Flora has been teaching Maths in Shanghai for 15 years, she gives us an insight into her experience teaching at Stratford School Academy.
‘Last week, our British colleagues introduced us to Stratford School Academy, a beautiful school. We paid a visit to the two beautiful campuses of the school, the new building had just opened and we met very enthusiastic students with neat and elegant uniforms who were eager to learn. Each of the teachers and children we met gave us warm greetings.
The students I am teaching are in both year 7 and year 8. One of the differences in terms of the school buildings here compared to where I teach in Shanghai is that the classrooms here are positively transparent, both teachers and students can be seen working and learning. This environment provides a better working atmosphere for all.
After an exciting two day induction period we began our 20-day teaching project. The length of the class time in Shanghai is 35 minutes compared with the UK being 50 minutes. In addition to this, students’ learning basis was also different to that in Shanghai, so I had to adjust my teaching strategy in time, aiming to meet pupil’s interest without losing Shanghai characteristics. Teachers in this school will give pupils enough time to explore and learn by themselves, which pupils enjoy very much. They are encouraged to put forward their opinions and participate in class discussions. The class atmosphere is open and independent.
My first class given on November 6th focused on, ‘The Movement of the Decimal Point.’ Although I prepared my teaching plans, PowerPoint presentations and supporting exercises it was challenging to be faced with 30 English-speaking pupils. Due to the language differences I sometimes failed to convey my ideas through my words. The expressions were not as fluent as those in Chinese lectures. However, the children’s desire to learn was shown in their eyes as well as in their learning attitude, they showed a willingness to understand which helped to restore my confidence.’
‘I often ask students questions like: What do you think? How did you get this answer? All of these questions aim at inspiring the class to think as well as cultivate their abilities of ratiocination, conclusion and abstraction, leading to a higher-level mathematical literacy.
I am so happy to share my ideas at Stratford School Academy. The teaching system here can nurture excellent students and provide them with development space to be even more outstanding. I will take this good experience back to Shanghai to share with my colleagues and students. Thank you!’
Mia Q is a middle school teacher in Shanghai. She shares with us some highlights of her experience so far.
‘On November 4th I arrived at Stratford School Academy, the ground outside the school was covered with golden leaves, a beautiful school. Once I was in the school I immediately felt welcomed by every staff member who greeted me.
The first day was very interesting as I took part in the morning meeting with all of the staff members. Mr Seager, the Headteacher gave us a warm introduction into the history of the school, we paid a visit to the school library, art classrooms and the different areas of the school building. I was particularly interested in the maths classrooms where there were displays for mathematical formulas, mathematical graphics, mathematical stories with rich and colourful content.
The teachers we met shared their teaching experiences with us which made me feel as if I was in a very harmonious atmosphere.
I attended lectures on the second day of my arrival along with a series of lessons to give me a preliminary understanding of the British school classroom setting. The students’ friendliness and liveliness left a deep impact on me.
Whilst listening to the lecture, I began to think how I could adapt my teaching style from Shanghai to suit these students.
I began my first lesson, teaching students algebraic expression. Although my English is not fluent, the students were actively involved and enthusiastic about the lesson. Their enthusiasm gave me great inspiration.
A good beginning is half the success. I believe that during the next three weeks, I will continue to have a positive teaching experience. I do hope that students like my teaching methods so that more students can be inspired by mathematics.’
‘How time flies, four weeks have passed since I arrived in the UK. During my stay in Stratford School Academy I have taught for three weeks and have a good understanding of teaching in the UK.
In the three weeks, I also participated in student’s French class, cookery class and appreciated their creative art and design work. Through the further exchanges with them, I could deeply feel their vitality. Students are very keen on sports, even if they only have a 20 minute mid-morning break, they will go to the playground to play football or play table tennis. I was interested to learn that it was the sport of table tennis which was the students’ elective course of physical activity. I have really enjoyed the teaching experience in the UK, where I can feel a good teaching atmosphere. The teachers and students here have given me great support and I thank them for allowing me to share my teaching here. I believe that we will share a beautiful memory of the last few weeks, I hope Stratford School Academy has a very bright future!’