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Monday, March 16, 2015

You do the math

"Can a Chinese mathematics textbook save UK’s student innumeracy woes?" according to Yin Lu Source, Global Times.
 

The announcement that a series of Chinese mathematics exercise books will be published in the UK has triggered discussion about the differences in approach to education between the two countries. Photo: IC
 
Can Chinese mathematics textbooks rescue failing numeracy standards in the UK?   

The question has been a topic of intense discussion in both countries following reports around a fortnight ago that British publisher Harper Collins had signed a contact with the Shanghai-based East China Normal University Press to publish its signature series mathematics exercise books, One Lesson, One Exercise, in the UK.

The English publication of the books, which offer graded arithmetic exercises, will encompass the first year of primary school to the last year of secondary school, according to Jiefang Daily.

In China, educators have enthusiastically greeted the announcement as a validation of the methods used to teach mathematics in the country.

But in the UK, concerns have been raised that the introduction of the exercise books could signal a move toward a more "prescriptive" model of teaching unsuited to British schoolchildren.    

The announcement comes in the wake of comments made by UK Minister of State for School Reform Nick Gibb, at the end of the last year in which he suggested falling literacy and numeracy standards in the UK could be improved by following text-book oriented models of education as practiced in high-performing jurisdictions like China, Singapore and Finland.

Gibb specifically cited a China-UK mathematics teacher exchange last September as an evidence that high-quality textbooks could help structure lessons and learning progression "to ensure that all pupils keep up and achieve." 

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Source: Global Times


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