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Chinese maths textbook introduced into Britain

2015-03-08 08:50 Xinhua Web Editor: Si Huan

The news that a Chinese maths textbook will be introduced into Britain this summer has again caught the eyes of people in the education field, as well as the public, since the first group of maths teachers from China's Shanghai took part in an exchange project in Britain last year.

The supplementary textbook, One Lesson One Exercise, is a popular book for students in Shanghai for more than 20 years.

Earlier on Thursday, the publisher East China Normal University Press said, in January, it signed an agreement with HarperCollins to publish an English version of the book this summer in Britain, which would be named as One Lesson One Exercise of Shanghai Maths.

It said experts "familiar with both Chinese textbooks and British educational conditions are compiling the maths section on the basis of the pre-existing domestic edition", and some changes would be made as the education systems of the two countries are different. However, the difficulty won't be reduced.

So far, the number of schools and students who will use this textbook is unknown. Britain's Department for Education said, at this stage, it's a matter for the publishing company, and won't make any comments on this.

A Chinese man who required anonymous said he had noticed a very interesting phenomenon in his daughter's school and other schools in London, that most of Chinese students, even Asian students can get a higher scores than others in maths.

He said he learnt the news of Shanghai textbook on the Internet, but he thought it's very complicated to judge whether the action would be good or bad for students in Britain.

"The introduction of the Shanghai textbook may play a part in improving local students' numeracy skills, however, I think local maths lessons place more focus on developing students' ability of inference and logical thinking, rather than the numeracy skills. They'd like to complete maths problems by tools, but not in particular require students to master of numeracy," he said.

Meanwhile, the second group of Shanghai maths teachers have arrived in Britain by the end of February.

As part of an ongoing exchange between the Department for Education and the Shanghai Municipal Education Commission, teachers from Shanghai have been dispatched to selected primary schools and worked with local maths hub, led by a school chosen for their high-quality maths teaching and subject specialism.

"The first phase of this innovative exchange demonstrated the kind of school-led collaboration which will help transform maths teaching in this country and raise standards for all," said School Reform Minister Nick Gibb last month when the teachers from Shanghai arrived.

"The Shanghai approach, with children taught as a whole class, building depth of understanding of the structure of mathematics, supported by the use of high-quality textbooks, is proving a hit in those schools in the country where it's been tried. And standards of maths in these schools are rising rapidly. Careful teaching of the traditional calculation methods and plenty of practice in class and as part of pupils' homework are key to this success," he added.

According to the Department for Education, last September, 71 top maths teachers from across England spent two weeks with their exchange partners in Shanghai, observing them teaching and discussing learning methods and approaches in lectures and workshops.

The first group of Shanghai teachers taught in British schools in last November. The Department for Education has confirmed a further phase of exchange will take place in the autumn and spring terms of the 2015 to 2016 academic year.

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