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Britain Turns to Chinese Textbooks to Improve Its Math Scores [Copy link] 中文

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Post time 2017-8-8 17:33:33 |Display all floors
Some schools in Britain have already begun experimenting with mathematics textbooks based on teaching materials from Singapore. Another series adapted from China to fit British curriculum requirements is used in around 400 primary schools in England, according to Ni Ming, an editor at East China Normal University Press, the Chinese publisher of those books.
Britain’s shift to the East is a turnaround for a country that has some of the world’s elite universities.
It is a boon for China, which has made no secret of its wish to project soft power to accompany its growing economic might. But those efforts have met with mixed results so far. An ambitious endeavor to establish hundreds of Confucius Institutes on university campuses around the world, for example, has drawn widespread criticism for what some say are internal policies running counter to general principles of academic freedom.
The country’s K-12 education system, by contrast, is something of a natural cultural resource, having been built around the all-important gaokao, or national college examination, a single competitive test that determines where most Chinese go to university.
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Post time 2017-8-8 17:34:57 |Display all floors

Besides Britain, a number of other countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Kenya, and Malaysia, have expressed interest in learning from the so-called Chinese mastery model. Mr. Ni, the Chinese publisher, said that the company was in talks with education representatives in several other countries, like the United States, about adapting its workbooks.

The movement to learn from China comes even as parents and educators in the country increase calls to overhaul the education system to ease the intense pressure on students and encourage individuality.


(From NYT)


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Post time 2017-8-8 21:25:55 |Display all floors
This is probably the fourth or fifth news article about the same story - Britain buying maths books designed in China and adapted to the English schools' needs. I think the attention being showered on this event is somewhat disproportionate. There is nothing special about Chinese maths textbooks and there is no paedagogical reason why British school children must by necessity vastly improve their achievements in maths tests. The Chinese teaching methods are awkward, outdated, stern and effective to some extent because pupils are given at least twice as much time to learn maths than they ordinarily do in Western schools.

Maths is not the world. It is one of four subjects that PISA researchers watch. To sell Chinese-designed maths books to Britain is nothing but a business deal. It's like with T.C.M.: a lot of belief and trust upfront and no real understanding of what works.

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Post time 2017-8-9 18:37:58 |Display all floors
seneca Post time: 2017-8-8 21:25
This is probably the fourth or fifth news article about the same story - Britain buying maths books  ...

Yes, Chinese students spend much more time on studying maths, but it doesn't mean that there's nothing special with  Chinese maths textbooks. The method of maths teaching in China is quite different from other countries. The maths Chinese learn is far more difficult and complex at an earlier age.

And yes, maths is not the world. Most people won't make use of the maths knowledge they gained in school, and many students lose their creativity by doing a large number of exercises on the textbook

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Post time 2017-8-9 20:43:23 |Display all floors
Sallywrj Post time: 2017-8-9 18:37
Yes, Chinese students spend much more time on studying maths, but it doesn't mean that there's not ...

Thanks for the heads-up: I did learn something from your reply namely that you learn from an early age on the answers to tricky, difficult maths questions. That I can believe.

But the immense amount of time that goes into learning maths is difficult to justify. In a recent PISA comparative study several European nations were among the top ten maths performers along with Hong Kong, Macau, Shanghai, Singapore. The score of the Europeans was just a few points less than the scores of the Asians. Yet, the Europeans don't waste so much time to learn maths. If you look at a European pupil's timetable you will quickly realise they learn maths more efficientlyk while at the same time learning other subjects that Chinese do not study. For example in European schools pupils may study two foreign languages beside their native tongue whereas in China they barely learn English and Chinese.

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