The National Centre for Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics (NCETM) has brought out a special report on the progress of the current Shanghai teacher exchange, which is a central component of the England – China project, itself one of the main areas of work being run within the Maths Hubs programme.
Twenty-nine teachers from schools in Shanghai are working in 22 primary schools across England this month (November 2014), teaching in exactly the same way they do in China. In each school, the Shanghai teacher is working closely with a partner teacher who participated in the outward leg of the exchange, when 71 English teachers visited Shanghai in September.
Among the striking elements of the report are quotes from the English host teachers, who’ve been closely observing, and working with, their Shanghai colleagues since the beginning of the month.
Among the comments are these:
‘We continue to be impressed and slightly humbled by the ease with which they (the Chinese teachers) incorporate procedural and conceptual variation into their lessons, and the students that they are teaching are already showing a deeper understanding of the underlying concepts covered.’
‘Teachers in our school have been impressed by the small steps that are taken (by the Shanghai teachers) to develop deep understanding, and this has enabled them to reflect on their own practice, and they are keen to try out some ideas in their own classrooms.’
‘Our teachers have been blown away by the variety of concepts taught (by the Shanghai teachers) within 35 minutes.’
‘The detail in which the concepts are taught is striking and nothing is assumed, everything is taught explicitly.’
Commenting the progress of the exchange visit so far, the NCETM’s Director Charlie Stripp, said:
‘I am thrilled by the success of the exchange so far; by the positive reaction to Shanghai teaching of the English teachers who visited Shanghai, by the quality of the teaching from the Shanghai teachers currently in England, by the willingness of our pupils to adapt to being taught maths by a teacher from Shanghai and by the open and enthusiastic way in which the Shanghai and English teachers are working together to observe and analyse lessons in great detail, so we can understand and learn from the subtleties of the Shanghai teaching. The teachers and pupils involved are really benefitting from the exchange and I’m sure it will help catalyse lasting improvements in our primary maths teaching.’
The Maths Hubs programme is coordinated by the NCETM and funded by the Department for Education.