The International Congress on Mathematical Education (ICME) is the world's highest-level and largest academic congress in mathematical education held under the auspices of the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction (ICMI). The 14th ICME was held at East China Normal University, Shanghai, China from July 11th to July 18th. Shanghai High School (SHS) and Shanghai High School International Division (SHSID) were honored to be invited by the organizing committee to participate in this congress. Principal Feng Zhigang highly valued this event, and arranged work for SHSID High School Principal Ma Feng to promote the implementation of the project, and encouraged teachers and students to actively participate in this congress.
Two teachers (Mr. Ma Feng and Ms. Guo Ziyu) and six students (Jin Ruiqi and Tong Su from local division, Alex Jiang，Minhan Zhou, Alyna Tang and Leo Lu from international division) of SHS participated in the “Thematic Afternoon” (featured activities showing mathematics education in China) session held on July 15th and gave insightful speeches about the changes and innovations that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to mathematics teaching and learning.
In the first half of 2020, during the special period of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, Shanghai steadily implemented the Ministry of Education's requirements of " suspend classes without stopping teaching, suspend classes without stopping learning", and started massive online-teaching for primary- and secondary-school students for the whole city. In the speeches, SHS teachers and students first focused on that Shanghai Municipal Education Commission and the Teaching and Research Office quickly organized outstanding teachers to record teaching lectures, and took advantage of online-teaching platforms including SMILE and Air Classroom to ensure all the primary- and secondary-school students’ mathematics learning and performed efficient mathematics teaching during the pandemic, which finally turned out to be a special "Shanghai Plan" that satisfied teachers and students.
During the pandemic, SHS adopted the method of "group preparation and recorded lectures" to carry out mathematics teaching. The math-teaching group carefully recorded each lecture prior to class, and then sent the lectures to the students. According to the teaching content, the teachers also adopted diverse teaching methods. Mr. Wang Yongqing, the head of the math-teaching group, said in the interview, “Our group prepared lectures collectively and divided work reasonably. Some looked for mathematical modeling materials, some explored the mathematics culture contents, some designed and produced lectures, and some prepared homework and assignments. After finishing this preparation work, we then would record high-quality lectures following the school’s deployment.”
SHSID is a pioneer to perform the Hybrid Learning Model (HLM), which combines students’ independent learning and teachers’ organized teaching. The integration of online teaching and the normal face-to-face teaching not only breaks through the defect of large-scale online teaching, but also shows a better teaching effect. As Ms. Xu Baiting, a math teacher from SHSID said, "Hybrid teaching is ability-oriented, leading students to consider what suits them best and enabling them to make a choice. students can make their study plan and improve their time management ability through calendar arrangement. It can also enhance self-study, information collection, teamwork, critical thinking, etc.”
Six students from the SHS local and international divisions all used the survey results to present in detail students’ feedback on online-mathematics teaching. “We conducted in-depth interviews with 3 students about their learning status during the pandemic, and surprisingly found that the pandemic had increased the students’ engagement and initiative towards online-mathematics learning. One of the interviewees completed three mathematics research projects during the COVID-19 quarantine period, and the reduced school workload gave her more time and energy to devote time on mathematical research. The second interviewee was the leader of the SHSID mathematical modeling club, who used his free time to conduct study in more advanced fields of mathematics with his fellow club members. The third interviewee was an avid participant of math activities; during the pandemic, he independently studied linear algebra and calculus with the help of online resources." The lively examples shared by Alyna and Leo from SHSID offered the audience a brand-new perspective of the high-school students' math learning during the pandemic.
Faced with the big test brought by the pandemic, SHSers finally completed wonderful “SHS answer sheets”.
Though the lectures included in this session were all given offline in English, these lectures also attracted many foreign mathematics educators online, who overcame the time difference and carefully watched the live broadcast. Some left messages on the congress message board: “The demonstration of online mathematics teaching of Shanghai and SHS in response to the pandemic is very clear. Thank you!” and “It’s so great to be able to hear students’ opinions in this session!” Notably, the local sending time of these messages were from 2:00 a.m. to 4:30 a.m. Some foreign mathematics educators actively participated in the Q&A session after listening to all the lectures, and their questions included: "How could you cover all the content of the syllabi in the online teaching?" and "How did students balance the Olympiad math learning with schoolwork during the pandemic?" After receiving the answers from Mr. Ma Feng and Tong Su, they were very satisfied and marveled at the efficiency of Shanghai's mathematics teaching in reaction to the pandemic. Mr. Ma Feng also gave an oral English report on the top-level design and systematic thinking for the cultivation of math competencies at the ICME-14 Thematic Study Group session held on the afternoon of July 13th, presenting the practical teaching experience of SHSID, and having an in-depth discussion with other mathematics educators from all over the world.
The successful completion of this project has to be attributed to the great attention of the school administrators and the concrete work of SHS during the pandemic. In the preparation of the speech materials, many faculty members and staff provided a lot of support in video-shooting, editing, translation, data collection and analysis, etc. Other institutes including East China Normal University, the Mathematics Teaching and Research Offices of Shanghai Municipal and Xuhui Districts, Fengxian Mingde Foreign Language Primary School, and Shanghai Huangpu Luwan No.1 Central Primary School also have given friendly support on the data collection of this project. Sincere thanks to you all!
(Written by School Affairs Center of High School Pictures by School Affairs Center of High School （reorganized from the official news release from East China Normal University） Reviewed by School Affairs Office)