National Institute of Education
(NIE)

&

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah
Institute of Education (SHBIE)

Joint Study

# Berinderjeet Kaur & Koay Phong Lee

National Institute
of Education

&

Jamilah Bte Hj Mohd Yusof,
Zaitun Bte Hj Mohd Taha & Wong Khoon Yoong

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Education ,
Brunei
Darussalam

This study was part of a larger collaborative project,
called IDEA (Inter-institute Dialogue on Educational Advances), that addressed
various educational issues common to the two education institutes involved,
namely the National Institute of Education (NIE) of Singapore and the Sultan
Hassanal Bolkiah Institute of Education (SHBIE) of Universiti Brunei Darussalam
(UBD). The main aim of this joint project under IDEA was to enhance
collaboration and sharing of ideas between the two institutes in investigating
the factors that affect pupils’ learning of mathematics in primary schools. The
instrument used in the study was a 26 item questionnaire adapted from the Pupil
Questionnaire used in the KASSEL Project (Kaur & Yap; 1997b)*. The pupils
in Brunei were administered the questionnaire in Bahasa Melayu (their national
language) towards the end of their school year before their Primary Certificate
in Education (PCE) examination in 1998, while in Singapore, the pupils were
administered the questionnaire in English towards the end of their school year
after their Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) in 1998.

The questionnaire sought data on:

# Enjoyment

·
mathematics at both the lower and upper primary
levels,

·
mathematical topics, other school subjects and
mathematical games

Aspiration

·
grade at Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE,
for Singapore )

·
Primary Certificate of Education (PCE, for Brunei )

Competency

·
self in Mathematics and English Language

·
self in mathematical tables

·
family members in mathematics

# Use

·
in other subjects

·
everyday tasks

# Help

·
tuition (outside school hours)

·
person who helped most over the past year

Homework

·
frequency and when it is done

___________________________________________________________________________

* Kaur, B., & Yap , S.F. (1997b). KASSEL
Project Report (NIE - Exeter
Joint Study) Second Phase (October 95 - June 96). Singapore : National Institute of
Education, Division of Maths.

Computer

·
available at home or not, what is it used for
computer work during primary school mathematics lessons in school

Calculator

·
used for trivial tasks or not

Learning

·
teaching methods that enable pupil to understand new
concepts well

·
revision techniques for mathematics tests and
examination

·
preference for assessment modes

Teacher

·
qualities of best mathematics teacher

·
drawing of best mathematics teacher teaching in
class

209 pupils (98 girls and 111
boys) from Brunei and 334
pupils (171 girls and 163 boys) from Singapore participated in the
study. The pupils were 12 years of age and in their final year of primary
school. In Singapore the
pupils were from 4 urban schools, while in Brunei , the pupils were from 3
urban schools and one rural school. Data collected including the drawings was
analysed to shed light on:

* general perceptions of
pupils studying mathematics

* qualities of the best
mathematics teacher they have had

In both countries, pupils
found mathematics most enjoyable, followed by English which is a compulsory
subject in both countries. In terms of homework given, Singaporean pupils
reported doing homework more frequently than Bruneian pupils. Pupils from both
countries admitted that their teachers help them most in mathematics. The
Singaporean parents seemed to play a more active role in helping their children
when compared to Bruneian parents. A higher percentage of pupils in Singapore own a computer at home compared to
their Brunei
counterpart. Pupils from both countries
held a very high aspiration of getting very good grades in their forthcoming
PSLE/PCE primary school mathematics examination respectively.

The data also reveals that
in Singapore ,
the best mathematics teacher is perceived to be one who is patient, caring and
kind, explains clearly in class and is demanding in terms of work to be done
both in class and at home. In Brunei , pupils
perceive the best mathematics teacher as one who is calm and good tempered,
explains clearly, answers all questions and requires pupils to do work in
class.

The drawings by the pupils
reflect the predominant culture of the two countries (especially in clothing).
The similarities in the learning environment are striking indeed. The drawings
showed the whole-class situation with pupils seated in rows and the teachers up
front explaining something on the board. The board was packed with mathematical
symbols, diagrams, and solutions. Interestingly the Bruneian pupils were more
attentive to the time of the lessons as shown by the clock drawn in their drawings!
The data collected and the
findings of the project have been reported in the following publications:

Wong.K.Y., Kaur, B., Koay, P.L.
& Jamilah, H.M.Y. (2007). Singapore
and Brunei Darussalam: Internationalisation and globalisation through practices
and a bilateral mathematics study.In A. Bill et al., (Eds.)..
Internationalisation and Globalisation in Mathematics Education and Science
Education, (pp. 441 - 463). Springer publishers.

Wong, K.Y.,
Zaitun M. T., Jamilah M, Y., Romaizah
M.S., Kaur, B. & Koay, P.L. (2001, December). Perceptions of learning
primary mathematics: A comparative study of Brunei and Singapore Primary 6
pupils. Paper distributed at the IDEA Symposium, Annual Conference of the
Australian Association for Research in Education, Fremantle , Australia .

Kaur, B., Koay,
P.L.,Yusof, H.J.M., Taha, Z.J.M. & Wong, K.Y. (1999). My Best Mathematics
Teacher. In S.P. Loo (Ed.) Proceedings of the
MERA – ERA Joint Conference, Educational Challenges in the New
Millennium (pp. 682 – 690). Singapore :
Educational Research Association.

Kaur, B., Koay, P.L., Yusof,
H.J.M., Taha, Z.J.M. & Wong, K.Y. (1999). Primary school pupils’ perception
on studying mathematics. NIECER Research Bulletin, 4(2), pp. 3-5. Singapore : National
Institute of Education Centre for Educational Research, Nanyang Technological
University.

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