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General features Asian maths pedagogy

In this section we introduce general features of Asian maths pedagogy, as preparation for the next two weeks.

In this video, we introduce the general features of Asian maths pedagogy, in particular Singapore and Shanghai teaching approaches, as preparation for the next two weeks. In those weeks we will present the features in more detail.

The overall key feature of Singapore classrooms is teaching to mastery. In general terms, this is demonstrated by an emphasis on ‘procedural/how to’ followed by ‘factual/rote/basic’ knowledge, which are fundamental in students’ further study in mathematics.

Furthermore, more teacher-centred approaches, reinforced through exercises, are combined with more student-centred approaches. Two more mathematics-specific teaching approaches are often used in the Singapore mastery approach: the Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract approach and the Bar Model method.

Many of these features can also be recognised in the 11 key features of Shanghai mathematics classrooms, which:

  1. Usually start with mathematics questions, often contextualised or stimulating, to motivate students.
  2. Adopt whole-class teaching, supplemented with small group or individual learning activities.
  3. In a mathematical sense, emphasise the ‘Two Basics’ (basic knowledge and basic skills) and thorough understanding (mastery) of concepts.
  4. Emphasise the development of students’ high-order thinking, in particular through open-ended problems and application (real-life) problems.
  5. Emphasise teacher-student interaction and students’ academic engagement.
  6. Adopt teaching with Variation (both conceptual and procedural).
  7. Assign daily homework for formative assessment and reinforcement purposes.
  8. Provide timely feedback and remediation to students in need.
  9. Provide a summary of what was learned at the end of a lesson.
  10. Deliver the lesson with clear structure and coherence.
  11. Heavily rely on textbooks and other teaching and learning resources.

The video finishes with a framework for lesson structure in Shanghai mathematics classes.

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World Class Maths: Asian Teaching Practice

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