Maths teachers from Shanghai will share their teaching methods in English state schools. Meanwhile, a third of adults have trouble with numeracy, a survey shows.
When Education Minister Liz Truss visited schools in Shanghai, she praised their teachers as ‘more effective’ than their British counterparts. Now the DfE has announced that a team of 60 teachers will be recruited to raise maths performance in English schools, the Telegraph reports.
The teachers will be based in 30 new maths ‘hubs’ in schools that specialise in maths teaching for at least a month this autumn. They will train their English peers, focusing on areas like setting challenging homework and giving effective feedback, and will also take master classes for pupils
The initiative, which is part of an £11 million programme to raise maths standards, has been criticised by teachers’ leaders, who claimed that the success of Shanghai teachers has been overstated. “It is ridiculous to suggest that teachers brought in from China will have any more knowledge or expertise than teachers from other countries or indeed our own,” said NUT’s Christine Blower.
Former Conservative Schools Minister Nick Gibb said the move was needed to overcome ‘educational orthodoxy’: “Our schools too often emphasise problem-solving in real-life situations over pure mathematics. As a consequence, a lot of children are failing to gain a fluency in basic arithmetic, meaning they cannot proceed onto more challenging areas such as algebra.”
Meanwhile, a survey of more than 2,300 adults has found that many people are being held back by a poor grasp of maths, which could threaten the UK’s economic recovery. A quarter of respondents said their maths was only satisfactory and a further 7% said it was poor or very poor, resulting in their feeling held back at work, having problems in managing budgets, personal finances and with job hunting.
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