Readers’ Blog

Encouraging Trends in Chinese Education

Popularity 2Viewed 13683 times 2018-6-25 06:15 |Personal category:Education|System category:News

I am highly encouraged as I read reports about changing teaching/learning methods across China. I just read the story here on CD about the support of using play in educating children. ( The story was specifically written about the use of Legos building blocks in teaching kindergarteners. (Another very interesting story you might want to read is of a professor, Huang Chao, teaching anatomy at Sichuan Agricultural University using emojis. Very innovative.

I am also encouraged that not just coastal and possibly more advanced cities, like Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, are these methods being used, but, here in Henan, I see it happening as well. In seven years of teaching in Henan, I see a change in teachers' and parents' understanding about education. I also see them opening up to a higher quality of education for their students and children.

My focus in education is obviously English education.

I just reread the book by 'Annie's mom', a lady from mainland China who immigrated to Canada and developed a complete new understanding about teaching English. Her methods and understanding have become quite popular in the more advanced innovative teaching environments in China. Of course, as you've likely read in my previous blogs, I realized that the quality of English education could be so much better after I came here in 2011.

The problems that I observed in English education are as follows.  (1) Students couldn't speak English beyond "Hi, how are you? I'm fine thank you and you?" I observed this first hand in high schools and colleges were I've taught. (2) Students who could speak a bit more English would commonly make pronunciation mistakes. I completely understood this problem because most of them had little chance of speaking English other than recitations in school. (3) Though there is an inordinate focus on English grammar rules in Chinese English training schools, I still found that students made primary errors in grammar. (4) I noticed a huge problem with spelling and little knowledge of English punctuation.

What was really heart-breaking to me was when I saw how hard Chinese students worked and struggled to learn English, yet, they still came up short. Many who had studied English for 8-9 years and were still making these same errors as I've listed above.

What is encouraging to me (and gives me the resolve to continue teaching in China) is seeing the attitudes toward English education advancing so quickly. It seems that the younger teachers who have been in the profession for 5 years of less, are the ones that are making these changes in the classroom. I've also found that about 94-97% of parents that I've encountered, know that they need more for their child in English education and are committed to see that their kids get an advantage. Very encouraging indeed.

I recently spoke to one of my students who is leaving soon to attend a high school in Europe. When I asked her the question, "What would you change about your present school if you could?', she said, "I think my school is like most other schools. I wouldn't change just my school. I would change the thinking ways about education throughout China." I shared with her, that the fact, 'thinking ways about education' is changing in China. Not just in the larger metropolitan areas I mentioned earlier, but, right in Henan, in the heart of China.

I'm excited about it. More than I've ever been. My goal and the goal of most Chinese English teachers that I communicate with regularly, is simple. In English education, students can gain conversational fluency by the time that they start high school. They must be taught well when they are primary school students in order to achieve this goal. A strong, proper foundation in phonics will solve most if not all of the problems I've mentioned here. It IS achievable.

I've been teaching students with these methods for seven years here in Henan. I've been amazed at the results. Several of my students have gone on to acceptance and attendance in world class universities. They have achieved beyond my own imagination. (If anyone had asked me in 2011 where I'd be in 2018, I would have never said 'China.' Nonetheless, I am still here with no plans to leave. )

I will continue my quest in investing much of my life's work in Chinese students. I believe that I can do at least something to help China build a brighter and more prosperous future for its children.

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




Shake hands


Friends who just made a statement (1 Person)

Like 0 Share


Comment Comment (1 comments)

Reply Report 财神 2018-6-26 15:08
Well done Michael! you are still rocking here!

facelist doodle Doodle board

You need to login to comment Login | register


Michael is the author of the transformational book, Powerful Attitudes. He is a professional educator, an educational consultant, an author. He lives in Zhengzhou, Henan Province. He enjoys playing guitar and writing poetry. He loves China.


Recent comments

  • Is Hong Kong So Special? 2019-10-15 19:23

    I had lived in mainland of China for decades , and now I've lived in HK for decades .  HK is special of course , as it is as every city : Beijing and Shanghai ardifferent, and same at the same time.  HK and Guangzhou ,  the same situation too.   People of the two places speak one Cantonese  dialect, but with sight different accents, and vocabularies,  as  HK people bring in more English words to their Cantonese.    Same , as well as  different, in many aspects.     I think one contrasting thing lies in  the degree of wholeness. While GZ people share more values ,  HK people are divied in basic values and life style.   Before 1997, English speaking people and non speaking had different way of life.  Just one example, there was  a place called plain living people 's night club, in fact it was a night market for cheap goods.  And bus takers were diffrent from sub way commuters.   Not to mention, mid level residents were never going to same place as the bus takers.     Now a days,  HK is divided by politics.     Also one case,  600 medical professionals worte declaration condeming local police force, followed by another 600 in support of HK police.

  • Should All Foreign Teachers Leave China? 2019-9-1 11:09

    The title of the essay doesn't make sense. We cannot ensure or make all or everybody to do the same thing. Hitler can't, Napolean can't and Trump can't either.

Star blogger










Most Viewed




Most commented




Contact us:Tel: (86)010-84883548, Email:
Blog announcement:| We reserve the right, and you authorize us, to use content, including words, photos and videos, which you provide to our blog
platform, for non-profit purposes on China Daily media, comprising newspaper, website, iPad and other social media accounts.