While the Times rankings regularly rank France last among the countries of the European Union in mathematics learning, Singapore’s students have consistently been at the top of all these rankings for several years. “Contrary to popular belief, recalls the researcher and professor of mathematics Stephaney Seurat, the gradual reduction of programs is not the only one responsible for the decline in knowledge in math. We could quite know fewer concepts but be very effective despite everything. So why?


Without stopping at these performance indicators, one can legitimately wonder about disenchantment with mathematics. A more significant concern, above all, is what is now called “learned helplessness.” It is this ability to convince yourself from an early age that you will not succeed. In this case, here, that we are “zero in math”! Why, indeed, when all students start by loving mathematics, so many end up hating it? Even to be afraid of it. A fear which, of course, slows down learning math because you can’t learn under stress.

E Singapore Math online: giving back the taste for math?

Around the world, the method of learning mathematics adapted from that used in Singapore is gaining ground. Sixty countries already apply it. In France, in 2017, 120,000 students used this method, which has increased by 50% in one year! Could this be the key? Applying the E Singapore Math online, or at least taking inspiration from it, could it give a taste for math to a whole generation of students? To instill in them, as Monica Nagoya, Doctor of Mathematics Education, who adapted the method.

Based on the wealthy survey carried out by Le Point magazine as part of its special issue devoted to the E Singapore Math online, we are offering a small series of articles to help you discover this method. On what approach, on what principles is it based? How to put it into practice at school or home. Does it represent elitist teaching, or is it particularly suitable for students with disorders or difficulties and for whom mathematical abstraction is all the more delicate?

E Singapore Math online: little history … paradoxical

Designed in the 1980s, the E Singapore Math online is” a synthesis of everything that works in math for teachers,” explains Jean Nemo, director of the Libraries des, close, a publishing house with the exclusive right to adapt this method in France. Interesting historical fact: When the city-state of Singapore gained independence in 1965, it equipped its schools with textbooks from Western countries. But while these, who had carried out a lot of research on mathematics pedagogy, did not put the results of this research into practice in their programs, paradoxically, Singapore did. This was inspired by Bruner, Montessori, from Polka to build a method of making more real mathematics. Thus, this explicit method leads children to:

  1. Reason, construct meaning – and therefore acquire more deeply rooted knowledge.
  2. See the presence of mathematics in their life.
  3. Gradually move towards abstraction.

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