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SEARU Post time: 2018-3-20 17:01
Thanks for your meaningful comment. Sorry for the relayed reply due to my busy work!
On one hand, ...
Yet China has shone at the math and science olympiad competitions. Maybe it was all drilling but then again how does one drill and score if one does not know the subject matter well enough from using local textbooks?
What the educationists can do (or they might already have done) is to study the similarities and differences between widely used textbooks at each level but from different countries in order to flesh out the strengths and weaknesses of each. Then strengths to adapt and weaknesses to avoid for any new versions of local textbooks for the same level. By level, i don't mean the age of the student because China students are more advanced by about three years ahead of foreign students of the same age in what they learn.
When i was in school, i spent my breaks reading a small dictionary, word after word, to appreciate the precision and brevity of the sentences explaining the meaning of the word. In math class, i didn't use the teacher's method but straight-away developed my own proof. Likewise in science class, i devised my own experiment to show something. And in university, i searched the library until i found the journal article that clarified how the final intricate equation was derived that was used for the experiment. I did that because i did not believe in just receiving something without question; i was curious to know how to derive that funny-looking equation whose use gave consistently simple results.
So maybe, the first ingredients, at least for me then, were (a) curiosity, (b) confidence, (c) initiative, and (d) what i will describe as logical creativity.
Now the question is whether these four (and more) properties can be applied to any and all subjects. After looking deep into most if not all subjects, i believe the answer is yes because, frankly, i think all subjects can be reduced to just about two dozen principles of thinking, whether you are talking about math or science or engineering or medicine or psychology, literature, economics, geography, history, sociology, anthropology, politics, arts and crafts, music, languages, religions, philosophy. Whatever. Each breakthrough or change is like a subnet from the last node but with a twist out from the background present all along.
So much so these days i catch concepts too fast and lose interest deadpan. I assure you it is not something you want to experience. For it removes the ability to wonder. Wondering about things and events gives one a kick in life, infuses energy to go on. Wonderment is a wonderful property to have.
The only thing i am curious at this moment is why did CD omit my last response to your post where i named a particular textbook and also mentioned that since the Chinese mindset is rooted in the land, the key challenge in education is how to move from what one can hold in the hand to what one can imagine in the brain. I even narrated my experience with f=m*a. Now, i am curious why the post was omitted. In any case, I already lose interest in trying to understand CD's objectives, staff organization and posts processing.
The Chinese are simply too practical-minded. Yet they can write T'ang poetry, excel in calligraphy and other arts, and come out with universal philosophical truths.