Macclesfield Deputy Head visits Shanghai to learn about Maths Teaching and Learning

Published: 12 Jul 2016

Author: Lisa Finnegan
Macclesfield Deputy Head visits Shanghai to learn about Maths Teaching and Learning

Lisa Finnegan is a Vice Principal, Year 6 Teacher and Maths Specialist Leader in Education at Ash Grove Academy in Macclesfield, Cheshire. She recently returned from four weeks travelling in China where she researched the impact of Shanghai teaching methods aimed at deepening children’s understanding of mathematical concepts. Lisa’s travels were funded by a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowship Award.

Lisa’s Fellowship will result in an in depth evaluation of how Shanghai Mastery Maths teaching methods compare to those methods used in British primary schools, with a particular focus on Mathematical Variation and Reasoning. During her travels, she visited a primary school affiliated to the University of Science and Technology in the Yangpu District of Shanghai, and held a series of meetings with Dr. Xingfeng Huang, Doctor and Associate Professor at the Research Institute for International Comparative Education at Shanghai Normal University. The visit culminated in a presentation on life as a primary school teacher in the UK, along with current methods of British Maths teaching and learning, to the primary maths teaching faculty at the university.

During her school placement, she was able to meet with the Principal and the Head of Maths to discuss the benefits of the cultural exchange and understand more about current developments in the teaching of Maths in Shanghai. Furthermore, she was able to observe lessons across the entire primary phase. Lisa experienced first hand how the concept of Variation is embedded into every lesson. This approach enables children to make links between key concepts and strengthens their overall sense of numbers and calculation.

“The Fellowship was a fantastic opportunity to travel overseas to learn models of best practice in Maths teaching. Shanghai consistently leads the world in Maths attainment in the International PISA tests and it was extremely interesting to observe first hand how mathematical conceptual progression is developed throughout the primary phase in order to provide students with a secure sense of number and calculation for their entrance into secondary school. Aside from the cultural differences, I learnt so much on how variation could be integrated to benefit British primary children’s conceptual fluency” –Lisa Finnegan

Having now returned to the UK, Lisa intends to share her research and experiences with the Aspirer Teaching Alliance, of which her school is a member. She also aims to collaborate closely with colleagues from other schools who share her interest in Shanghai Mastery Maths teaching.

Notes to Editors