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Ian_Lee

Chinese -- mathematical friendlier than English

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Ian_Lee

I would say Chinese language is much more mathematically friendlier than English is.

Just look at some Grade 4 kids in US/Canada. They cannot even handle simple multiplication and division.

Why? Because unlike Chinese kids who start to sing the lyrics of "9 x 9 song" and memorize them deep in minds since Grade 1 or even earlier, western kids don't have that song to sing and have to juggle with tedious sentences.

That may be the primary reason why Chinese kids outperform western kids in Math.

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roddy

What?

You start off by saying that Chinese language is 'mathematically friendlier' than English, then you attribute the Chinese kids advantage in maths to singing songs. That's nothing to do with the language, it's what's given priority in the curriculum.

If anyone wanted to they could write multiplication songs for 6 year olds in English. However, I'd like to think they wouldn't bother.

That may be the primary reason why Chinese kids outperform western kids in Math.

So where do western kids outperform Chinese kids? And is that due to differences in the nature of the language, or to differences in the curriculum.

juggle with tedious sentences

For example?

Roddy

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tara

I tend to agree with Roddy.

It's the priority that makes the difference - it has always been known that Chinese are more mathematically inclined simply bcoz emphasis is towards the subject.

Western schools (be it kindergarten, primary, secondary etc) incorporates many non-academic subjects like sports (plenty of that...swimming, rugby, netball, soccer, basketball and its a daily schedule), home economic, textiles and fashion, metalwork, woodwork, drama and arts whereas Chinese schools focus on academic subjects, alot of writing, poetry, maths etc.....correct me if i m wrong, but that is comparison made between friends of western ed and chinese ed.

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Ian_Lee

Roddy:

Maybe you never notice how Chinese kids learn math in primary school.

On the back of every math exercise book, there is a table which lists the results from "1 x 1" to "9 x 9". However, the table is composed in song-style but with only lyrics and no rhythms.

Starting from Grade 1 or even earlier, the teacher and/or parents let them memorize this "song".

So when they study multiplication/divison in Grade 2/3. from their minds they can instantly recite the table.

That is what happens to my kids who are now attending schools in US/Canada.

But my kids told me that western kids don't have such easy way to memorize this basic stuff and have to juggle tedious sentences like "five by five equals to twenty-five". (Maybe she is wrong. Do you recall how you memorize such basics?)

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Ian_Lee

Tara:

Please tell me which public grade school in which country offers such wide curriculum as you mention.

For public school in US, I only know that they install metal screen detector at the entrance.

Students attending public school in US is only slighty less risky than soldiers stationing in Iraq.

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Ian_Lee

Tara:

By the way, in the state I live in, the public schools have to work on a rotating basis -- students have to attend school in summer in some districts because there is not enough classroom.

And they don't even have enough textbooks. Two to three students have to share one.

Many students have fleas in their hair. I only experienced such nightmare when I was a kid attending primary school in HK in the 1950s. I never dream that my kids would face such nightmare in US in 2000s.

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tara

Ian:

That school I am referring to is exactly the school I went to in Singapore, United World College of South East Asia. Even the Convent school I went to in Sussex, UK covered many non-academic curriculum such as food economics, textiles & fashion and drama & arts - all 'O' level subjects.

And you are right about how western ed kids have to memorise time-tables.....bcoz that's exactly how I was taught to memorise the time-tables i.e......one times two equals two.....two times two equals four and so forth. I share your view, but cannot totally credit the mathematical inclination to songs. To memorize is one thing but to really understand the subject matter is another.

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芳芳

five-by-five-equal-to-twenty-five...You can sing it if you want!!!

May be the lyrics are more melodious in chinese, but does it make it really better for chinese pupils to count?

And what are multiplication tables??

the very basics of maths!!!

In your higher studies, you won't use a lot of mental calculus (you'll use it, it's important, but it's no real maths), as far as all is formal, so maths are not really easier according to the language.

I also thing that chinese ed gives a more important place to maths than america. Anyway, it is also the same in my country (we do a lot of math, and less pastry or other struff. )

This must be the reason why the chinese kids have a higher maths level.

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Ian_Lee

So you are now talking about private school.

Of course, private schools in western countries can endow the kids with everything most Asian kids can only dream of.

My kid is simultaneously learning piano/cello/orchestra.

