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Cinderella in Chinese education!

Popularity 10Viewed 5267 times 2015-4-25 12:04 |Personal category:Education|System category:Life| literature, education, Chinese, reading

The importance of reading literature and enjoying this activity often seems lost on many Chinese people. The answers I get from asking about what they read are either that they have no time to read or that they dislike reading. Why do they dislike reading? Their answers are nearly always the same.

“I had to read and study text books every day when I was at school. I don’t like reading now.”

Even the greatest Chinese philosophers and expert educationalists suggest that the first aim of education is to encourage a love of learning. There is therefore the possibility of something wrong with the way students are taught here.

Why should they read literature? Do stories have value compared with the reading and learning of facts (non-fiction)?  Studies of how children and adults learn show clearly that the most powerful way of learning is by experience; action and doing, experiment and taking risks. Yet there are so many important things to learn that cannot be learned in these ways; emotional response, feelings, problem solving, danger and relationships for example.  Research into this has demonstrated how deep reading that is rich in sensory detail and emotional and moral complexity is a valuable experience distinctive and different to a decoding of words or a learning of facts.  Avid readers of literature show a better understanding of others and can empathise with them and their needs. Their abilities to make good decisions are raised.  Young children who enjoy a parent reading stories to them show greater awareness, if not intelligence when they reach school age.

Literature is an art. Just as calligraphy, poetry and painting are valued by the Chinese, reading literature should surely also be valued and encouraged.  This is often done in China with children at an early age, but once they reach Primary school age the emphasis turns to non-fiction in order for students to pass tests. The best schools do seem to provide a limited opportunity to enjoy and investigate literature, usually concerning the Chinese classic stories but there is not enough “free” time and certainly limited time in lessons for students to simply sit and read as they get older. It is not a lack of reading material that is the problem. Chinese book shops are full of story books. I cannot read Chinese but I hope the stories are of good quality in terms of content, plot and language. Was there not a Chinese author who received a Nobel Prize or something recently for literature? There are moves in Chinese education to promote decision making, initiative and shared values. The value of literature contributes to these and should contribute to the future of China.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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    You are clearly an intelligent and educated person with sound opinions. Most of this blog concerned the situation in North Korea and the threats it poses, particularly with reference to Trumps actions. I would welcome your comments on this, but please avoid insults. They are not constructive or sensible.

  • Dystopia has arrived. The DPRK issue. 2017-5-8 09:45

    This blog is seriously dumb. Do you really think the people in control of USA now that Trump is president are different people to the one that were controlling USA under Obama - or right back to WW2 and before? Come on.

    And George Orwell was a capitalist propagandist that worked for the BBC/western capitalist elites. Western capitalist elites claim that Jack London was a 'nature writer' but his big thing was socialism, class struggle and revolution right? Orwell was used by western capitalist elites to erase London's work from history. Orwell took London's important books and rewrote them in a way that was Procapitalist in that all of Orwell's propaganda is anti-revolution and predictive programming. Western capitalist children are sure as hell not going to he reading The Iron Heel at school are they? Western capitalists makes them read anti-revolution trash 'Animal Farm'. And Winston from 1984 is a weak and pathetic scumbag loser that only cares about himself - like the modern western capitalist public - and the character is the anti-Earnest Everhard from The Iron Heel. Orwell also wrote a capitalist version of London's The People of the Abyss. Orwell is a favourite propagandist of the CIA. Why do you think the western elite love Orwell so much but have erased Jack London's work from history? Did you read the Orwell essay where he claims that Jack London was a fascist? See you people - the brain dead western capitalist public - are dumb as hell. I can't believe how stupid you are. But with you I can tell you know what you are doing. You work for them. You are an outer party minion. I her you are drinking victory gin right now aren't you? He worked for the BBC for Christ sake. Stop being ridiculous. And uncontrolled immigration does put downward pressure on wages and reduces work opportunities for the working class. Can you look at yourself in the mirror? Outer party minion. You hate yourself. You are not elite. You hate yourself. And you would steal chocolate rations from your sick and dying sister like Winston wouldn't you. You are a joke.

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