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UK teaching methods exported back to China


12-08-2016 06:11 BJT

China and the UK have finished their fourth joint meeting of high-level people-to-people dialogue. Well, tonight we follow up on one educational exchange program that has seen math teachers from Shanghai introduce Chinese teaching methods to UK classrooms. But how has China benefited from this initiative?

The math teacher exchange program is a key project established by the China-UK high-level people-to-people dialogue.

Through the project, teachers from Shanghai were able to effect greater change to Chinese math classes.

Zhang Yuhong teaches in a primary school in Shanghai. With 10 years of teaching experience, she was among the first batch of teachers selected to share and build up their teaching experience abroad.

"The students in UK are willing to share their perspectives, to express their opinions, and to raise questions. I can see every child is at ease throughout the classes. They don't try to hide their weaknesses. I guess this can be traced back to the British education system, which pays close attention to individualization and differentiation," Zhang said.

In daily classes, Zhang found that primary school students in the UK were creative and had good manual skills. It's the result of a range of teaching activities in their cirriculum, such as 'Q&A cards', 'Jigsaws' and 'Solitaire'. The children are also equipped with diversified multi-media software, which greatly enhances their learning initiative.

"The students in the UK are learning through hands-on activities using various teaching materials. In these real-life experiences, imagination and the ability to operate are nurtured. We can add in some of these activities in our classes, to help students in China work out concepts that are rather abstract," Zhang said.

Now this tactile methodology has been introduced to Zhang's primary school in Shanghai. In her classroom, it's easy to spot creative corners like this.

"We also need to search for some balance in our teaching, such as the balance between the UK's differentiated approach and our common teaching, the balance between their experiential teaching and our abstract teaching, as well as the balance of their interest teaching and our in-depth instruction. In our pursuit of balance, we can truly pursue the value of education through math teaching," Zhang said.

Next January, Zhang will travel to the UK again, bringing her math materials from Shanghai with her.

The math teacher exchange program was officially launched in 2014. In the past three years, more than 370 math teachers from both countries have participated in the scheme and benefited from it.

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