Published on April 4th, 2017 | by Michelle Roper-Shaw0
You Do the Maths
April is Mathematics Awareness Month. However, it appears in the UK maths isn’t our strong point, but the incorporation of the Shanghai Maths method in our schools may change that.
According to a global education survey, the UK schools rank 27th in mathematic achievement. This ties us with Portugal and the Czech Republic. Meanwhile children in Asia, particularly China, Japan and Singapore excel at the subject.
Therefore, last year the British government pledged £41 million to support half of England’s primary schools, adapt Chinese mathematic teaching methods.
As part of this initiative, a teacher exchange programme is under way. Teachers from China are showing their counterparts in the UK the Shanghai Maths teaching method. In addition, a major UK book publisher announced last week that it is to translate 36 Chinese maths textbooks.
The Shanghai Maths method concentrates on ensuring children understand the basic principles of maths before progressing to more complex problems. Instead of being taught individually, children are taught as a class.
One child answers a teacher’s question and the others then repeat the answer. This process continues and before repeating each answer the children give themselves a round of applause. Afterwards, they write the answers in their exercise books and then they also write the answer on the whiteboard.
This repetitive and orderly way of learning aims to ensure that no child will get left behind in their learning. Children must master the skills of multiplication and division before they move on to other disciplines such as fractions.
Critics say whilst this way of learning helps the achievement of better exam results, children struggle with everyday problem solving. Also, it is highlighted children in Asia are more likely to receive private tutoring outside school to aid learning.
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