School samples maths teaching Shanghai style

Chinese teacher Zhang Rong Xi speaking to a class in South Gloucestershire Credit: Credit: ITV News West Country

A primary school in South Gloucestershire has taken a different approach to try and bridge the gap between English and Chinese students.

Mangotsfield Primary School has employed a visiting Maths teacher from Shanghai to teach English pupils the same way as Chinese students.

The Chinese style of learning involves teaching the whole class together, rather than streaming pupils on their ability, with all children learning the same topics at the same time.

Zhang Rong Xi is visiting the primary school to show pupils, and teachers from the region, how Maths is taught in the Far East.

She believes that even though students have different abilities, they can all reach the same level:

"Maybe some students can't do the challenge and some students can't chant the times table easily, but I think if they get more time to practice they will do better."

Abby Watkins has just returned from a trip to Shanghai Credit: ITV News West Country

Maths teacher Abby Watkins recently visited Shanghai to experience the Chinese teaching style first-hand.

She says, "They currently take a different approach and they have a different curriculum structure they're working from. There are certainly things we want to develop here in England to be able to ensure that our children have really secure foundations to their mathematical understanding from an early age."

Pupils during a maths class Credit: ITV News West Country

The students seem to be responding well to the Chinese teaching methods, but not all of them enjoy this new way of learning:

Whilst the UK is often said to fall behind countries in the Far East in subjects like Maths, some believe we could learn important lessons from within the UK.

Mike Ellicock from National Numeracy says that "while we can look abroad we can actually look right here in each individual school, look at what the best teachers are doing and you'll find that there's lots that we can learn from that."