Basic Conditions of Early Mathematics Education : A Comparison between Germany, Taiwan and Switzerland
Results of international comparison studies show substantially better mathematics performance of the investigated Asian than European students from the early years on. A Taiwanese-German Research Program (TaiGer) engages in exploring differences and similarities in the educational system, in teachers’ knowledge and beliefs and in teaching or learning practice in Taiwan and Germany. Embedded in this Research Program, this contribution focuses on early mathematics education. As mathematics is often seen as an internationally more or less homogeneous discipline, it could be assumed that differences in the educational outcomes could be explained by, e.g. cultural-societal factors, curriculum or instruction practice. This contribution gives an overview about results of studies analyzing the differences between children’s mathematical performance in Asia and Europe or America with a focus on early childhood education. For a sound comparison between countries aiming to analyze if cultural differences or other aspects (e.g. teaching practice or structural differences) are responsible for differences, basic conditions concerning teaching and learning should be controlled. At first sight, it could be recognized that, next to the cultural background, Germany and Taiwan differ extremely in basic frame conditions (e.g. preservice training) concerning early mathematics education. For this reason, this contribution analyzed if, with a third well-considered European country, a comparative design for ongoing research could be possible, where pairwise similarities allow to clarify relations between differences in early mathematics education and the cultural background on the one hand and early mathematics education and institutional frame conditions or the teachers’ professional knowledge on the other hand.