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The Big Question: why do Asian maths teaching methods work so well?

In this first week we pose the Big Question: why does Asian mathematics education so much attention? Why does it seem to work so well?
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Welcome to our course on World Class Maths: Asian teaching practice for primary education.

In recent years, you might have noticed that several Asian countries have been in the news for their mathematics achievements. International comparisons are regularly conducted so that we know how students in different countries perform on similar maths tasks. These Asian countries do really well. The main comparisons for maths are PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) and TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study).

This course can be taken as a follow-up to our first course, World Class Maths: Asian teaching methods. It will involve more concrete tasks and sequences of tasks to try out to help you put these methods into practice. However, there is some overlap with the first course, so it can also be taken as a ‘stand-alone’ course.

First, we will introduce the course leaders. Then, we will show that there does seem to be superior performance in some Asian countries in TIMSS at Grade 4. Finally, you will work on some practical tasks.

In this course, we ask the following key questions:

  • Why do certain Asian countries do so well in international comparisons?

  • What are the distinctive features of mathematics education in their classrooms?

  • How can we adopt those quality features, so that others can use them as well?

What are your initial thoughts on these topics?

© University of Southampton
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World Class Maths: Asian Teaching Practice

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