British maths teachers enter Shanghai classrooms to study learning techniques

Exchange visit is latest step in initiative to drive up English school standards by following Chinese city’s example

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 19 September, 2017, 3:11pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 September, 2017, 8:27am

Some 70 British maths teachers have arrived in Shanghai to study the teaching techniques used in the city’s classrooms.

Their visit is part of an ongoing initiative by the British government to improve standards in schools in England by studying successful techniques used around the world.

The visiting teachers are going to spend the next two weeks visiting local primary schools in Shanghai, where students stunned educators around the world in 2010 after they outscored their counterparts in dozens of other countries – including the US, UK and Singapore – in maths as well as in reading and science in an international student assessment exam.

The teachers were set to begin “immersion-style teaching exchanges” in 43 primary schools in Shanghai on Tuesday, news portal Thepaper.cn reported on Monday.

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These teachers are visiting under a new round of teacher exchange programmes agreed between the Shanghai Education Commission and the British Department for Education late last year.

In exchange, Shanghai will send 34 maths teachers to visit schools in England in November and another 36 in January next year, the commission said.

England is the first country to launch an official programme to learn teaching skills from Shanghai.

A total of 50 maths and science teachers visited Shanghai in 2013 and 2014 to take part in a training programme at Shanghai Normal University, the city’s top teacher training facility.

In September 2014, 71 maths teachers from across England travelled to Shanghai, where they spent time with their peers in high-performing schools and colleges, observing teaching and discussing learning methods.

The teacher-led exchanges are expected to promote excellence in the teaching of maths, the Department of Education in London said.

Shanghai maths textbooks bound for British primary schools

Earlier this year the British educational publisher Collins Learning signed a deal to translate the maths textbooks used in Shanghai schools into English.

Colin Hughes, managing director of Collins Learning, told The Bookseller, a British trade publication: “To my knowledge this has never happened before – that textbooks created for students in China will be translated exactly as they have been developed, and sold for use in British schools.”

So far a total of 548 teachers in England and Shanghai have taken part in the programme.