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GOINGS-ON | Why is higher mathematics so popular at SISU?


23 March 2016 | By Li Yi, Dane S. Claussen and Zhou Jiawen | SISU

  • Higher Mathematics

    Luo said: “For students majored in liberal arts, high mathematics is like a tall tree. It is difficult to climb, but it will help you a lot as long as you reach the top. ”

  • LUO Xuemei

    If SISU students majored in liberal arts want to learn higher mathematics, Luo Xuemei will be their ideal teacher.


I

f students of Shanghai International Studies University (SISU) majored in liberal arts want to learn higher mathematics, Luo Xuemei will be their ideal teacher.

A temporary construction worker and an educated youth during the Cultural Revolution, she now has been teaching for about 30 years.

“Planting” Figures in Students’ Mind

Luo’s general elective “higher mathematics” is so hot that many students have no chance to take it. Every seat of her classroom, which holds 180, is often occupied when the class starts. It is even not so easy for a student who audits her courses to find a seat in her classes.

She has been named one of the top ten popular teachers of general electives for five consecutive times. Her explanation of her popularity is: “If my class cannot make you understand higher mathematics, you will not understand it anymore.”

She works hard as if she never gets tired. Although giving eight classes consecutively a day, she neither reads a book nor seeks a support behind her. A student said she wears only a sweater in harsh winters as her classes hardly cool down.

However, what few people know is that this hot, busy university teacher often goes to “Sunshine Home” to teach mentally disabled children at weekends.

Luo said in smile: “I just do one thing in my life – to be a teacher, and I just have an ability of spreading joy.”

Addictive Courses

Luo, based in the School of Economics and Finance, teaches four important professional courses: calculus, linear algebra, probability theory and statistics.

“I have more than 20 classes a week, which is more than a high school teacher does,” she said.

Luo’s classes always have many students from SISU’s other Schools auditing her courses.

A postgraduate from Institute of International and Diplomatic Affairs said: “I attend Luo’s classes to make up the regrets I have about my undergraduate study … At that time, I did not choose mathematic courses …”

One recent morning, Luo had just taught four math classes to freshmen in accounting. The classes were from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., during which no one in class felt too tired, and all sat up straight to pay attention.

In order to help students understand difficult points, she teaches both concepts and thinking. She said difficult mathematic reasoning becomes easy when its law is mastered. She also believes that she must make students happy to learn no matter how hard a course is because the more happily students are learning, the more they will know.

She said: “For students majored in liberal arts, high mathematics is like a tall tree. It is difficult to climb, but it will help you a lot as long as you reach the top. ”

Students’ Intimate Friend

The woman in her fifties is still called “Xuemei Chieh (elder sister)” by her young students. After class, they treated her as an intimate friend and a life guider rather than a teacher because she helps them realize their dreams.

For example, Luo persuaded a student who wanted to leave school, because he lost a scholarship after breaking school rules, not to make such an impulsive and irrational decision. Luo persuaded the student to agree to prove his ability in four years instead of quitting. Four years later, he was admitted into the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and then got a job in Germany.

Seven years ago, Luo met a poor girl from Heibei. Noticing that she cared nothing but study, Luo encouraged the girl to take part in activities, launched the girl into her own research project, and gave her student opportunities to attend international meetings. Now this girl is in Shanghai working on her master’s degree as an outstanding graduate with a national scholarship.

Luo’s Unknown Wealth

Luo explains about also teaching some retarded children in the Sun House on weekends, “One time I heard about this voluntary work from my students. Feeling interested in it, I went to the teaching place, where I saw a crumpled teacher teaching those children with his whole heart. At that moment, my sense of responsibility told me to stay here with them.” To spend days with those students, Luo must travel from her home in Songjiang District to Huangpu District.

That is no trouble for Luo. She said: “I’ve done the only thing in my life. That is to teach. I hope to share my happiness with my students and inspire them.”

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Press Contact

SISU News Center, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Tel : +86 (21) 3537 2378

Email : news@shisu.edu.cn

Address :550 Dalian Road (W), Shanghai 200083, China

Further Reading