Bri­tish throw book at poor math thanks to lo­cal teach­ing meth­ods

Shanghai Daily - - METRO - Yang Meip­ing

STU­DENTS in the United King­dom will now be able to boost their math­e­mat­ics skills by us­ing Chi­nese teach­ing books.

Real Shang­hai Math­e­mat­ics, the English ver­sion of math­e­mat­ics text­books used in Shang­hai’s pri­mary schools, has de­buted at the Frank­furt Book Fair.

The se­ries, pub­lished by HarperCollins, in­cludes eight text­books and prac­tice books for ju­nior pupils, the Shang­hai Cen­tury Pub­lish­ing Group said.

“We are glad to co­op­er­ate with HarperCollins to bring the Shang­hai math text­books into the UK to help Bri­tish stu­dents build up com­pe­tence and con­fi­dence in math,” Wang Lan, pres­i­dent of Shang­hai Cen­tury Pub­lish­ing Group, said at the de­but in Ger­many.

“And I also wish the text­books can be used by more coun­tries.”

Ad­di­tional books for older stu­dents will be re­leased later this year.

Shang­hai stu­dents have re­peat­edly out­per­formed stu­dents from other coun­tries in math­e­mat­ics in the Pro­gram for In­ter­na­tional Stu­dent As­sess­ment, a tri­en­nial test of 15-year-old stu­dents’ ca­pa­bil­i­ties in read­ing, math and sci­ence.

In the 2012 PISA re­sults, Shang­hai stu­dents were placed top, while Bri­tish stu­dents were 26th. As a re­sult the UK sent gov­ern­ment min­is­ters, teach­ers and other ed­u­ca­tional ex­perts to Shang­hai to see how lo­cal schools teach math.

The UK then de­cided to in­tro­duce the Shang­hai mas­tery teach­ing ap­proach into its schools. This re­quires ev­ery stu­dent to com­pletely mas­ter a con­cept be­fore the teacher moves on to the next, build­ing a solid foun­da­tion for later study.

A pro­gram of aca­demic ex­changes be­gan in 2014 un­der which Bri­tish math teach­ers re­ceived train­ing in Shang­hai schools and Shang­hai math teach­ers taught in Bri­tish schools.

The UK De­part­ment for Ed­u­ca­tion went fur­ther in 2016 an­nounc­ing a four-year Teach­ing for Mas­tery Pro­gram, backed by 41 mil­lion Bri­tish pounds (US$54 mil­lion) fund­ing, to con­tinue the teacher ex­change project as well as a range of other ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing the im­por­ta­tion of text­books.

HarperCollins signed an agree­ment with the Shang­hai Cen­tury Pub­lish­ing Group dur­ing the Lon­don Book Fair in March last year to pub­lish the English ver­sion of the Shang­hai math text­books.

HarperCollins then or­ga­nized a team of in­ter­na­tional ex­perts to trans­late the works, keep­ing the essence of the ap­proach while mak­ing them suit­able for stu­dents of English-speak­ing coun­tries.

The se­ries of 36 books called “Real Shang­hai Math­e­mat­ics,” for stu­dents of Year 1-6, are ex­pected to be used in Bri­tish pri­mary schools.

In 2015, HarperCollins pub­lished an English ver­sion of well known “One Les­son One Ex­er­cise,” sup­ple­men­tary study ma­te­rial orig­i­nally pub­lished by East China Nor­mal Uni­ver­sity Press.

A woman looks at the English ver­sion of Shang­hai math text­books at the Frank­furt Book Fair. — Ti Gong

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