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Students in Britain will get lessons China-style

Zhang Chunyan and Wang Mingjie
Updated: Nov 7,2014 7:23 AM     China Daily

China’s top math teachers will share their skills in British primary schools to help raise standards in the subject.

It is the first time that Chinese teachers have been embedded in schools across Britain to introduce Chinese-style math lessons and approaches.

“The teaching program is part of an exchange between the British Department for Education and the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission,” said Shen Yang, minister counselor for education at the Chinese embassy in the UK.

The 29 teachers from Shanghai will spend three weeks in selected primary schools chosen for their high-quality teaching and specialization.

Shanghai teachers will share methods including “teaching to the top”-reinforcing the expectation that all students are capable and expected to achieve high standards.

British School Reform Minister Nick Gibb said the exchange would set an example for the way education systems around the world can learn from each other.

“Our plan for education is ensuring children in this country receive a world-class education, which will equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in a competitive global environment,” Gibb said.

Shanghai’s pupils have been the top performers in the Program for International Student Assessment, which is organized by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

“This innovative exchange program enables our teachers to develop their professional skills alongside those from the most successful education system in the world,” the minister said.

“I have seen at firsthand in Shanghai classrooms how effective this approach can be and I believe the Shanghai teacher exchange will be a powerful catalyst to change the way we teach maths and raise pupils’ achievement in maths,” said Charlie Stripp, director of the National Center for Excellence in the teaching of mathematics.

Wu Yun, a math teacher from Shanghai Experimental School, who is teaching in the UK, said: “The whole Chinese education environment plays a key role in making students good at math. Chinese people attach great importance to the study of math, and Chinese students spend plenty of time practicing math.”

In September, 71 British math teachers went to Shanghai to spend time with their exchange partners at high-performing schools and colleges.

They spent two weeks observing excellent teaching and discussing teaching methods and approaches with their peers in lectures and workshops.

In early 2015, another 34 primary math teachers from Shanghai will travel to Britain on a further phase of the exchange focusing on secondary math teaching.

Shen said Chinese teachers have a lot of experience teaching math, but “it is not a one-way sharing of experience.” Britain also has its specific strengths, so both China and UK will benefit, he said.