Kumon is a Japanese math and reading method which is practiced in the Kumon centres. The first Kumon Centre was opened in Osaka, Japan in 1985. As of November 2014, over 4.3 million students have been enrolled under Kumon method in more than 30,000 Kumon Centres in 48 countries around the world. In Bangladesh, Kumon was firstly introduced in BRAC Education Programme by the fund of JICA. The pre-piloting started in three of BRAC Primary Schools (BPS) in November 2014 for math.
The Kumon method stands on two main pillars: ‘individualised instruction’ and ‘self-learning.’
The key element of the former is ‘study at the just right level’. To develop children’s scholastic ability, the most important thing is to help them derive joy from their studies. The 'just right level of study' is not just the level where a student can easily complete work; it is the level where, at any time with maximum effort, a student can progress on their own without being specifically taught.
Kumon defines the latter as the ability to set goals and solve unfamiliar and challenging tasks independently.
This ability is nurtured through encouraging students to solve materials on their own. As they go about their work independently the desire to learn and the ambition to advance forward are aroused.
Instruction is carried out so that children can experience over and over the sense of accomplishment and boosting of confidence that comes with solving problems by oneself. The accumulation of such experience nurtures in children the ability to independently take on new challenges. Kumon is mainly taught in mathematics.
Skills and Knowledge Acquisition (Style of Learning)
Kumon is a self-learning method based on individualised instructions and worksheets. Students start from a point where they can easily obtain, with maximum effort, a perfect score of 100. Studying at their own pace, at a level that is appropriate for their ability enables them to strengthen their foundations for learning as well as develop confidence, as they catch up to their grade level, and eventually even advancing far beyond it.
The math component consists of a total of 5,520 worksheets divided into 28 levels (pre-school to high school level, and elective courses).
Worksheets have been specifically designed to advance in small steps. This allows students to progress smoothly at their own pace while learning at level most appropriate for them.
Worksheets focus on the development of strong calculation skills, by avoiding all unrelated concepts. This allows students to advance as quickly as possible on their own to high school level mathematics.
Role of teacher
Teachers are referred to as Kumon instructors. Rather than teaching the same content to all students collectively, as practiced in a regular school class setting, a Kumon instructor focuses on each individual. Her role is to ensure that every student is 'studying at the just right level,' taking a number of factors into account. These include closely observing a student's study behavior, and keeping records of daily progress which allows them to gain a sound idea of each student's progress and development. Another significant aspect of their role is to acknowledge the students' development by praising them for their achievements and encouraging them to set goals and take on further challenges.