The name of the programme, i-Maths, stands for “intelligent mathematics”. It is a special programme to provide young children a strong mathematics foundation to meet the higher standards of mathematics used in modern science and technology.
The Conservative Teaching Method
Dr. Bruce of Oxford University once said that children of tender age might be able to appreciate concepts of high level of intelligence if they had received proper education. Almost all children possess a potential of intelligence. Although, this may not be apparent for in children, it does not mean that they do not have the potential, but it could be due to the inappropriate ways of educating them.
i-Maths comes with a complete set of learning kit that includes: strings, tangram pieces, a square nail-board, colour picture cards, colour building blocks, number stickers, colour chained beads, abacus, and geometrical picture stickers, that allow young children to have a complete hands-on approach to learning mathematics. All the material are tested to be safe for children.
We believe that no matter how lengthy the verbal explanation and elaboration may be, it can never be compared with using real, actual, tangible and multi-senses way of explaining mathematics, hence the use of tangible objects in the learning kit.
It is a norm for mathematics teacher, especially for those who teach young children, to teach the basic concept of mathematics in a direct and unilateral manner. Unfortunately, this method may enable young children to acquire the ability to compute simple calculation, but it does not stimulate or train their ability in thinking and problem solving.
An example of unilateral teaching is the simple question: 1 + 1 =? Most teachers will explain the significance and logic involved in the calculation of 1+1 and say that the answer is 2, and most children would be able to understand this without difficulty, but unfortunately, this does not involve any thinking. With2 such unilateral training, children tend to think only in one direction, i.e. follow the simple rule and find out the answer.
The Reversible Teaching Method
In recent years, researchers and educationists have introduced a rather different or unconventional method of teaching logic in mathematics, which we may call Reversible Teaching Method. The difference of this method in comparison to the conservative one is that it does, to a certain extent, encourage children to think rather than just follow the simple rules of calculation.
Under this teaching method, children are taught answer the question: 1 + (?) = 2. Under such circumstances, the rigid obedience to simple rules is of little help. Therefore, the children would have to understand thoroughly the logic of calculation in both directions, i.e. forward and backward. This teaching method is comparatively better in stimulating thinking.
The i-Maths Teaching Method
This method is unique in the sense that it is only seen in i-Maths and it involves not only thinking skills, but also imagination and creativity. Jung has formulated a method based upon the basis that children need to be taught by using both conservative and reversible methods in helping them understand the rule and logic involved in the arithmetic, but we should not stop there. Further training of thinking skills imagination and creativity have to be incorporated into the teaching.
Under this teaching method, children are taught to find out the answer for the problem : (?) + (?) = 2
In order to find out the answers, children have to be very familiar with the logic behind the rule of arithmetic, then they have to make use of their imagination, creativity and thinking skills to ascertain the possibility and limitation of the answers. Through the process of figuring the possible answer and the different permutation, children would learn to appreciate the logic, reasoning and the significance of such training.
One should not mistakenly assume that the conservative and reversible teaching methods are not helpful in teaching mathematics. However, the i-Maths teaching method is designed based on the modification of these two teaching methods and should be seen as an extension in the training of mental abilities.
Multiple Solutions for a Single Problem
One very important feature throughout the whole of the i-Maths training is that it is a platform designated to encourage children to produce multiple solutions for a single problem.
We are all aware that many mathematical problems do not only have a single solution but multiple solutions. The purpose of encouraging children to find out solutions from all aspect(s) or angles is to train them to see problems or circumstances in a complete and thorough manner, and also the ability to analyst them critically.
Such training does not only enhance the ability of problem solving, but it also encourages children to develop a habit of scrutinizing facts meticulously and thoroughly.