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The State of The Art of Chinese Education ( from Jeremy)

Popularity 1Viewed 15207 times 2015-12-29 22:15 |System category:Others| Chinese, education

     Western education has been advanced ever since the 19th century. It is considered open, conductive and innovative. On the contrary, the Chinese education is not progressing so well. It is regarded as stubborn, rigid and not so instructive. Thus the students that are under this sort of model and pattern are more likely to become anti-social, nerd or geeks who can merely achieve academically.

     However, as a student from a very typical Chinese school, I have something else to say about the current situation. Here are some conclusions I come up with which are not universally accepted.

     1. The Chinese schools, especially for middle and high schools, have their unique and special vantages.

      For nearly 70 years, Chinese students have confronted so many exams which can probably be life-changers, such as the well-known Gaokao. As a result, most of the schools emphasize how well the students  behave on their academic process and they try their best to get students to score higher. But it’s less practice since the education level of civilians is boosting. Long time ago, or perhaps decades ago, parents only cared about the scores their children were getting. Now everything is changed. Since we are experts at taking exams, we are able to see a lot of advantages that tests can provide us with despite the massive disadvantages. Both schools and the students intend to get rid of the negative effect of the exams, like push the students too hard and the overwhelming pressure. Nowadays, the pressure still exists because of the exams, but they gradually turn to a positive thing. Schools use exams not only to judge if a student is good or not, but also to find out what their students are good at and what they are not. Schools can do an evaluation of themselves to see if the schools need anything to improve more properly.

     Additional, with the economy getting better, the facilities of Chinese schools are evolving quickly. The school I am attending now is like a small city. We have one science building for each grade ( there are 3 grades in Chinese high schools), two buildings for experimentation for biology and chemistry, one building for restaurants ( which contains a great variety of foods including Chinese food, Japanese food, Italian food, and French feasts), three supermarkets, two buildings for indoor sports, a museum, a music hall on campus and so on. By any measure, it is not bad, right? Not to mention that my school is in one of the poorest provinces in China with almost 50 million rural population. Fancy that. What about the schools in Beijing and Shanghai? By and large, the differences between American schools and Chinese schools are now nuances.

     2. The Chinese style classes have distinctive characteristics from any other country.

     As a result of overloading population, Chinese classes really have big capacities. This phenomenon has jeopardize us for a long period. It is globally accept that the smaller a class is, the more efficient and advanced it is. But nowadays, especially in China, it is not quite true. 

     I have been to Choate Rosemary Hall, a super, out-standing private school in America and I pretty much delved into the “ small class”. From my point of view, an individual student is able to communicate with his or her classmates and instructors more timely, students can share their give and take on the class, and the teacher also provides more tutoring to one individual student in small classes. However, students from the “ big class” in China, in my opinion, don’t need to have frailties in particular because the classes are crowded. First off, in big classes, we still can ask our teachers any kind of questions we want to. Since most high schools in China are boarding schools, students have plenty of time communicating with their counterparts. It’s more or less like a big forum. Everybody can hear everybody else's opinion on certain things. And our horizons are wider. I’ll give myself as an example again. In my school in China, we have approximately 50 students in each class. Some of us play the piano, some of us play the guitar, some of us play the drums, and a few of us play Chinese traditional instruments. Obviously, it is much easier than the small classes to start up a band. Secondly, if I want to learn a new musical instrument, I am able to listen to my classmates’ suggestion on almost all kinds of instruments and thus have a broader view and a well-rounded consideration before I decide to learn anything. On the other hand, a small class could be misleading. If the amount of classmates we meet everyday is little, they can probably all be interested in one particular musical instrument and lead us to a relatively narrow point of view. We could just follow the hobbies of our classmates which we are perhaps not so drawn by.

     The second and the most important thing for Chinese classes is that they, in a way, create peer pressure, which I consider very helpful for students. As teenagers, we all want to compare ourselves with others. Am I looking good? Do I have the fancy clothes my friends have? And in relation to academic studies, we can also compare our specialties and weaknesses with our peers. We intend to do better at a particular thing than others of the same-age inadvertently. We may feel overwhelmed, but in the long term, it’s undoubtedly going to be beneficial. As for schools, they don’t really need to monitor the student all of the time since the students are driven by the pressure naturally. “ Oh, she is good at tennis, this guy is experienced at addressing, and that guy is professional at analyzing math problems.” This is what is happening everyday in our minds. Nothing can be easier to get us focused if we want to achieve something voluntarily. And we all expect to intensify the competition trend.

     3. Chinese students are one of a kind in the world.

     The students in the West are miscellaneous who can achieve both highly academically and athletically. Meanwhile, the Chinese students are famous for our unwillingness to get involved with sports, the multitudinous group of  studying nerds and the ability of only scoring highly. Notably, that is almost true. Why is it “ almost”? Well, I admit that numerous students in China are studying geeks ( there are several of them in my class). On the whole, Chinese students lack ambition to move our bodies. But there are always students who are obsessed with sports. Technically I’m one of them. During the old times, not only Chinese students, but Chinese people prefer to do sports which consist of more skillful motions rather than physical contacts, like Ping-Pong and badminton. But nothing is constant. Nowadays, Chinese students are fascinated by basketball and soccer and so on. We more and more enjoy strenuous exercise and group sports. Every school has basketball courts around the campus and a regular soccer field. And a lot of schools motivate their students to get involved with sports events. Students are getting healthier and healthier. 

     And I also believe that Chinese students are in no way being study machines. Many Chinese students are thoughtful, creative and most importantly, persistent. Although China is the best English speaking country in Asia except for Singapore, the English education in coastal cities and provinces like Canton are much higher than the inner cities. So to the outside world, people only see a small range of Chinese students who are able to go abroad and study. While you are reading this English written passage, please know that not every Chinese student is able to do this. One of my best friends, Lee, is the most innovative person I’ve ever met. He actually created his own theory on how to comprehend chemical bonds that no one had done before. I don’t know why, but he just can get around with foreign languages, including English. If you ask me to recommend somebody to a university in America, that is going to be him. But in respect to his English ability, he is not going abroad to study ever.  So people in the west only see the surface of the potential of Chinese students, like how we see North Korea. We only use them as jokes and they barely have any education at any level. But who knows if there are some geniuses who are born unluckily in North Korea suffer persecution and are dead. Perhaps North Koreans can also master critical thinking. We will never know.

     SO, in conclusion, is our education in China better than the west, especially the education in America? Not so much, but I can assure you we are improving. And I believe one day we are going to have world class education, just like America.

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




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Reply Report MichaelM 2016-1-29 06:48
Excellent points from a high school student (Grade 1)!

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