SHS Intensive Mathematics Class was initiated in 1990 in Shanghai. This class put emphasis on digging out students’ study potentials, especially in mathematics. Students won six gold medals in International Mathematical Olympiad.
Every year since 1990, SHS selects more than 40 students from nearly 1,000 students who have interest and fairly strong study ability in mathematics and have experience in Shanghai math competitions to form an intensive mathematics class. They will be cultivated under a specially-designed program. Every year since 1998, SHS selects more than 10 students with stronger ability of understanding mathematics from the intensive mathematics class to form a small class for further guidance. At the same time, SHS conducts individualized teaching for 3 to 4 highly-gifted students with strong potential in mathematics who stand out from the small class. For the past 20 years, the intensive mathematics classes of SHS have altogether cultivated over 900 students with potential in mathematics, among whom over 120 have very strong ability and are gifted in mathematics study, and nearly 30 are highly-gifted.
By tracking those highly-gifted students’ study experiences and conducting talks and surveys among them, we have acquired some knowledge of the early identification and cultivation of mathematics geniuses. Three dimensions are worth noticing: apprehension of mathematics and its profundity, the degree of passion and focus for mathematics, and the meticulousness and non-linear pattern in mathematics thinking. In addition, the comprehensive and proper application of three strategies will bring a good effect on the early identification and cultivation of mathematics geniuses. The three strategies include adopting the “1+n” mentoring method, conducting brainstorm sessions of cooperation and communication among students with similar mathematics abilities, and focusing on the sustainable development of math skills.
During February 21st to 24th, 2011, Principal TANG Shengchang delivered a speech, “Attempts on the Early Identification and Cultivation of Talents – A Case Study”, summarizing SHS experiences in cultivating mathematics geniuses at the International Commission on Mathematical Instruction Executive Committee Meeting, which greatly attracted both domestic and foreign experts.