Mr Lim Chang Kiat
Ex-Head of Mathematics
B. Computer Engineering (Honours), NUS
Math Olympiad Medalist
As a student, Mr Lim was bothered by the observation that people have unequal ability to learn math. For instance, a hardworking student (like himself) may be able to master routine problems through diligent practice, but the non-routine problems often remain difficult for them. On the other hand, those whom we call the "math people" curiously excel in these non-routine problems.
When Mr Lim became a teacher, he eventually found a niche in teaching the high-ability students because he can relate to their needs. Still curious about the “math people”, he noticed that whenever his students can solve a non-routine problem, they usually show certain behaviours. However, these students may not behave as they usually do when the problem is too overwhelming. They needed some reminders to resume back to their resourceful ways. Intrigued by this, Mr Lim began to model these behaviours by deconstructing them into several smaller skills, which he call fluid skills. Teaching these skills back to his students, he showed these gifted problem solvers how to use their own tools more consciously. Since then, he has coached many students to clinch top awards in competitions. This includes Prize in Australian Math Competition, Gold in NMOS, Platinum in SMOPS and top distinctions in RIPMWC.
Mr Lim also taught these fluid skills to other students - those who may be weaker but keen to learn - and showed them how to approach a problem like a "math person". In his mind, he was teaching them how to play an imitation game, and he had lots of fun doing it. To his delight, these students also became outstanding problem solvers. As he collaborated with experts and esteemed colleagues in the field, he learned that this approach is supported by sound research and in many ways extends the Singapore Method to greater heights. With great success, he went on and designed curriculums, headed a department and trained teachers to teach this way.
In the classroom, Mr Lim likes to use analogies, metaphors and interesting back stories. Whenever possible, he will show his students how their ideas can work. He teaches this way because that was what he needed when he was the one struggling to learn a complicated concept. With a proven track record coaching Olympiad, GEP and PSLE math, he founded School Of Mathcraft to show students how to learn and use math joyfully.