Singapore’s textbooks build deep understanding of mathematical concepts through multi-step problems and concrete illustrations that demonstrate how abstract mathematical concepts are used to solve problems from different perspectives.”
By contrast, the study said, “traditional U.S. textbooks rarely get beyond definitions and formulas, developing only students’ mechanical ability to apply mathematical concepts.”
Many eminent mathematicians agree. In fact, it is difficult to find a mathematician who likes the standard American texts or dislikes Singapore’s...
“American textbooks are handicapped by many things,” said Hung-Hsi Wu, who has taught math at UC Berkeley for 42 years, “the most important of which is to regard mathematics as a collection of factoids to be memorized.”..
...most American elementary school teachers – reflecting a generally math-phobic society – lack a strong foundation in the subject to begin with.
Deborah Wei, who still serves as principal of the K-8 school, liked that the texts were spare, with few bells and whistles, and that students rely not on tricks (carrying the one, or cross-multiplication) but on deep understanding of how to solve problems...
"This curriculum demands a lot of the teacher," Davidson said. "If you want to punch in at 8:20 and leave at 3, this will never be taught well."