Improving Mental Maths with Tas from the Tutorfair Foundation

October 08, 2019 by Hannah
Image One of the Foundation’s most prolific volunteers, Tas F, has set up Arithmetic Intelligence - an elite Maths club aimed specifically at elevating the arithmetic capabilities and mental Maths skills in young learners. We asked Tas to tell us more about Arithmetic Intelligence...

What is Arithmetic Intelligence?

‘In my experience as a Maths tutor,’ says Tas, ‘it is vital for learners to master arithmetic operations as it helps them to build a strong foundation in Maths, especially from a very young age.’

With numeracy, we know that confidence is key. Helping learners to feel at ease with Maths helps them come to enjoy the subject and never feel threatened by it. Arithmetic Intelligence teaches learners to approach problems through visualisation rather than memorisation, helping to boost confidence by enabling them to work arithmetic operations mentally at speed.

‘So often, students will memorise a formula without knowing how and when to apply it to a problem. By learning to visualise problems, learners are able to decipher the relevant mathematical concepts at play and find their way to a solution much more quickly.’

The club’s Maths practice is underpinned by two very successful methods of Maths that aren’t usually taught to students in the UK. These are Japanese Soroban (Abacus) Maths and Singaporean Maths. Using these methods, ‘students acquire and apply mathematical concepts and methods that they actually enjoy using, often developing a keen interest in Maths as a result.’

So what do we know about these methods?

Soroban (Abacus) Maths

The Soroban (Abacus) is a calculating board that has been widely used in Japan, China and Korea since time immemorial. With the help of the Soroban board, students develop a profound understanding of place value, building strong conceptual foundation to underpin their learning. Thereafter, students are able to visualise numbers and perform advanced arithmetic operations mentally and with great ease. Myriad research has established that students who use the abacus not only develop stronger mental Maths skills, but also improve their ability to concentrate, memorise information and solve problems.

Singapore Maths

Developed in the 1980s, the Singapore method aims to help children solve Maths problem with visual aids – either concrete materials or pictorial aids. Also known as the CPA, the Concrete Pictorial Abstract approach to learning suggests that learners develop mathematical thinking by understanding how something works – not by memorising formulae.

Starting by solving simple word problems, learners are taught to use visualisation and pictorial concepts to find solutions, gradually applying and developing their mathematical thinking to process more and more complex stimuli.

Tas is proud to say that, using the advanced arithmetic skills and problem-solving abilities learned during Arithmetic Intelligence classes, many of her students have won certificates of excellence in Maths at their respective schools

If you’d like to find out more about Arithmetic Intelligence, you can visit the website here
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