Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

Homeschooling Moms Homeschooling Moms

How the Chinese do it (kind of extensive)

Posted by   + Show Post

 One thing I'm often asked about, when it comes to teaching math & science, is why the Chinese do so much better at math than the US. There are a few things that they do differently than we do here but for the most part it is cultural. They truly believe it is no ok to say 'I'm just not good at math'. Perhaps this is why in 2011 40% of Chinese college graduates were in degrees of Math, Sciences & Engineering, compared to the 5-9% in the US.

Comparisons:

*Math is taught only by specialists in China- even in elementary school. Whereas in the US elementary teachers teach everything. IN fact a poll a few years ago determined that many teachers felt uncomfortable teaching math. Especially since most teachers with a bachelors degree can have as little as 6-12 hours of mathematics education themselves.

*Environment -in China school rooms are clean and empty. Students stay in one room and teachers travel from room to room. This means no one teacher can decorate the room with pretty posters or eye catching things. In fact, until the last couple of years there was no area in a Chinese classroom that even promoted group discussion. THe focus is on what is being taught.

*Emotion -One major difference is teachers (and even HS mom's can be guilty) in the US pus for comfort and happiness in the Present. Whereas Chinese teachers feel that focusing on academics - developing a solid understanding of math and science, will allow for easy entry to college, and therefore translate into a comfortable job - thus happiness and comfort in the Future.

*Testing - Testing in China is done twice, and they are entrance exams - to get into Middleschool and to get into High School. You qualify, at the High School level to either go to a general education high school or to a trade school. They feel that focusing on entrance exams only will also help a student better prepare for entrance exams for college. Where as testing in the US can determine everything from a teachers pay, to the amount of funding given to schools. I think everyone (at least in all the research I've done) agrees standardized testing doesn't really give an accurate representation of the Knowledge a child has, or their true progress.

My Application:

So, how do I as a child-led learner, reconcile my push for greater math & science understanding? Well, one thing is in the practical application of math & science. Kids are like little curious sponges. My kids want remote controlled helicopters or cars? Then they have to build them. They want a 3DS? Then I bought them a broken on and they had to learn to fix it. They wanted to build a time traveling machine in the back yard? Well they watched Dr. Who as well as a documentary on how the science of Dr. Who is being worked on by scientists today.

I've taught algebra (and even trig & calculus) to 10 y/o's by just putting the terminology into vocabulary they can understand. How many times in high school did one say or hear "When will I ever use this, really?" I know I did it a lot. Even though we don't use worksheets, and very few textbooks. There are may instances where we more resemble Chinese style of methodology in mathematics and sciences than we do US.

For more on Chinese mathematics check out the following:

http://wenr.wes.org/2012/07/wenr-junejuly-2012-senior-secondary-mathematics-education-in-china/

http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2013/10/math-instruction-china-effective/

by on Jan. 26, 2014 at 10:19 PM
Replies (11-18):
KickButtMama
by Shannon on Jan. 27, 2014 at 2:00 PM

OMG, planned parenthood next to a bar....LMAO!

Quoting celtic77dragon:

I LOVE that you did this post!

The Asian culture does NOT put a lot of stock in the whole notion of "naturally gifted". Instead, they believe that you work your ass off until it is second nature to you. I appreciate this mentality because it requires focus, dedication, hard work...  You commit to it and you just keep at it. There are few things that I went at in life where I didn't need to have this attitude. This is where the "ancients" have the modern world, if you ask me. You have to be able to understand the importance of listening to the ones who have done it before you AND be dedicated to keeping at it until it is mastered. I know it doesn't entirely jive up with some people, but I will live and die by that motto.

Finland AND Singapore have this in common - hiring the best of the best. Finland not only requires teachers to have a masters degree, they ONLY hire from the top percentage of the graduating classes. The people who teach in Singapore schools are THE BEST at teaching Math and have advanced degrees specializing in math and science. What people do not know is that in Singapore, those kids do not get just math class. They are in math clubs, have math related websites, and work at home. They have a lot of drills and practice, but it is done OUTSIDE of the classroom.  

