If you can sing it, You can play it.

What? Why? and How?

The principle lessons on What? Why? How? for our Secondary Mathematics tuition. Secondary Mathematics Tutorial in small groups 3pax by experienced tutor SMS/Whatsapp +65 88231234

In every learning setting, we would like our Math students to go through the learning process by engagement. We train students to learn Mathematics as they ask themselves these “What-Why-How” questions whenever they learn something new in our Math tutorials. They’ll understand their Mathematic topics better with the bare minimum requirements of asking, “What are we learning? Why are we learning it? and How do we do it?”

If you can sing it, you can play it.

If Secondary Mathematic student’s start the learning process by asking this set of questions, they will be able to figure out the topic in class.

Whenever I was in band practice, we always get these running phrases that are full of flats and sharps and my fingers start cramming up and tripping over itself whenever we are sight reading new pieces. The whole band will make the weirdest noise with our heads lagging behind our fingers, which in turn, made the conductor inevitably go nuts and start throwing a hissy fit. Never fails to amuse us when his baton flies past us, along with his expletives and annoyance but we have to stay professional and look dead serious. Then one day came an Israeli guest to conduct us and he gave those dagger stares that make us die inside if we ever tripped over the sight reading materials (1812 Overture; Tchaikovsky) that he brought along. New to us yes, so there’s an excuse to blunder through but that stare gave me nightmares for days.

He stayed for a good 3 months and we had to do something about improving our sight-reading pronto. Its that or us just getting chilling stares and turning into soulless musicians constantly. My conductor came up to me and said, “if you can sing it, you can play it.” What? Why? and How? I asked. Lo and behold, it worked! Like a charm.

New piece on my stand, sing it. Keep singing it. Ghost pressing the clarinet whilst singing and tonguing away the phrases. Before he taps his wand and metronomes away. Begone those stares when the Israeli looked at me, pleasantly surprised.

Galvanise your thoughts by expressing your ideas to others. It might make more sense when ideas are expressed in words.

Now, that’s a training kit I kept with me when I am teaching my Math students. If we can explain the sum, we can do it. The problem is the explanation is usually done by tutors or teachers. That puts students into the comfy backseat of just listening. Students don’t really explain much in class and that restricts their interaction with others as well as evolving their own ideas and galvanising their thoughts. I make my Math students explain to each other, till they get comfy with the idea of explaining their ideas, that’s when they become A1 students in the examinations. I have to say, we have all gone there before and I’m guilty of thinking of something new and when I say it out loud, it just sounds wrong and baseless. That’s where I go back to the drawing board to reevaluate.

Much like driving, we can understand more or less how driving a car works, but for the uninitiated, a dangerous proposition to do so if they have never had a driving lesson in their life ever. So that’s where practicing comes in, and master it by being a rather good teacher. If we can start teaching someone else how to drive, it means we totally understand driving. Oddly, mastering these skills are for life, like, jump back into a car a few years of not doing so and we should be able to do it again. That is how we know we have mastered the subject well. It gets retained into our long term memory. Like swimming, cycling, driving as some of the examples that has the same learning consequences. Learn, Master, etched into memory as lifelong skills. Learning Mathematics with me will be like that too. Get it into a lifelong skill category and A1 distinction will follow.

One can’t teach unless one has mastered it well.

Tree Planting volunteer for WWF and NParks at Dairy Farm, Bukit Timah 13th April 2022

Above: Tree planting as a WWF volunteer partnering with NParks at Dairy Farm, Bukit Timah 13th April 2022. Morning meetup at 8.30am before heading up to the site to plant 15 trees. Took 2.5 hours for around 20 people to plant all that 15 trees just before the sun took over and made it way too hot to get anything done. That’s me trying to hide behind the tree I just planted to get some “shade”. Luck has it, no rain and was a rather hot day perfect for doing this.


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