Textbook’s publication in UK validates Chinese education

By Yang Lan Source:Global Times Published: 2015-3-9 18:28:01

British publisher Harper Collins has signed a contract with East China Normal University Press to publish a redesigned English version of a Chinese supplementary mathematics textbook called One Lesson, One Exercise, the Jiefang Daily reported.

The English version of the textbook will take content that the Chinese and British education systems have in their math curriculum, and adapt it to the needs of British students.

A small controversy emerged in the wake of the announcement. Some critics doubted whether the books would be popular sellers in the UK. Others saw these kinds of supplementary exercise books as one of the reasons why Chinese students are so overloaded with homework. Still, I think the adaptation of the textbook is a good attempt at education exchange between China and a foreign country.

The interest of a British textbook publisher indicates that Shanghai's math education methods are worth spreading.

The reason why the publisher is interested is that Shanghai students ranked first in math, reading and science on the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2012. In comparison, students in the UK ranked 26th in math.

There has been other interests from the UK in the education methods employed at schools in Shanghai. In the beginning of 2014, educators from the UK visited four schools in Shanghai to see how teachers taught math, according to a report on the news website xinhuanet.cn. Last month, 29 math teachers from Shanghai shared their teaching techniques with primary schools in the UK.

After studying the education methods in Shanghai, educators from the UK decided to introduce supplementary books to the UK called Shanghai Mathematics: One Lesson, One Exercise. The decision of British educators validates Shanghai's mathematics education.

This is not the first time that foreign educators have taken a page from their Chinese counterparts and integrated Chinese education methods with their own systems.

Shanghai Qibao Dwight High School, the high school run cooperatively by Shanghai Qibao High School and Dwight School in New York City has created a curriculum with both the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program and classes from the Shanghai curriculum. This cooperative educational model has been welcomed by both students and parents.

Exchange and cooperation do not have to be one-way, and Chinese education methods are gradually being explored and adopted by foreign educators.

Still, some educators worry about the textbook market in the UK, since there are many differences between the education models of China and the UK, and supplementary educational materials are not as common in the UK as they are in China, according to people.cn. I think that it should not be the concern at this point. Instead, it can be a good trial to see how Chinese educational methods and concepts are viewed and adopted by others.

There were Chinese educational materials published and sold overseas before, but this is the first time a series of educational materials has been adapted and transferred to a foreign country, according to The Paper.

One Lesson, One Exercise is one of the most popular supplementary textbooks among primary and secondary school students in Shanghai. There are 11 books on each subject. The entire series will be adapted and published in the UK.

How students and schools in the UK receive this textbook series will also provide Chinese educators with feedback and insights about the educational materials they employ.

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