Math Learning Materials Developers
Kumon staff in charge of materials development and instruction from all over the world came together at the 9th International Mathematics Staff Conference (November 2014)
Learning materials made by a father for his son have now become worksheets that promote self-learning for each and every student around the world
The original Kumon worksheets consisted of math problems written on loose-leaf paper. Toru Kumon wrote out all of the approximately 800 original worksheets by hand. They were truly individualized 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. As of February 2016, the international version of the Kumon math program consists of 4,420 worksheets and ranges from the early learner level all the way up through to advanced math.
Continuously learning from students and Instructors around the world with the goal of improving the Kumon learning materials
The work of Kumon math learning materials developers throughout Kumon is the same all over the world. Continuing to pursue Toru Kumon’s vision, materials developers in every country or region learn from students as well as from Instructors. 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:
Data such as information about students’ progress and feedback from Instructors is gathered. Content that requires improvement is examined. Monitor worksheets are developed.
Monitor worksheets are trialed in Centers. A continuous improvement cycle is implemented.
Materials developers from each country and region optimize learning materials for students in Centers in their country or region.
Kumon believes that the most important factor in this process is to find out how the students themselves reacted to the worksheets. Materials developers bring the monitor worksheets that they have created to actual Centers. There, they carefully observe students doing those worksheets.
Materials developers analyze how students handle specific questions and they look carefully at where students have difficulties. Materials developers also gather information from Instructors about what specific parts of the worksheets have given their students the most problems. They 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.
Math materials developers learn together with their counterparts from around the world
The Kumon Math worksheets are the same all over the world. Materials developers from many countries cooperate and work closely together 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 Math 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 math learning materials developers can be summarized as follows: There are no “perfect” learning materials. We must always ask ourselves how we can best help each student in each Center. It is our duty to continually look for ways to make our learning materials more effective. And, we must never stop learning from our colleagues.