SHOULD THE BRITISH EMBRACE THE CHINESE TEACHING METHODS?
The airing of the school based reality show “Are our kids tough enough” mid last year has brought about controversial issues not just among our British teachers but also the Chinese teachers. As interesting and entertaining as the show was, one cannot fail to point out that there is a humongous difference between the Chinese teaching methods and our British teaching methods. With each episode of the show, there was major deterioration of the dynamics between our fifty British students and the five Chinese teachers. It is also safe to say that most viewers were turning against the teaching methodology of the Chinese as the show progressed.
The school based reality show involved five Chinese teachers who had been invited to one of ours, British school Bohunt School in Hampshire, in order to deploy the harsh Chinese regime to about fifty British students of that school. The show was displayed in a manner that showed the viewer that there was obviously a contest over which teaching methods and approach was better. This was to be decided by an examination which was to be sat by both the fifty students who had undergone the Chinese strict and harsh teaching methods and the students who had been taught using our British teaching methods. Clearly there was a winner and a looser as the conclusion that was reached was that a little more of the Chinese teaching approach was needed in the British schools. Despite this conclusion, one thing is for sure, that both the Chinese and British teaching methods have different purposes in educating.
The Chinese teaching methods emphasize on a strict 12 hour school day that starts from 7am in the morning all the way to 7pm in the evening. This schedule clearly took a great toll on the students as they missed out on socializing which they were previously accustomed to. The school day began formally with PE classes which in China are very competitive. The teaching methods is highly dedicated in instilling discipline among the students and also respect to the teachers and give more attention and emphasis on subjects like mathematics, physical education and science. After the two groups of students took exams on various subjects, our British students who had been taught through the Chinese teaching methods scored an average of 68 in mathematics as opposed to the students who had been taught through the British education system who score an average of 55 in mathematics; a subject that the Bohunt School had previously pride itself of performing well. On science results, the “Chinese students” registered an average score of 58 as compared to the British students who had an average of 50. Again this is also one of the subjects that Bohunt School was known to perform well in. The students who studied Mandarin had scored more than 46 per cent with the Chinese teaching methods as compared to the students who were taught using British teaching methods who only scored 36.5 per cent.
The head of the Bohunt School, MrStrawger admitted that the results they received were actually a “bitter pill to swallow” and stated that the school could benefit a little more from a more disciplined system of teaching. Mr. Strawger was also highly impressed by the respectful manner in which the students treated the Chinese teachers during that period even though he had previously reacted in anger as he felt as though his school was being displayed as a school with disciplinary problems. This forced him to blame the Chinese method of teaching stating most emphatically that the teaching method was “mid-numbingly boring” and accused the teaching method of being lazy. MrStrawger is convinced that when it comes to improving schools across the United Kingdom, it is irrelevant to compare the Eastern and Western teaching methods as the very best schools in England normally have the teachers educate the students by both interaction and instruction as opposed to the chalk and talk method.
Despite the results of the exam taken by both the students who were taught through the Chinese teaching methods where the students passed the exam as compared to the other students, the question of whether or not the British should embrace the Chinese teaching methods remains unclear to most people. While it is not necessary or even advisable for the British to scare out their entire system of education or teaching methods, it is of utmost importance that we, the British consider borrowing an aspect or two from the Chinese teaching methods. This is because despite the strictness and harshness of their teaching methods, the educational achievements of the Chinese are clearly enviable considering that their literacy rate is at a strong 94 percent. According to the international standardized tests which were coordinated by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in the past year, the students in China who are being taught using the Chinese teaching methods were actually the best in the world and are ahead of a country such as Singapore which over the years had been known for its good standards in their schools. The Chinese students are also way ahead of kids in the major Western economies for example, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Good school is supposed to prepare an individual for the time when they join the job. If that’s not the case then it would be correct to say that education is clearly a conservative institution that may take forever to even remotely integrate the correct changes. It is therefore important to consider picking positive aspects of different systems of education all over the world in order to make learning more effective and if the Chinese teaching methods will bring out the best results then there is nothing wrong with employing some of their strategies and tactics in the United Kingdom.