Some cultures and countries drill mathematics into the younger generation at a very early stage. Forget about introducing mathematics according to the developmental stages of the child; math gets drilled into their minds right from kindergarten. Most children begin to recite mathematical formulas and multiplication tables even before they can under the meaning of multiplication. This form of learning is called rote-learning and is unique to countries like China and India. Teaching tables with rhythm and rhyme instead of practical use is the norm. Children know the answers to multiplications very quickly once they grow up and can understand the concept behind the sums.
The 15-Hour Rule in China
In China, the curriculum stresses on mathematics in a set program that they have for nine years. The program begins at right in primary school and goes up to the time the children are in grade 9. There are four periods of math per week for primary schools and over five periods of math per week for the high schoolers. Even the parents have a very high expectation for their kids when they are in school. The government’s initiative of standardizing teaching and the national exams forces both parents and children to drive mathematics right from the start. The parents are highly involved in the education of their children and prioritize study patterns at home as well.
In schools, each period lasts forty minutes. For higher secondary schools, the periods run for forty-five minutes or more. The long periods add up to a 15-hour per week roster for math alone. The students are trained from a young age to cope with the stress that comes with the education system and consider the occurrence to be normal even. Apart from this, the additional study they put in at home and with tutors, is not part of the 15 hours per week schedule.
Teacher’s Dedication and Teaching Methods
In the year 2001, a compulsory mathematics curriculum was introduced and revised in the year 2011. The new revision set the standards for how numbers and algebra, space and graphs are taught in the classroom. Other areas that are stressed is statistics, probability, practice, and application. The entire concept of learning math in a harsh environment as such is to ensure that hard practice is followed to make the child understand.
Teachers bring the children to the front of the class to work out problems on the board. For fear of being laughed at, the child automatically begins to make efforts to understand. Their ability to understand the concepts of maths thus increases. They are then able to apply newer concepts with what they have already learned. Teachers spend extra hours teaching children and conduct after-school tuitions as well, for a price. Some teachers make the children work out the entire book several times before the end of the year. In the end, the students are very familiar with the sums. The training helps them know all the answers to the questions at exam time.