East Asian Verus Western Asian Mathematics Teaching

In East Asia, the mathematics education is more inclined towards product-oriented approach in which the students have to be grounded in their content knowledge. There is strong belief that the students must have “product” in which they can develop the process. In East Asia, teachers usually adopt didactic teaching in which students are passive receivers of information. East Asian countries are heavily influenced by CHC (Confucian Heritage Culture). The East Asians are more compliant, obedient and respect for superior.  On the other hand, the western countries see the value of Mathematics in its process (of analyzing the reality). Thus, the style of teaching is more process-oriented and individualized learning. The students are seen as active construction of their knowledge and mathematical communications and reasoning.
In Japan and Korea, parents spend more than USD$10 billion on tutions. In Japan, it is called Juku schools while in Korea, is is known as tutorial school. Usually, such tution schools advocate the memorizing of the mathematical facts.
So, how do I see myself as a Mathematics teacher in East Asia? I am the truly “East Asian product” type as I believe that students must have the Mathematical content knowledge (“product”) before the process developed. That does not mean I advocate root learning. As what Confusion has said “Seeking knowledge without thinking is labour lost; thinking without seeking knowledge is perilous” (?????????????), I strike a balance between focusing on the process and the product. As a ordinary teacher who wants nothing but the best for my extraordinary students (who just have the knack to make me both angry and happy at all times), I used varied teaching strategies based on the different learning theories (behavourism, cognition and construction) to make mathematics both meaningful and fun for the students. For example, I designed varied activies for my students from getting the students to practice their numeracy skills using web resources to using Scratch to explore the geometric properties.

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