Oh yeah, Long term success matters more than momentary gain. I have a quote that reminds me of this... "Education should be exercise; it has become massage." Martin H Fischer. You can not just accomodate a childs every comfort. You don't have to be an ass to the child and you don't have to go to any extremes. However, sometimes, people DO need to just suck it up and deal. You will not like everything that you have to do in life. A good parent/teacher pays close attention to know when to push a little harder and when to lay off. It is like driving a high powered car; if you give it too much gas or over steer, you WILL lose control of it. You have to pay attention to how each car drives and respond to it accordingly.

Testing in the USA is ironic to me. It is like having a planned parenthood next to a bar. 

  


Quoting KickButtMama:

 One thing I'm often asked about, when it comes to teaching math & science, is why the Chinese do so much better at math than the US. There are a few things that they do differently than we do here but for the most part it is cultural. They truly believe it is no ok to say 'I'm just not good at math'. Perhaps this is why in 2011 40% of Chinese college graduates were in degrees of Math, Sciences & Engineering, compared to the 5-9% in the US.

Comparisons:

*Math is taught only by specialists in China- even in elementary school. Whereas in the US elementary teachers teach everything. IN fact a poll a few years ago determined that many teachers felt uncomfortable teaching math. Especially since most teachers with a bachelors degree can have as little as 6-12 hours of mathematics education themselves.

*Environment -in China school rooms are clean and empty. Students stay in one room and teachers travel from room to room. This means no one teacher can decorate the room with pretty posters or eye catching things. In fact, until the last couple of years there was no area in a Chinese classroom that even promoted group discussion. THe focus is on what is being taught.

*Emotion -One major difference is teachers (and even HS mom's can be guilty) in the US pus for comfort and happiness in the Present. Whereas Chinese teachers feel that focusing on academics - developing a solid understanding of math and science, will allow for easy entry to college, and therefore translate into a comfortable job - thus happiness and comfort in the Future.

*Testing - Testing in China is done twice, and they are entrance exams - to get into Middleschool and to get into High School. You qualify, at the High School level to either go to a general education high school or to a trade school. They feel that focusing on entrance exams only will also help a student better prepare for entrance exams for college. Where as testing in the US can determine everything from a teachers pay, to the amount of funding given to schools. I think everyone (at least in all the research I've done) agrees standardized testing doesn't really give an accurate representation of the Knowledge a child has, or their true progress.

My Application:

So, how do I as a child-led learner, reconcile my push for greater math & science understanding? Well, one thing is in the practical application of math & science. Kids are like little curious sponges. My kids want remote controlled helicopters or cars? Then they have to build them. They want a 3DS? Then I bought them a broken on and they had to learn to fix it. They wanted to build a time traveling machine in the back yard? Well they watched Dr. Who as well as a documentary on how the science of Dr. Who is being worked on by scientists today.

I've taught algebra (and even trig & calculus) to 10 y/o's by just putting the terminology into vocabulary they can understand. How many times in high school did one say or hear "When will I ever use this, really?" I know I did it a lot. Even though we don't use worksheets, and very few textbooks. There are may instances where we more resemble Chinese style of methodology in mathematics and sciences than we do US.

For more on Chinese mathematics check out the following:

http://wenr.wes.org/2012/07/wenr-junejuly-2012-senior-secondary-mathematics-education-in-china/

http://news.vanderbilt.edu/2013/10/math-instruction-china-effective/



jen2150
by Silver Member on Jan. 27, 2014 at 8:10 PM
I think there have some positive things that they are doing but I am not crazy on their system as a whole. Their way of doing things would crush my children's imagination and creativity. They thrive on flexibility. I love the part about not being allowed to say they are not good at math. I would let my kids say that or even think it.
celtic77dragon
by Member on Jan. 27, 2014 at 8:25 PM

I am (genuinely) curious to hear you expanded on this point of view. How would kill your kids creativity and imagination?

Singapore actually encourages and requires this kind of thinking instead of just the rote memory of drills. My kids are highly creative and I am not not found any lack of creativity with them. 

Quoting jen2150: I think there have some positive things that they are doing but I am not crazy on their system as a whole. Their way of doing things would crush my children's imagination and creativity. They thrive on flexibility. I love the part about not being allowed to say they are not good at math. I would let my kids say that or even think it.


jen2150
by Silver Member on Jan. 27, 2014 at 8:41 PM
My kids need flexibility and freedom. Singapore method would not work for my oldest. Chinese system is not very flexible. They need to be able to make choices. The Chinese system is very rigid. I am not saying chinese children are not creative but that method would zap my son's creativity. I think too much pressure is put on children in china. Singapore woud never work for my kids. I am big on mental math but am not in favor of Singapore for my kids. I saw my kids creativity being squashed when we were using a more traditional method.

