Shanghai teachers score high marks among world’s best

Beijing: Experts have rated Shanghai’s junior high school teachers among the world’s most qualified, thanks to their diversified teaching approaches, well-rounded training and rewarding career paths.

The assessment came after local teachers scored highest in 12 indicators in an international survey.

The city attaches great importance to cultivating first-class teachers and giving them rewarding career opportunities, said Zhang Minxuan, director of the Research Institute of International and Comparative Education at Shanghai Normal University.

In addition to the 12 indicators, such as efficiency of lessons, encouraging students to be engaged in classes, and professional training, Shanghai teachers’ overall performance in nearly 40 indicators far exceeded the international average standard, the survey found.

It was carried out by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Nearly 4,000 Shanghai teachers from 199 junior high schools responded to the survey, which also polled teachers in 37 other countries and regions, including Australia, Italy, Singapore and Japan, over the past three years.

In an interview run by the journal Shanghai Education on WeChat, Karine Tremblay, director of the survey project, said Shanghai teachers have in-depth exchanges between peers, which helps them to “grow together on a fast track”.

“We found that many initiatives concerning teachers’ professional development implemented in Shanghai can serve as world models,” she said.

In the OECD’s 2012 Program for International Student Assessment, Shanghai students topped the ranks in math, reading and science tests in competition with those from dozens of countries.

This helped to generate the BBC documentary series Are Our Kids Tough Enough? Chinese School, which was broadcast in August.

In the series, five Chinese teachers took over a class of 50 teenagers at a school in southern England and taught them in a traditional Chinese way — no talking, no questions, and with lessons focused on note-taking and repetition. The documentary sparked heated debate on the teaching styles in the two countries.

“But the survey results showed that it could be a different story with Shanghai teachers,” Zhang said.

The survey found that teachers who said that thinking and reasoning are more important than passing on knowledge to students accounted for 96% of the respondents, the highest proportion globally. — China Daily/Asia News Network

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