What was your favourite subject while you were in school?
Whatever that subject may be, I’m sure that an inspirational teacher would pop into your mind immediately.
One such person who has caught the attention of Neue is Fathi Hussein, an Additional Mathematics teacher from the township of Cheras in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
With over 60,000 followers on his Instagram account @fathihussein, the young teacher is taking social media by storm thanks to his approachable and fun techniques to help students ace the notoriously difficult subject.
View this post on Instagram
He is also one of the teachers featured on Astro Tutor TV, an interactive channel for all school-going children in Malaysia.
Just take a look at this video that was posted on his Instagram account:
View this post on Instagram
As of July 28, this particular video had been viewed more than 360,000 times and received over 30,000 ‘likes’.
“If only I had a teacher like this when I was in school, I’d sure be scoring straight ‘A’s,” commented @nur_hannaniey.
“I need you at my school bro!” said another IG user @anhyl_ with a crying emoji.
There’s no doubt about it – teachers can have a profound effect on the students they teach.
Promoting a growth mindset
Another person who has great affinity for math is Dr Raj Shah, who in 2008 quit his job at Intel and founded Math Plus Academy, an after-school STEM enrichment programme for kids from 5 to 14 years old.
He believes that everyone can enjoy math, develop strong number sense, and become a persevering problem solver.
Mathematics education can be daunting for students – due to a variety of societal factors, abilities in mathematics are often seen as fixed. Unlike reading, math is not always understood as essential or attainable.
Dr Shah wants to change that, according to a Medium report.
In his paper – “Promoting a Math-Positive Classroom: A Guide for K-12 Educators” – Dr Shah outlined key reasons students sometimes give up on math, and provides readers with three in-depth steps to counter those trends by promoting enthusiasm and positivity in math class.
According to him, it’s important to teach students to cope with setbacks by instilling a growth mindset.
To explain this concept, Dr Shah draws from extensive research by Carol Dweck, and applies it to a mathematics framework.
In the guide, he gives five specific strategies for promoting a growth mindset, including educating students about mindsets themselves, praising effort over outcomes, and even changing students’ internal dialogues.
For example, Shah suggests that when students say, “I can’t”, teachers should add the word “yet” to reinforce the notion of progress and growth.
Giving children a head start
Here in Brunei, there are learning centres for children to help them develop their academic and problem-solving skills.
One such centre is Kumon, which is the world’s leading after-school enrichment programme, offering Mathematics, English and Chinese language subjects to students from pre-school to secondary school.
To date, Kumon has over 24,700 centres across 51 countries and regions, with more than four million students enrolled.
Neue recently got in touch with a mother whose 5-year-old daughter is currently studying at one of Kumon’s centres in Brunei.
“I enrolled my daughter here last year, and I must say that I’m very happy with the Kumon programme,” said Afifah.
“My daughter, who will begin her primary school education next year, is already learning how to learn independently,” she added, noting that her daughter has been attending kindergarten since 2017. “The Kumon programme has indeed helped my daughter sharpen her math skills!”
Let’s hear it from you
What are your thoughts about this article?
Do you think learning has to be fun in order for students to attain better results?
Do you have a story about a teacher who truly inspired you?
Perhaps someone who could be the next social media sensation like the A-Math teacher from Kuala Lumpur?.
Get in touch with Neue and tell us your side of the story by sending an e-mail here.