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Primary schools in England to adopt Chinese-style mathematics education

(People's Daily Online)    11:03, July 15, 2016
Primary schools in England to adopt Chinese-style mathematics education
A math teacher from Shanghai teaches students in the UK. (Photo/Internet)

As reported by The Times on July 12, half of primary schools in the U.K. will soon adopt the traditional Chinese method of teaching mathematics. Teachers will be specially trained and given new textbooks with which to teach the “Shanghai math” method. The new teaching style will rely heavily on repetition, drills and “chalk and talk.”

Previous tests have shown that the average mathematics ability of 15-year-olds in Shanghai is three years more sophisticated than that of 15-year-olds in the U.K.

Nick Gibb, the Minister of State at the Department of Education, announced on July 12 that training will be provided for 8,000 primary schools--half the country’s total--to switch to the Shanghai approach.

“We are seeing a renaissance in maths teaching in this country, with good ideas from around the world helping to enliven our classrooms,” he said.

Critics of the new program complain that the “progressive” math-teaching style used in China, Singapore and Japan is difficult to apply to real-life situations. Others say that the reform would lead to confusion, and could even stop children from learning the basics and enjoying the subject.

Mike Ellicock, chief executive of National Numeracy in the U.K., says it is necessary for children to learn the basics of math so that they can be confident about the subject, and repetition and drills are not the right way to achieve that. Ellicock believes it is inappropriate to simply import a teaching method from such a different culture.


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

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