Original Article


, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 35-46

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Curriculum traditions in Berlin and Hong Kong: a comparative case study of the implemented mathematics curriculum

  • Ka Wai LuiAffiliated withThe University of Hong Kong Email author 
  • , Frederick Koon Shing LeungAffiliated withThe University of Hong Kong


Many studies (such as Pepin in Learners and pedagogy, Sage Publications, London, 1999; Kaiser in ZDM 34(6):241–257, 2002; Park and Leung in Mathematics education in different cultural traditions: a comparative study of East Asia and the West. The 13th ICMI Study, pp. 227–238, Springer, New York, 2006) have revealed that there is a strong dependence on cultural traditions in mathematics teaching in different countries. Education in Germany is influenced by the Central and North European Didaktik tradition (Westbury in Teaching as a reflective practice: the German Didaktik tradition, L. Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, pp. 15–39, 2000), while that in East Asia is influenced by Confucian heritage culture. However, there have not been studies investigating the relationships between these two cultural traditions and their influences on teaching and learning. This study aims at filling this gap in knowledge. Some commonalities in the aims and beliefs in the underlying philosophies in education in traditional China and Germany were found and are presented in this paper. Specifically, the relationship between cultural traditions and the implemented mathematics curriculum was investigated, using Berlin and Hong Kong as examples. It was found that culture affects the implemented curriculum in a complicated way and that other factors such as the intended curriculum and textbooks may also influence the implemented curriculum.


Didaktik tradition Confucian heritage culture Implemented curriculum