonderful to hear! Can you share more about the school?
    I guess that makes Association International the first in Accra then.

  3. Angel Okrah says:

    Glad to share more. Here is a link about the school: http://www1.phoenixlinksinc.org/program/international-trends-and-services

    We started the program at the Amos Okrah SDA school with the 3rd grade and have purchased Singapore Math books each successive year as the class progressed. Because of the books and their successful application in the math curriculum, Peace Corps assigned a volunteer to work at the school to help teach the Math Classes.

    Nyantakyi Boateng is Head Master of the school.

  4. Angel Okrah says:

    BTW, the school is located in Wonoo, a village just outside of Kumasi.

  5. Great! I’d love to stop by and see how they are using the materials the next time I’m in Ghana!

  6. Valerie Hanna-Wells says:

    Perhaps the Bahamas should look into the Singapore’s math curriculum.

    Valerie Hanna-Wells.
    Hannaian International Realty
    Broker.

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