Education

This is how Jeff Bezos teaches maths to his children

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos addresses the Economic Club of New York in New York City, U.S., October 27, 2016.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid - D1BEUJKTQGAC

Singapore math is a method of teaching mathematics that's most prevalent in Shanghai, China, and Singapore. Image: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Abby Jackson
Share:
Our Impact
What's the World Economic Forum doing to accelerate action on Education?
The Big Picture
Explore and monitor how Education is affecting economies, industries and global issues
A hand holding a looking glass by a lake
Crowdsource Innovation
Get involved with our crowdsourced digital platform to deliver impact at scale
Stay up to date:

Education

Jeff Bezos, the Amazon CEO and richest person in the world, has amassed his wealth by being creative and trying unorthodox ways of solving problems.

It seems he and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, use the same approach for their children's education.

"We tried all sorts of things ... Mandarin lessons, the Singapore math program, and lots of clubs and sports with other neighborhood kids," MacKenzie Bezos told Vogue.

Learning a second language has been found to have educational benefits, and team activities help create well-adjusted kids. But what exactly is the Singapore math program?

Singapore math, also known as the "mastery approach," is a method of teaching mathematics that's most prevalent in Shanghai, China, and Singapore.

Under the mastery approach, students learn a specific concept before moving on to more complex ideas, in a rigidly linear progression, Alexei Vernitski, a senior lecturer at the University of Essex, wrote in The Conversation.

In Shanghai schools that use the method, students aren't grouped by their perceived intellectual abilities. Instead, all students perform the same work at the same time before mastering the concept and advancing to the next one together.

By contrast, US schools teach math using the "mindset approach," which aims to teach students a more intuitive understanding of math concepts by starting with a broader concept before breaking down a problem into the specific steps for solving.

For example, "a mindset-approach teacher can introduce addition via joining two heaps of cardboard counters (or other props) together, explore properties of addition via activities, and only then break the process of adding numbers into procedural steps," Vernitski wrote.

A 2015 study of 140 schools in the UK by the UCL Institute of Education and Cambridge University found that the mastery approach improved the speed at which students learned math skills.

And on the 2015 PISA — a worldwide exam that tests 15-year-olds' math, science, and reading skills — Singapore was the top-performing country in each subject.

Don't miss any update on this topic

Create a free account and access your personalized content collection with our latest publications and analyses.

Sign up for free

License and Republishing

World Economic Forum articles may be republished in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International Public License, and in accordance with our Terms of Use.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author alone and not the World Economic Forum.

Related topics:
EducationChina
Share:
World Economic Forum logo
Global Agenda

The Agenda Weekly

A weekly update of the most important issues driving the global agenda

Subscribe today

You can unsubscribe at any time using the link in our emails. For more details, review our privacy policy.

Why we need education built for peace – especially in times of war

Jane Mann

February 28, 2024

About Us

Events

Media

Partners & Members

  • Join Us

Language Editions

Privacy Policy & Terms of Service

© 2024 World Economic Forum