The Conceptual Approach was created by our Principal, Mr Ammiel Wan in 1999 when he was in MOE.  Today, more than 80% of Singapore schools are teaching problem solving with his conceptual approach 

There are two key components of this approach

  • Conceptual Knowledge – which consist of the way the context is phrased and how the numbers are inter-connected to form key relationships (Hiebert and Lefevre, 1986).

  • Procedural Knowledge (how), which are the heuristics and methods used to recall and construct information while solving the problem.

Aligning with 21st century competencies


As curriculum specialists, we are always at the forefront of the curriculum cycle, as we continue to innovate and make changes to our approach to make learning for pupils relevant and effective.

Through our journey of curriculum innovation, we further developed 2 key strategies to improve the conceptual approach.


The 1st strategy is the Read and Write strategy, designed to teach pupils to translate the problem text into a semantic representation based on the problem structure. Pupils are taught how to interpret unique key phrases which are needed in the comprehension of the word problems.


The second strategy is Parallel Questioning, a very useful tool to train pupils to identify key important phrases, which are often neglected or misinterpreted.