The Teacher Development Continuum in the United States and China

A teacher writing on a blackboard.

Image via Wikipedia

This short book is the proceedings of a workshop at U.C. Irvine where 40 Chinese and American education experts compared and contrasted the ways in which mathematics teachers are developed in the two countries. The issue the experts focus on is the matter “master teachers,” instructors who not only teach but who help other teachers develop.

As with Japan in the 1980s, there will invariably be a lot of hand-wringing about what the Chinese may or may not be doing “better” than Americans with their elementary and secondary education systems. Much of the focus will be on math, science, and engineering, and it does not take much foresight to anticipate debates about adopting wholesale Chinese approaches to education. This would be a mistake.

Nonetheless, it would demand willful hubris to assert that nothing is wrong with basic education in the U.S., and to try to deflect a search for creative solutions. This is what motivated the U.S. National Commission on Mathematics Instruction to ask whether the Chinese may have a better system than we do to find and keep good teachers teaching mathematics.

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