Teaching methods are one reason—but the English language doesn’t helpby David Tall / April 24, 2014 / Leave a comment
Published in May 2014 issue of Prospect Magazine
“What is the secret to Asia’s attainment in maths—and can Britain learn it?”
© Mark Bowden/ istock
In a series of international mathematics tests in 2012, British teens reached only the average score. Shanghai’s school children came top of the list, with results that showed them to be the equivalent of three years of schooling ahead of Britain’s children. The UK government is now bringing over 60 maths teachers from Shanghai to introduce Chinese teaching methods to Britain, in the hope that this will raise standards.
But why are the Chinese better at learning maths, at least in the Chinese cities that took part in the tests? And can that success be learned, or transplanted into British schools? The signs are that some of it can, but there are limits.