柯斯理学校中美老师研究发现：用英文学数学，能同时提高英文与数学。现引用美国数学联盟创始人之一的 Dan Flegler 的一段话，希望给家长及学生提供参考，同时引用了中国数学胡博士的观点，引发家长思考。
the Math League program － co-founder Dan Flegler ：
I believe that contests such as ours instill a love of mathematics in students and spur them on in their study of mathematics. The best math student I ever taught was getting Cs in the honors ninth-grade math course I was teaching when his father bribed him with a $5 bill to join the math team. On the first contest he ever took, he missed 5 of the 6 questions, but got the very hardest question correct. I was amazed since the problem he got correct was a geometry question that I thought he lacked the requisite knowledge to solve. It turned out that he found a novel way to solve the problem that was completely different from the way I thought it should be done. He went on to complete algebra 1, geometry, algebra 2 and trigonometry in about four months, studying independently under my direction. He eventually won virtually every high school math competition in New Jersey and later got his Ph.D. from Stanford University in applied mathematics. But this never would have happened if he hadn’t been inspired by a math contest.
I also asked about the speed test. The goal for this test is a fast, correct answer — rather different from the poking and prodding we do on Numberplay. Nevertheless I did enjoy racing through the sixty questions, which are much easier than they look at first. Finding the simple hook for each — in about ten seconds — is exhilarating: a series of sixty bite-sized riddles. At the same time, I didn’t get them all right. Do many students score 100%? Here’s Mr. Flegler:
The only students who ever got perfect scores on the speed round were two fraternal Chinese twins (a boy and a girl). Neither I nor any of my colleagues can get a perfect score on the speed round when we take the speed round for fun (even when I write many of the questions myself!). Trying to do 60 questions in 45 minutes isn’t an easy task for anyone. The speed round is really very different from anything else we do in our competitions — we save it for last since it’s like dessert after a heavy meal.
Rui Hu, coach of the China team response:
The Math League and the Stanford International Youth Program enable Chinese students to view and learn math and science from a completely different perspective from what is available in China.
I find two major problems with current Chinese education. The first is math education. All students are forced to study Math Olympiad problems, very hard problems, even though a lot of these students have no interest in studying these hard problems designed only for math geniuses. This makes Chinese students the least happy students in the world. But Math League contests are well-known math competitions in North America and in the world, with more than 30 years’ history. They present fun and creative problems that promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills, the two most important skills that Chinese students are missing in the current exam-oriented, cram education system in China. It is much more fun working on Math League questions than on extremely hard math problems. Math League contests present a complement to the current Chinese math education. To me, I think the best way is American-style math plus Chinese-style rigorous practice and sound, systematic curriculum.
The second problem is English education. Chinese students spend a lot of time on studying English. But Chinese teachers teach students English with the goal to help them achieve high scores in various English tests, such as the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and SAT, not the goal to use English in daily life. So Chinese students achieve very high scores on English tests, but can’t communicate with English speakers. This is true in math education, too. The goal is scoring high in contests like Math Olympiad, not developing students’ true interests in math. So ironically, Chinese students hate math and English, although they spend a lot of time studying math and English. And this is where Math League can help as well. Students can learn native English and have fun solving Math League problems.
Here’s Dr. Hu:
The current Gaokao system, which was restored in the winter of 1977 by Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, played the most important and critical role in lifting China from poverty and making China the second-largest economy in the world. Thanks to the Gaokao, millions of quality students are able to enter universities in China; most are trained to be the quality engineers who helped create modern China. But the Gaokao and the education system in both K-12 and university levels have their shortcomings. It is basically a cram system. It doesn’t really encourage critical thinking, creative thinking or intuitive problem-solving. This partially explains why China is very good at copycatting, but not necessarily good at innovation or creativity.
China has produced many, many quality engineers, but not enough innovators or independent thinkers. The Chinese government realizes this problem, so do Chinese parents and teachers. But it is extremely hard to change the current Gaokao system. No one expects the current Gaokao system will change in foreseeable future. So they (Chinese parents, students and teachers) are looking at alternatives or complementary, and the United States is their first choice, as it is the most powerful and innovative country in the world.
Not all the students who participate in Math League contests in China are planning to go to non-Chinese universities. I would say more than half of them are still planning to go to Chinese universities. But these Chinese students want to try something new, something that is innovative and creative, something that is complementary to the current Chinese education system.
中国学生花很多时间学习英语。但中国老师教授学生英语，是以帮助他们在诸如托福（Test of English as a Foreign Language的中文简称）和SAT等各种英语考试上得高分为目标，不是以在日常生活中使用英语为目标。因此，中国学生的英语考试得分很高，但不能与说英语的人交流。在数学教育中也有这个问题。我们的目标是在如奥林匹克数学竞赛上得高分，而不是激发学生对数学学习的真正兴趣。因此有一种讽刺性的后果，那就是中国学生讨厌数学和英语，虽然他们花了很多时间学习数学和英语。而这也是数学大联盟杯赛能提供帮助之处：学生能在学习纯正英语的同时，享受解决数学竞赛试题的乐趣。
英文版本 ： Math League Competition (Sample Questions):
1、If my age 24 years ago was 24, what will my age be 24 years from now?
2、What is the minimum number of people needed in a room to be certain that at least 3 of them were born in the same month?
3、If the sum of three prime numbers is 20, what is the largest possible value of one of the three primes?
4、If my brain weighs 0.90 kilogram plus half its weight in kilograms, how many kilograms does my brain weigh?
5、Working alone, a pump fills an empty pool in 3 days. If it works with a second pump, the two pumps together can fill an empty pool in 2 days. In how many days can the second pump, working alone, fill an empty pool?