But how many parents can afford the tuition?

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tara

Ian:

Your serious? You still get that in US...gees...pretty hard to believe. That's actually pretty much like the public schools in Malaysia, there are two slots (am and pm), to be able to accomodate all the students. But not to the extend of having to share text books....well, maybe but at the poorer states of Malaysia.

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tara

Ian:

Yup, I was referring to private schools...sorry for the confusion....bcoz that's the only schools I have been too and have not had the experience of state schools until my youngest sister enrolled in a state school, after a couple of years in private school - for a simple reason, the fees of private schools are increasing ever so high and the state school my youngest sister managed to enrol is one of the top state schools, so that is a bonus.

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Ian_Lee

Tara:

Public school kids (at least in my state which is quite well-off financially) in US even have to solicit at shopping mall or knock on neighbor's door to sell nobody-wants-chocolate to help raise money for school stationary.

You won't believe it. But that is the truth!

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roddy
Maybe you never notice how Chinese kids learn math in primary school

I have noticed, and it's still nothing to do with the nature of the language. It's the emphasis given to it within the curriculum.

Roddy

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smithsgj

Do they still teacj the times tables in the west? I have no idea. When I learnt, it was in almost the same way as Taiwanese kids now learn.

Once two is two

Two twos are four

Three twos are six

....

With one difference: they were proper sentences, unlike "er er si, san er liu". wtf is san er liu supposed to be: it's gibberish!

Another thing. Why don't they teach Taiwanese kids (and I guess Chinese kids too) to count properly. The Chinese counting system is simple and logical, so why does it have to be simpified further.

yi er san... shiba shijiu ershi eryi erer ersan

Excuse me, but shouldn't it be ershiyi, ershi'er etc? Anyone have any idea why counting is taught wrongly?

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Eloise
Do they still teacj the times tables in the west? I have no idea. When I learnt' date=' it was in almost the same way as Taiwanese kids now learn.

Once two is two

Two twos are four

Three twos are six

....

[/quote']

They certainly do, and that was how I learnt them also. 'Five times five equals twenty-five' is the more formal way of saying it but 'five fives are twenty-five is much better for the sing-song chant mnemonics we used.

If anyone wanted to they could write multiplication songs for 6 year olds in English. However, I'd like to think they wouldn't bother.

Actually . . . my sister . . . had this tape . . . :shock:

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pazu

Oh the only song of Maths I know is,

小皮球, 香蕉油, 奶兒開花一十一,

一五六, 一五七, 一八一九二十一~

二五六, 二五七, 二八二九三十一~

三五六, 三五七, 三八三九四十一~

~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Quest
Another thing. Why don't they teach Taiwanese kids (and I guess Chinese kids too) to count properly. The Chinese counting system is simple and logical, so why does it have to be simpified further.

yi er san... shiba shijiu ershi eryi erer ersan

Excuse me, but shouldn't it be ershiyi, ershi'er etc? Anyone have any idea why counting is taught wrongly?

Try counting from 1 to 100 in the correct way, then try counting in the shorten way. People are just lazy :) There are three ways to say those numbers. 1. The proper way -- Si Shi San 2. Contraction -- Si'r San 3. Shorten -- Si San. The shorten form is only used in counting, because it's just easier that way to count, and its' still understandable.

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smithsgj

But counting is just a way of learning the numbers for other purposes -- the kids aren't going to be doing any stocktaking! And nobody in English counts like "two eight, two nine, thirty, three one..." It is laziness -- why not teach kids properly?

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Quest

Well, it's just an accepted way of counting, I don't even know it's that improper. Also, not all kids are taught to count like that, however, I don't remember how I was taught to count when I went to kindergarten. I do remember we used to compete to see who counted first to 100 in least time.

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geek_frappa
I would say Chinese language is much more mathematically friendlier than English is.

Just look at some Grade 4 kids in US/Canada. They cannot even handle simple multiplication and division.

Why? Because unlike Chinese kids who start to sing the lyrics of "9 x 9 song" and memorize them deep in minds since Grade 1 or even earlier' date=' western kids don't have that song to sing and have to juggle with tedious sentences.

That may be the primary reason why Chinese kids outperform western kids in Math.[/quote']

Chinese kids outperform Western kids in what type of assessment?

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