Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Chinese teachers better at foundational maths than US teachers

Knowing and Teaching Elementary Mathematics: Teachers' Understanding of Fundamental Mathematics in China and the United States (Studies in Mathematical Thinking and Learning.)
by Liping Ma

google books URL

amazon books URL

This looks fantastic. I read the Contents page, Forward and Introduction from the google books URL

From the Forward by Lee Schulman:
Chinese teachers are far more likely to have developed "profound understanding of fundamental mathematics." To say that they "know more" or "understand more" is to make a deeply theoretical claim. They actually may have studied far less mathematics, but what they know they know more profoundly, more flexibly, more adaptively"
foundational knowledge: one and three quarters divided by a half

** Make up a good story or model to represent that problem **

From the Introduction by Liping Ma, reporting from the USA:
I was particularly stuck by the answers to this question. Very few teachers gave a correct response. Most, more than 100 preservice, new and experienced teachers, made up a story that represented one and three quarters multiplied by a half, or, one and three quarters divided by two. Many other teachers were not able to make up a story

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