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Posted on: 24/01/2019

Chinese Maths Teachers Visit

Maths hub 1Top Mathematics teachers from across South Manchester converged on Loreto Grammar School to learn about Chinese teaching methods from two of Shanghai’s leading specialists.

The event was part of an exchange programme led by the Maths Hubs programme (which is run by the National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching in Mathematics (NCETM)). The programme involves primary and secondary maths teachers from across England visiting their counterparts in Shanghai, the city which over the last decade has consistently produced the best Mathematics results worldwide. The Chinese teachers then return to England and teach in classrooms here, allowing teachers across the country to observe their methods.

In December Loreto Grammar School’s Number Two in their Maths Department David Connell had flown out to the Chinese powerhouse to work in their schools and on the return visit by teachers Chengyuan Tao and Liu Shan they were able to share practice with some 50 fellow teachers from across the North-West.

The aim is to roll out the teaching for ‘Mastery in Maths’ method developed in China which aims to give children a deeper understanding through a step by step approach which uncovers mathematical reasoning through questioning, analysis and repetition, only progressing to the next stage when concepts have been grasped.

Pictured are Loreto Year 7 pupils who were among a full class taken by Mr. Tao and observed by teachers from across the city.

Lucy Poulton, 11, said: “Mr Tao went over every detail of a problem, set us a question and then returned to his original reasoning and applied it to his question to show us how he got the answer.” Ella Mcdonald, 11, added: “It made us think more about why we were doing something and how it worked.”

Megan Macaulay, 12, added: “I got confused at an early stage over something I should really have known, but I was able to go back, ask my question and see how I worked.”

Mr Tao said: “I think the secret is to use what they already know and apply that to what they don’t know to move on to the next stage.”

He added: “In China we don’t think we know it all, certainly not. We are here to learn from you just as much as we hope you will learn from us and I was certainly impressed by how happy and ready to work all the children have been whom I have taught.”

David Connell said: “This is not about reinventing the wheel. We have some absolutely outstanding Maths teachers in the U.K., especially in South Manchester, but it is about trying to develop a more coordinated and coherent approach so all of our young people get a strong foundation in what is a vital subject in their education.”

Bethanie Goodliff, from the NCETM, added: “Maths teaching can use gimmicks and tricks to get a short cut to the answer, but through the teaching for Mastery approach we want to develop a deeper understanding from primary through to secondary level, setting children up to be confident mathematicians throughout their lives.” 

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