Since the 1980s, Chinese children have consistently been found to perform well in mathematics in cross-national studies of academic achievement. This study is one of the first to systematically examine Chinese children’s early mathematics learning experiences through a content analysis of eight sets of preschool teacher’s teaching reference books that are commonly used in China. A total of 2038 mathematics activities were selected from these classic teaching reference books and analyzed in terms of (i) suggested teaching approaches, (ii) the mathematical concepts covered, and (iii) their integration of a problem-solving component. The results showed that early mathematics teaching in Chinese preschools emphasize the mastery of key mathematical concepts and skills, while less attention is paid to the application of these key concepts in real-life and non-routine problem-solving settings. Collective teaching was found to be the major teaching mode for early mathematics activities in Chinese preschools, with teachers playing a leading role in the collective teaching activities described in the reference books. However, the teacher’s role is not described in detail in the learning corner activities, and few activities were found to integrate a problem-solving component. The implications of these findings for early mathematics education and the need for a more comprehensive review of mathematics education from the pre-primary to secondary stages are discussed. Copyright © 2021 by the authors.
CitationSun, J., Qin, H., Lee, K., Bautista, A., & Zhang, Q. (2022). Early mathematics learning and teaching in Chinese preschools: A content analysis of teaching reference books for preschool teachers. Mathematics, 10(1). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3390/math10010010
- Early mathematics education
- Teaching reference books
- Content analysis