Education Insight| How do We Teach Mathematics at Huili?

German mathematician, Karl Weierstrass, who was often cited as the father of modern analysis once said, “It is impossible to be a mathematician without being a poet in soul.” Mathematics is indeed a combination of two essential parts: rigorous analysis and free imagination. In Huili mathematics classrooms, we are not only teaching our pupils calculation, algebra and trigonometric functions, more importantly we are cultivating them with mathematical thinking – a different way of perceiving things happening around us, and to arouse their deeper curiosity towards the subject and the world.

Huili School Hangzhou’s goal is to combine the best of the East and the West. Following this spirit, our mathematics department aims to enhance our Chinese pupils’ strength in traditional mathematics and empower them with a global perspective, while providing them with an international platform to grow and to succeed.

Every day, our highly qualified maths teachers work hard to emphasise each individual pupil’s responsibility towards their own study.  Pupils with a weaker language background are encouraged to create a regularly updated and renewed vocabulary list. We adopt various pedagogies and teaching methods and promote differentiation in all grade levels, aiming to add value to every pupil with different learning styles and foundational knowledge.

For example, in one of her lessons, Grade 2 maths teacher, Miss Wang, set up three maths stations in one classroom, enhancing three skills: number patterns, place values and maths literacy, to meet different learning styles and needs of the pupils.

When Grade 7 maths teacher, Miss Li, was teaching the topic of rational numbers she guided pupils to research the BMI (body mass index) of the whole class. The result was a presentation of teamwork in written form as well as various group presentations in front of the class.

In class a bilingual approach is achieved through both English and Chinese instruction. Pupils are given the mathematic terminology in both Chinese and in English to support their understanding. In the meantime, we have to bear in mind that one of our teaching goals, especially for upper grade pupils, is to have them ready for their future examinations and international education.

Collaboration plays an important role in Huili School Hangzhou’s teaching and learning. Not only do our maths teachers organise various educational activities in their lessons, but also all subjects support one another. For instance, in the ongoing Maths Week, visual arts and DT teachers discussed the proportions of the human figure and their facial features with the pupils. For upper grade pupils, they explored M.C. Escher’s ‘Art of Mathematics’, and created tessellating patterns, which were firstly used by Sumerians about 4000 BC. In music lessons, pupils enjoyed maths songs from the famous movie ‘School of Rock’, and learnt note values, which were beautifully associated with mathematics. In ICT lessons, pupils have learnt about the data being handled in IT and mathematical programming. Even in PE lessons, our enthusiastic PE teachers organized treasure hunts around the field with maths problems to solve!

Through all of these elements, together with high Huili academic standards and expectations for our pupils, we encourage them to ask more, learn more and to be more curious of mathematics and the world around them. We hope our pupils will be equipped with a strong understanding of the world, as well as a deeper interest in mathematical concepts. Mathematics is not only an academic subject, but also will be one of the important tools which will take them further along the path to the bright future!