Quoting celtic77dragon:

I am (genuinely) curious to hear you expanded on this point of view. How would kill your kids creativity and imagination?

Singapore actually encourages and requires this kind of thinking instead of just the rote memory of drills. My kids are highly creative and I am not not found any lack of creativity with them. 

Quoting jen2150: I think there have some positive things that they are doing but I am not crazy on their system as a whole. Their way of doing things would crush my children's imagination and creativity. They thrive on flexibility. I love the part about not being allowed to say they are not good at math. I would let my kids say that or even think it.


KickButtMama
by Shannon on Jan. 27, 2014 at 9:07 PM

I agree it's not for everyone. But we really only apply this type of learning in an abstract way - since we are technically unschoolers. I love that in the US we have the freedom to adjust learning styles to fit our needs. 

Quoting jen2150: My kids need flexibility and freedom. Singapore method would not work for my oldest. Chinese system is not very flexible. They need to be able to make choices. The Chinese system is very rigid. I am not saying chinese children are not creative but that method would zap my son's creativity. I think too much pressure is put on children in china. Singapore woud never work for my kids. I am big on mental math but am not in favor of Singapore for my kids. I saw my kids creativity being squashed when we were using a more traditional method.

Quoting celtic77dragon:

I am (genuinely) curious to hear you expanded on this point of view. How would kill your kids creativity and imagination?

Singapore actually encourages and requires this kind of thinking instead of just the rote memory of drills. My kids are highly creative and I am not not found any lack of creativity with them. 

Quoting jen2150: I think there have some positive things that they are doing but I am not crazy on their system as a whole. Their way of doing things would crush my children's imagination and creativity. They thrive on flexibility. I love the part about not being allowed to say they are not good at math. I would let my kids say that or even think it.



jen2150
by Silver Member on Jan. 27, 2014 at 9:48 PM
I was speaking of the system as a whole. I think parts of has some great qualities. Our government was created taking parts from many different governments.

Quoting KickButtMama:

I agree it's not for everyone. But we really only apply this type of learning in an abstract way - since we are technically unschoolers. I love that in the US we have the freedom to adjust learning styles to fit our needs. 

Quoting jen2150: My kids need flexibility and freedom. Singapore method would not work for my oldest. Chinese system is not very flexible. They need to be able to make choices. The Chinese system is very rigid. I am not saying chinese children are not creative but that method would zap my son's creativity. I think too much pressure is put on children in china. Singapore woud never work for my kids. I am big on mental math but am not in favor of Singapore for my kids. I saw my kids creativity being squashed when we were using a more traditional method.



Quoting celtic77dragon:

I am (genuinely) curious to hear you expanded on this point of view. How would kill your kids creativity and imagination?

Singapore actually encourages and requires this kind of thinking instead of just the rote memory of drills. My kids are highly creative and I am not not found any lack of creativity with them. 

Quoting jen2150: I think there have some positive things that they are doing but I am not crazy on their system as a whole. Their way of doing things would crush my children's imagination and creativity. They thrive on flexibility. I love the part about not being allowed to say they are not good at math. I would let my kids say that or even think it.



Chillisarah
by Member on Jan. 28, 2014 at 1:12 PM

Your post got me thinking about how I want to approach teaching math with my dd. She's half way through Kindergarten right now and recently took a Scantron Assessment test in the Math category and she's at a 3rd grade level for Math.  I also knew it was a strength of hers but now I see that she really knows more than I thought and I really want our learning time to enhance this intelligence she has for mathematics.

PinkButterfly66
by on Jan. 28, 2014 at 2:09 PM

The testing aspect is a little misleading.  There is so much pressure to get into "top" high schools that kids go to school longer and often until late at night.  Middle school kids eat dinner at school.  

http://hechingered.org/content/a-day-in-the-life-of-chinese-students_3826/

Add your quick reply below:
You must be a member to reply to this post.
Join the Meeting Place for Moms!
Talk to other moms, share advice, and have fun!

(minimum 6 characters)

close Join now to connect to
other members!
Connect with Facebook or Sign Up Using Email

Already Joined? LOG IN