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Controversy: Shandong primary school cancels math lessons in lower grades

By Gao Yinan (People's Daily Online)    15:10, October 26, 2015
Controversy: Shandong primary school cancels math lessons in lower grades
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An elementary school in eastern China's Shandong province canceled math lessons for pupils in grades one and grade two. The principal claimed that children in the two grades were not ready to learn math due to lacking the ability to think logically.

The bold change has triggered heated discussions among educators in China. Some questioned whether the principal had the right to change subjects within the curriculum of China’s nine year compulsory education.

Chinese and mathematics have been the two main subjects throughout China’s basic education. However, the Jiaming No.1 Experimental Elementary School in Liaocheng, in eastern China’s Shandong province, offers subjects such as Chinese calligraphy, reading, traditional Chinese culture and English for grade one and two pupils, but no longer math.

Li Zhimeng, who used to be a math teacher, has been a principal for over 20 years. He said that most of the children aged six or seven (in grades one and two) just memorize the answers for addition and subtraction sums, instead of using logical thinking when learning math.

After reforming the school’s curriculum, pupils in grades one and two at the school no longer have math lessons. But every week they have a special lesson related to mathematics. Pupils are required to attend the class.

In 2013, Principal Li Zhimeng started with two experimental classes in which pupils did not learn math until grade three. So far, 24 classes in total have had their math lessons canceled.

Pupils in the very first two experimental classes began their third grade lessons this September. They have been learning math for two months now. According to Principal Li, the effectiveness of the reform is showing. The content of 10 lessons that would have been taught previously can now be easily grasped by pupils in just one lesson. For the next step he will add more fun to their math lessons. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Gao Yinan,Bianji)

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