My interest in Shanghai maths teaching is an intellectual matter not a political one.
We should definitely be wanting to know more about their pedagogy given we are rarely in a position in our busy, chaotic, highly emotional school lives to engage with it. They’re the ones who have the chance to rigorously pull apart and reconstruct maths teaching.
The fact that they come out on top consistently is of interest to me. If I was a manager of a mid-tier football team, I’d be wanting to find out what the managers of the top teams were doing. If I was a trainee surgeon, I’d want to know what the best surgeons do. If I was a maths teacher, I’d want to know what the best maths teaching might look like (and PISA would give me an indication as to where to look).
Shanghai is humble enough to claim they don’t have the monopoly on good ideas and I’ve been more than happy to find out how they do what they do.
As 60 Shanghai teachers prepare to teach in our schools next month, I am excited about what we’ll see that’s transerable.