Mr Simmons' Visit to Shanghai 2
Thursday 14th November
Mr Simmons observed three separate Maths lessons today and took part in discussions with the Head of Maths at Huangpu First District Primary as well as a group of teachers who were visiting the school from another part of Shanghai. Grade 1 children were reviewing and practising adding and subtracting using number stories while Grade 4 were measuring angles using a protractor for the first time and Grade 5 were looking at the order of operations of complex equations without completing calculations. There were many interesting aspects of the teaching and learning that we could apply in England
Monday 18th November
On Sunday morning, Mr Simmons participated in a Maths workshop with a group of teachers from Shanghai schools and professors from Shanghai Normal University. The focus of the session was fractions on a number line and how Shanghai teachers approach this topic.
Today, Mr Simmons visited his second placement school - Zhabei District No.3 Central Primary School. On his arrival, he was welcomed by the school's award-winning choir, who performed two songs to a very high standard. Afterwards, he was presented with the school's mascots and taken on a tour of the building by the school 'mayor'. The Principal and Head of Maths each made a presentation and then small gifts were exchanged. Following lunch in the staff dining room, Mr Simmons observed a Maths lesson about unit price and participated in a teacher research group discussing and analysing the teaching and learning.
Tuesday 19th November
On Tuesday, Mr Simmons observed two Maths lesson in Zhabei No.3 Central Primary School - line segments, rays and straight lines in Grade 4 and number walls in Grade 1. Afterwards, he participated in a teacher research group with four principals from Yunan province, who were also visiting the school. One of the principals was from a village in China where many of the parents go to work in cities to earn money and the children stay at the school during the week. Others live with their grandparents while their parents are away working. Mr Simmons discussed Maths teaching in Shanghai, provincial towns and smaller villages. It was an enlightening discussion.
Wednesday 20th November
Yesterday was Happy Tuesday and so the children could choose their lessons for the first part of the afternoon. Sessions included cookery, flower arranging, Rubik's cube, robot building, basketball, lion and dragon dancing.
Today, Wednesday, the children were back on their regular timetable and Mr Simmons observed three Maths lessons - angles in Grades 2 and 4 and multiplication in Grade 2. Thirteen teachers observed one lesson (as they do every Wednesday morning) and, afterwards, gathered to discuss the lesson and how it could be improved in the future. This type of lesson study approach is an important element of Shanghai's success in teaching Maths. Every teacher is observed by other teachers every week and they must visit another school to discuss their lessons at least once every two weeks. Teachers also visit other provinces in different parts of China on a regular basis to share best practice.
Thursday 21st November
After observing many lessons, participating in several teacher research groups and enjoying various Maths events, it was Mr Simmons' turn to teach in Shanghai today. He taught a Grade 2 (Year 3) class a lesson on line symmetry in a special classroom equipped with video cameras, ceiling microphones and a purpose built observation pod so many teachers can observe a single lesson. In addition to the Principal of Zhabei District No.3 Central Primary School, Mr Simmons was observed by four visiting Principals, the Head of Maths, nine additional Maths teachers and a translator! The children were wonderfully behaved and seemed to greatly enjoy his Star Wars themed lesson!