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World Class Maths: Asian Teaching Practice

Macmillan Education via FutureLearn


Develop world-class maths teaching techniques to enhance your lessons

With seemingly superior mathematics performance in some Asian countries, there is a lot that can be learned from the techniques and methods these countries embed in their teaching.

On this four-week course from Macmillan Education and the University of Southampton, you’ll examine the key features of Asian maths teaching methods in greater depth and discover how to put them into practice in your own maths teaching.

Explore the Concrete Pictorial Abstract (CPA) approach to mathematics

The CPA approach describes how mathematical skills and concepts can be taught effectively by starting off with something concrete, then using visualisations and imagery, and finally working towards abstract notations.

You’ll learn the basics of this approach, looking at the psychology behind it and why it’s an effective tool for teaching maths at different levels. Then, you’ll move on to explore CPA sequence examples and solutions.

Delve into Singapore’s Bar Model method

One example of CPA is the Bar Model method, a visual approach that can aid in understanding fractions, ratios, and percentages.

During the third week of this course, you’ll do a deep dive into the Bar Model, exploring the basics of this method before completing several Bar Model tasks yourself.

Learn how to put Shanghai’s Teaching with Variation into practice in your classroom

Throughout this course, you’ll examine how to incorporate each of these Asian teaching methods into your own classroom. From the Cognitive Pictorial Abstract approach and the Bar Model method to Variation theory, you’ll explore ways to plan your lessons with these skills in mind to improve the efficacy of your maths teaching.

This course is designed for primary school teachers, school administrators, and education policymakers. It may also be of interest to parents with children at primary school.

For a foundation in Asian maths teaching methods, you can start with the World Class Maths: Asian Teaching Methods course.


  • Setting the scene
    • Introduction
    • International context
    • Asian classrooms
    • What next?
  • Maths principles from Singapore: Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract approach
    • Introduction for Week 2
    • Practice the Concrete-Pictorial-Abstract approach
    • CPA in practice
    • What next?
  • Maths principles from Singapore: Bar Model method
    • Introduction for Week 3
    • Practice the Singapore Bar Model method
    • Making the Bar Model more concrete
    • What next?
  • Teaching a lesson with Variation
    • Introduction for Week 4
    • Examples of teaching with Variation
    • Embedding Variation in your lessons
    • What now?

Taught by

Lianghuo Fan


4.7 rating at FutureLearn based on 45 ratings

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