ClockThursday, 29/02/2024 09:01

Students hunt for international prizes

TTH.VN - Albeit in elementary school, many little students get used to competition in international math playgrounds, many of whom have won golds.

The youngest member of Vietnam Physics Olympiad teamCommending two outstanding students of Quoc Hoc Hue High school for the Gifted

 Students excellent at math at Vinh Ninh Primary School are fostered

The little student clinched gold prizes

Intelligence, vivacity, and maturity in speech are the impression Phan Nguyen Duc, a grade 4/4-student Tran Quoc Toan Primary School, creates on the people opposite. This little boy becomes even more special as he owns many gold medals at international math competitions.

This year, Duc entered two SEAMO and ASMO international math competitions and clinched 2 gold medals from both competitions. Although in 4th grade, Duc is a veteran prize hunter at the SEAMO international math competition. In 2nd grade, Duc won the SEAMO math gold, and in 3rd grade, he continued to win a gold medal at this competition.

Did you feel pressured upon entering quite a few international math competitions at a young age, Duc? The little boy grinned, “The exam papers were not too difficult. Most of the questions were suitable for me. There were quite knotty but engrossing questions. For me, math is always fascinating. The more I explore, the more enjoyment I realize, especially the knotty problems. Therefore, when learning math, I find it very easy to understand and attractive, not boring."

 Phan Nguyen Duc, a grade 4/4 student at Tran Quoc Toan Primary School during math class

Huynh Nhat Dang Quan, a grade 4/6 student, at Tran Quoc Toan Primary School also recorded many excellent achievements at SEAMO international math competitions. Entering this playground in 3rd and 4th grade, Quan was awarded gold medals. This year, he was the candidate with the highest score among the gold medalists at the SEAMO competition.

Familiarizing himself with numbers since he was illiterate, Dang Quan possessed a special gift for math. This has also been Quan's favorite subject since grade 1. In grade 2, Quan was exposed to international math by his father. In grade 3, he began to conquer the competition. Quan said, "My method is to focus on listening to the teacher's lectures and to master the lesson right in class. Back  home, I just need to review them, I'll spend the rest of my time practicing math."

Children accompanied

Chatting with Nguyen Duc and Dang Quan, they all innocently said that winning the international math prize is not too difficult, everything is within their reach. Of course, it's not simple.  It's the fruits of a student's training journey with systematic investment from family and school. Students must have a foundation first, followed by practice and review. The encouragement and companionship of parents with their children’s passion are of vital importance.

Since his childhood, Nguyen Duc has had a passion for numbers and has very fast reflexes. To help her child at age 4 develop his thinking, Ms. Le Thi Ngoc Tam, Duc's mother, introduced him to quick math and English. Ms. Tam said, "Before entering elementary school, Duc knew how to do addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. From the 2nd semester of grade 1, he started to practice international math with lecturers at the University of Education, Hue University. From the lecturer's introduction, I acquainted Duc with international math playgrounds and got him to read more books, especially the famous book series "Unleash The Maths Olympian In You"  by Terry Chew... The more he explores and learns, the more he loves international math. His thinking broadens and progresses bit by bit."

Aside from seeking a teacher for her child’s study, Ms. Tam bought books, searched for review exam paper forms for her child, and joined the parent group to learn from experience. Every night, she accompanies her child in study. For difficult math problems, the mother and daughter work together. If she cannot find the answer, Ms. Tam will ask the teachers, ask the parents in the group for the solution, and then teach it to her child.

As a math teacher, Mr. Huynh Van Thoi, Dang Quan's father realized their child's gift and passion, so they invested in building a foundation since Quan was in 2nd grade. Digging deeper, he found out that international math requires high-level thinking,  but is accessible to the children. For advanced math problems, he converts knowledge to make it suitable for elementary school students so that Quan can easily absorb it.

Mr. Thoi shared, "To invest in my child, I ordered the materials in Singapore, taught my child the habit of self-study, self-reading, and gradually getting used to the exercises in the book. International math focusing on logical thinking requires students to be talented and also needs a systematic training roadmap. I often teach each topic combining Vietnamese math with international math to create a foundation for my child. Sending my child to an international competition is not aimed at gaining achievements, but it is also necessary for my child to get used to the competition because this is a prestigious, professional competition that can evaluate the student's ability."

Encouraged and fostered by schools

In recent years, international math competitions have been widely held and have enjoyed the attention of many students, parents, and schools. Quite a few prestigious international math competitions were held: KANGAROO, SASMO, AMO, ASMO, and SEAMO…

For example, SEAMO is a global English Mathematical Olympiad known worldwide academically supervised by Mr. Terry Chew, author of the famous book series "Unleash The Maths Olympian In You". The  Olympiad is held annually in many countries around the world such as Australia, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Norway, Singapore, Thailand, United States… Previously, these competitions were held in big cities. In the past two years, several competitions have been held in Hue to facilitate students’ participation.

Elementary schools such as Vinh Ninh, Tran Quoc Toan, and Le Loi... are those that invest very well in students participating in international Olympiads and have prize winners every year. According to Ms. Nguyen Thi Thuy, Vice Principal of Tran Quoc Toan Primary School, international math Olympiads are opportunities for students to affirm their abilities. The Olympiad papers are also very scientific with 60% of moderate-level questions. The difficulty level is gradually increased to classify candidates. To enter international Olympiads, students must also be good at English.   Accompanying students, the school enhances training and searches for math documents related to the competition to share with teachers and parents.

Ms. Nguyen Ngoc Minh Trang, Principal of Vinh Ninh Primary School, said that Vinh Ninh was one of the starting schools for students to enter the International Mathematical Olympiad. If the school discovers which students have the ability, it will coordinate with parents to provide students with access to English math from 2nd and 3rd grade.

Ms. Minh added that the school opened a math fostering club in a voluntary spirit, and invited lecturers at the University of Education, Hue University to foster students entering the exchange competitions at the city or provincial level and international math Olympiad. The time fund for teachers to provide direct training is not available because the students study 2 sessions per day, and the number of periods is stipulated. Therefore, in math periods, teachers spend time at the end of the session to provide additional training for gifted students through increasing knowledge, and creating advanced exercises... This incubation contributes to nurturing students' passion for mathematics.

Story and photos: Minh Hien
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