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First British teachers arrive for Shanghai maths exchange program

CRI | Updated: 2016-11-09 09:30

Over 70 math teachers from primary schools in the United Kingdom arrived Monday, November 7 at Shanghai Normal University, at the start of a third period of a teaching and learning maths exchange program, reports

In July this year, the British government announced that 41 million pounds (about 51 million USD) would be allocated to adopt the Shanghai Mastery Model nationwide in the next four years to improve students' maths proficiency.

The teaching and learning exchange program has been ongoing for two years between China and UK, but has now been given a new name - "Shanghai Mastery Model for Teaching and Learning". The 70 maths teachers are the first group to come to Shanghai.

After one day's training, the maths teachers will go to 43 primary schools in Shanghai to experience "immersion" teaching and learning activities.

By the end of this month, 71 teachers in Shanghai will go to 35 primary schools in the UK as part of a two-week maths teaching and learning exchange program.

Clare Fowler, director of maths education policy at the UK Education Department, says teaching methods for maths in UK schools have changed a great deal, and is hoping that about half of primary schools in UK will see the benefits from the "Shanghai Mastery Model for Teaching and Learning".

In 2009 and 2012, students from Shanghai exhibited outstanding performances in the PISA, the Program for International Student Assessment, which is organized by the OECD to assess the skills of 15-year-old students in mathematics, science and reading.

In the PISA 2012 test, 55% of students from Shanghai were deemed as excellent in maths, while the figure in the UK was only 12%. This caused a fierce response in UK and in 2013, a delegation from the University of Nottingham visited maths classes in Shanghai, Zhejiang and Hubei on a fact finding mission.

In the spring of 2014, maths teachers in primary schools in the UK came to Shanghai to learn maths teaching and learning methods for the first time. In February 2015, Nicky Morgan, the then British Minister of Education, set goals for students to master the multiplication table by the age of 12.

In 2015, according to a report by Sheffield Hallam University, the Shanghai teaching and learning project was "the most creative one by UK Education Department".

Zhang Xuanmin, a professor from Shanghai Normal University and the person in charge of the project on the Chinese side, said the "Shanghai Mastery Model for Teaching and Learning" was better, especially in terms of maths teaching.

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