Thousands of primary schools throughout the UK are adopting Chinese methods to teach their students mathematics.
Education Minister Nick Gibb announced the country had allocated GBP41 million to institute the “maths mastery” policy at 8,000 elementary schools, accounting for over half of all elementary schools in the UK.
“I am confident that the steps we are taking now will ensure young people are properly prepared for further study and the 21st century workplace,” Gibb said. “And that the too-often heard phrase ‘can’t do maths’ is consigned to the past.”
“The significant expansion of the south Asian maths mastery approach can only add to the positive momentum, with thousands more young people having access to specialist teachers and quality textbooks,” he added.
First introduced in UK classrooms in 2014, “Shanghai-style” education focuses on teaching students together as a entire class. The “chalk and talk” approach has teachers give one lesson to the class, explaining each step of a calculation along the way.
Gibb emphasized the need of rote learning among UK students, insisting that multiplication tables be memorized by students at earlier ages. Gibb stated that UK students should spend “more time on high-quality, productive practice” to develop a “deeper, stronger mathematical understanding.”
So far, some 130 Chinese teachers have traveled to the UK to share their teaching methods with UK teachers. The Department of Education hopes to train hundreds of UK teachers within four years.
Reports have suggested UK students lag three years behind their international peers when it comes to mathematics. Last year, a BBC documentary about the teaching exchange revealed frustrations on both sides. Chinese teachers were seen unable to control UK students, while English teachers were heard criticizing Chinese teaching practices.