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Skip to 0 minutes and 0 secondsWell nowadays almost all mathematics educators agree that developing students' understanding and creativity is important. However there is less agreement about the importance of practice in the learning of mathematics. In Asian mathematics classroom, particularly in Chinese classrooms, teachers usually believe that practice makes perfect and view it as a general principle for mathematics teaching and learning. And it is widely believed that practice makes perfect is underlying belief behind teachers' teaching methods in Asian classrooms, particularly in Chinese classrooms. It emphasizes the importance of adequate routine or manipulative practice in students learning of mathematics. Through imitation and repetitive practice, students will become highly skilled.

Skip to 1 minute and 13 secondsAnd many Asian educators also believed that Chinese students' top performance in Timss and Pisa is partly because of a considerable amount of routine practice problem solving in tests that student students completed. According to Professor Li, a professor he is at the China Normal University in Shanghai, and some other researchers, that the mechanism of routine practice should not be simply interpreted as a way in which students only mechanically imitate and memorize rules and skills. In addition, manipulation or practice provides students with necessary condition of concept formation. And it is the first step of mathematical comprehension. In implementing this principle practice makes perfect, two words are relevant. One is familiarity, and the other is variation.

Skip to 2 minutes and 31 secondsFamiliarity means the practice is for students to be familiar with and be proficient at mathematics concepts and skills. Variation it means practice is for the students to broaden their experience and understanding of the concepts and skills.

Why does practice make perfect?

In this video, Professor Fan explains why practice is such an important element of Asian maths pedagogy.

In Asian mathematics classrooms, particularly in China, teachers usually believe that practice makes perfect. They view practice as a general principle for mathematics teaching and learning. ‘Practice makes perfect’ is the underlying belief behind their teaching methods, which emphasise the importance of adequate routine or manipulative practice in students’ learning of mathematics. Through imitation and repetitive practice, students will become highly skilled.

In implementing this principle, two words are relevant, one is ‘familiarity’ and the other is ‘variation’:

  • Familiarity: Practice is for students to be familiar with and be proficient at mathematics concepts and skills.

  • Variation: Practice is for students to broaden their experience and understanding of the concepts and skills.

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This video is from the free online course:

World Class Maths: Asian Teaching Methods

Macmillan Education

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