Galileo Enrichment Learning Program: 2nd Singapore Math Learning Festival in the Philippines

Galileo’s 2nd Singapore Math Learning Festival in the Philippines was held last February 9, 2013 at the Crowne Plaza, Ortigas Center. The Galileo Enrichment Learning Program (visit their website here and twitter.) offers Singapore Math classes to children and this conference aims to enlighten educators, parents, and school administrators on what Singapore Math really is all about and how will it help our education system. 

See photos here. 

The registration opened by 8:00 A.M. We were given a stamp card that needed to be filled by the sponsoring booths on the said event so we checked all the booths first before entering the Plenary Hall. The ceremony was opened by the Opening remarks of Ma. Rowena J. Matti – CEO of Galileo followed by the Keynote Address by Fe A. Hidalgo, Ph.D. who explained the K-12 Curriculum and the DepEd’s Math framework. 

The Main lecture of the conference was by Quenna N. Lee-Chua Ph.D. together with her son Scott L. Chua. This is my favorite part of the conference since Singapore Math was explained thoroughly – how it started from one school and why it is adopted continuously by other schools in the Philippines. I was amazed that 200 plus schools now offers Singapore Math. I thought schools here in Manila (exclusive and private schools) only adopted it. As a Multi-awarded educator and Full Professor at the Ateneo de Manila University, Quenna N. Lee- Chua Ph.D. stressed out the advantages of learning Singapore Math compared to Traditional Math. The main part of the lecture is showing how to solve different kinds of Math problems in the Singapore Math way. Scott answered and explained very well (if I must say) all the steps on how to do it. The audience then participated when Scott asked for volunteers to answer some problems. This is one conference that I really enjoyed since everyone has a paper and pen and started to solve the problems. It’s a good interaction and you can see that everyone concentrated and all eyes are on the lecturer (and he’s just a student!). 

After the Plenary Lecture, lunch was served and we went outside the hall to visit the other booths at the conference. 

The second part of the Plenary Lecture discussed by Dr. Vicente Chua Reyes focused on the Singapore education system and explained why and how do the Singaporeans managed to be a progressive country. This part was a bit eye-opener since you cannot help but compare their education system to ours. They put a great importance on their education system and try to improve it more – which I believed can be done also in the Philippines. 

The last part is the learning session. We (with my sister), chose the Singapore Math Manipulatives and Activities to Enhance Math Skills by Ms. Maribeth Lamis. We opt for this since we’re both teaching and this can give us more ideas on what other activities to use for our students. Manipulatives such as Multilink Cube, Base Ten Blocks, Number Board, and Geoboard were explained and we were also given problems to solve by the use of these manipulatives. It was fun, we learned other techniques but it’s time constrained. We learned to select the appropriate manipulative for a certain lesson, what activity to use, and how to organize it.

The other learning sessions are: 

·         Singapore Math: Basics and Beyond by Ms. Shiarell Loida Cruz
·         Meaningful Math at Home and Elsewhere by Ms. Milona Baracca
·         Providing Learning Opportunities through Problem Solving by Mr. Tom N. Chu
·         Strategies that CLICK: Using innovative activities in teaching Geometry and Fractions by Dr. Flordeliza Francisco
·         How Singapore Math Builds a Solid Foundation For Algebraic Success by Mr. Emmanuel Cabral
·         Real Life Project Based Learning: Extending Meaning in Math by Mr. Joseph Palattao
·         Program Essentials : Nuts and Bolts of Singapore Math Program Implementation in Schools by Ms. Michelle Flores 

To sum it up, the speakers gave their final word. I jotted some (not verbatim), and added my own words, for us to ponder. 

Parents’ involvement is important. If you want to know what your kid is learning, be involved. How can you teach it to them if you don’t even know how to, right? This is also applicable in any learning system (Singapore Math or not) – that we should be hands-on in any learning development of our children. May it be self-training or enrolling to a learning center, the important thing is for us to comprehend the basics and application of Singapore Math. As for the materials, don’t think it’s expensive. You can improvise and DIY some of the manipulatives and models used in teaching. 

Teachers/Practitioners/Educators involvement is another important thing. We should master it in order for us to share it to others. We should welcome the possibilities of applying new teaching strategies, like Singapore Math, so that we can teach it to our students. Commitment is needed. Teaching it is just one thing – learn to apply it so that the students can understand it more. 

Is it possible to combine Singapore Math to our Traditional Math?

Yes, it’s possible. Our curriculum now, K-12, is closely related to Singapore Math. The spiral curriculum in K-12 makes it more related to it. I saw and review the curriculum many times and I believe it’s better. Math is a universal language, some things don’t need changing. Besides, as early as grade 1, we are teaching kids patterns – that’s Algebra in higher Math. So even before, the concept of Singapore Math is related to our education system. Singapore Math is not a replacement. It is a way of developing. It is just branded for it. Singapore is known for it that’s why it’s called Singapore Math. With it, critical thinking and problem solving skills are being improved; communication skills are developed, to strengthen the foundation of Math.

In conclusion, we should not underestimate the teaching power of Filipinos. Learn out the best in you, so that you can bring out the best in your students. We should develop in them the proper attitude in dealing with Math problems and to let them persevere. 

I strongly agree that there are many problems in our education system. We always have a hard time adjusting and coping with it but CHANGE is always necessary. We should do our part to improve and contribute to make it better for the future generations. And yes, as Dr. Vicente Chua Reyes said, this is a CHALLENGE for all of us. The government, school administrators and heads, educators, practitioners, and parents should work together to make advancements on our education system. 
: Is your child's school teaching Singapore Math? If yes, how was it? If not, will you consider it? 


  1. Math is one of my pet peeves. I hope my daughter will like it when she grows up ;)

    1. She will. My daughter used to say, I don't like Math. But I make it a point she'll enjoy the lesson. Now she tells me, I love Math. It's just a matter of practice, patience, and motivation.

  2. This is interesting. When I was growing up, I only learned about the traditional Math methods then I heard about Kumon as my officemates bring their children to Kumon centers. I've heard of Galileo before but would like to know more about this. How old should the kids start?

    1. As early as 3. They have English programs, too. Visit their site to know more.

  3. I think this is a must of Filipino educators. I taught in an international school before that uses Singaporean Mathematics curriculum. Their maths is really advance. It's something worth going to.

    1. Agree sis. I'm having second thoughts in teaching Meg this method. Their Math is still traditional in school. I don't want to confuse her.

  4. We really needed CHANGE in our educational system and this is a good one. I hope by the time I send my kids to school they have already adopted this kind of educational system.

    1. Actually there are a lot of schools today which adopted it. Ask the school first. And the curriculum we have now is really closely related to that of Singapore.

  5. schools are on the way to make learnings easy , maybe the childrens are not yet ready , just be sure that your children are having fun while learning , that's the key to have them educated with those things :)

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