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Maths Learning Materials Developers

The Kumon learning materials are constantly evolving because together we are always learning from children.

Kumon staff in charge of materials development and instruction from all over the world came together at the 9th International Mathematics Staff Conference in November 2014.

Learning materials made by a father for his son have now become worksheets that promote self-learning for each and every Kumon student around the world
The original Kumon worksheets consisted of maths problems written on loose-leaf paper. Toru Kumon wrote out all of the approximately 800 original worksheets by hand. They were truly individualised learning materials and served as the model for the worksheets of today.

Over the years, the number of worksheets has been increased to accommodate a wide range of age-groups and ability levels. Today’s worksheets incorporate a finely graduated series of small steps that are designed to enable every student to make smooth progress. The international version of the Kumon Maths Programme consists of 4,420 worksheets and ranges from the early learner level all the way up through to high school level maths.

The original worksheets
Kumon is continuously learning from students and Instructors around the world with the goal of improving the Kumon learning materials. The work of Kumon maths learning materials developers is the same all over the world; they are continuing to pursue Toru Kumon’s vision by learning from students and Instructors in every country or region. Using that knowledge they ceaselessly strive to further improve the effectiveness of the Kumon worksheets.

The worksheet improvement process generally has the following three stages:
Stage 1: data such as information about students’ progress and feedback from Instructors is gathered. Content that requires improvement is examined. Monitor worksheets are developed.

Stage 2: monitor worksheets are trialed in study centres. A continuous improvement cycle is implemented. Materials developers from each country and region optimise learning materials for students in study centres in their country or region. Kumon believes that the most important factor in this process is to find out how the students themselves react to the worksheets, to do so materials developers bring the monitor worksheets that they have created to actual centres. There, they carefully observe students completing those worksheets.

Materials developers analyse how students handle specific questions and look carefully at where students have experienced difficulties. They also gather information from Instructors about which specific parts of the worksheets have given their students the most problems and use this data to further refine the worksheets. Instructors are very cooperative in this process of enhancement of the materials because they share the desire to help students improve their academic skills and pursue their potential.

Stage 3: materials developers observing students doing worksheets. Video filming of study focuses only on students’ hands and worksheets in order to protect their privacy. Materials developers gathering information about study at Kumon Study Centres.

Maths materials developers learn together with their counterparts from around the world
The Kumon maths worksheets are the same all over the world. Materials developers from many countries cooperate and work closely to create the Kumon learning materials. The driving force behind this effort is the strong desire to continuously learn more so that the learning materials can be further improved. Kumon maths learning materials developers, just like Instructors, learn from each other in a process that goes beyond the borders of countries and regions.

Every year the International Mathematics Staff Conference is held and brings together materials developers from all over the globe. At the conference, participants view video clips of students studying the worksheets and engage in lively discussions regarding proper instruction and areas of the worksheets that require revision.

The common vision of all maths learning materials developers can be summarised as follows: There are no “perfect” learning materials. We must always ask ourselves how we can best help each student in each centre. It is our duty to continuously look for ways to make our learning materials more effective. And, we must never stop learning from our colleagues.

Instructor stories:
Brazil: Boa Vista Centre
Instructor: Glaucia Lopes de Domenico – I became a Kumon Instructor to carry on the aspirations of my mother, and the key to my centre’s success is what I learn from my fellow Instructors.
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Macau: Kumon Champs Education Centre
Instructor: To Yan – difficult experiences have taught me to be aware that there is always more to learn. I never stop learning from students as well as from parents.
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Botswana: Francistown Centre
Instructor: Segametse Raguin – Kumon brings out children’s full potential.
I learnt just how amazing Kumon is from my students.
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