Britain should stop making excuses for education standards falling behind China’s and introduce its teaching methods here, according to Liz Truss, Coalition Education Minister.
The Education Minister visited schools in Shanghai after they were singled out as the most successful in the world by the influential Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Its students came first in reading, maths and science tests, while the UK trailed in 26th place, the Telegraph reports.
Speaking during her visit, Miss Truss said that Chinese teachers are “more effective” than their British counterparts and that excuses shouldn’t be made for falling behind Shanghai’s performance. She claimed that schools in Britain are stagnating and wants the ‘Shanghai method’ introduced to improve pupil performance. “What we see is very effective teaching methodology going on and that is what we are interested in learning about while we are over here, because it seems that the Shanghai teaching methodology uses resources much more effectively and also focuses on the core arithmetic that children need to have from an early age,” she said.
Harvard University has questioned the OECD’s results, claiming that they are skewed because children of migrants in Shanghai have to attend schools in their home provinces. However, Miss Truss warned against accepting this as an explanation for China’s performance: “We shouldn’t kid ourselves that there is somehow an explanation for that very high performance that isn’t about what’s going on in those schools – because I have seen it for myself, I have seen the very high quality teaching that is taking place.”
The Education Minister wants teachers to follow the example of their German and Polish peers who have incorporated methods from schools in the East into their lessons; fifty UK maths teachers have already been to Shanghai to study teaching methods there and have seen standards improve in their own classrooms as a result.
What do you think of Liz Truss’s comments? Could UK schools learn from Shanghai or are its results skewed, as Harvard University suggests?