Opinion / Forum Trends

Can Shanghai method help British kids learn math?

( Updated: 2016-07-15 10:53


As a British mathematics teacher who teaches mathematics to children in Shanghai (following over a decade of teaching British children in the UK), I feel suitably qualified to comment on this. It is true that Shanghai's children, in general, have a higher level of numeracy and can perform calculations some three or so years ahead of their UK counterparts. It is not true, however, that this makes them better mathematicians. They tend to have a limited appreciation of why they are doing anything, knowing only how to repeat mechanical processes flawlessly. Their understanding of statistics and geometry tends to be significantly behind that of UK children, and their problem solving skills are minimal. In short, yes, these methods are very successful at making 'human calculators', but quite unsuccessful at preparing children for any useful application of that knowledge. No doubt lots of other people with the same experience I have were consulted before this became policy...

Can Shanghai method help British kids learn math?

A Chinese teacher gives a maths class in a British school in this undated photo. [Provided to]

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