Chinese Schools Study the US’s Hands-On Learning
Source: NYTimes, Sep 2013
anecdotal evidence here suggests that increasing numbers of middle-class families are looking for a way out of China’s test-taking gantlet.
… even many Chinese educators are dismayed by the country’s obsession with stellar test results. Last fall they convened a conference on the topic in Shanghai.
“When American high school students are discussing the latest models of airplanes, satellites and submarines, China’s smartest students are buried in homework and examination papers,” said Ni Minjing a physics teacher who is the director of the Shanghai Education Commission’s basic education department, according to Shanghai Daily, an English-language newspaper. “Students also have few chances to do scientific experiments and exercise independent thinking.”
… gaokao results are the sole factor used to determine university admissions.
This ironclad criterion, combined with the fact that most families have only one child, gives Chinese parents little incentive to encourage extracurricular activities, lest it divert their children from the slog of gaokao memorization. Critics say it also produces poorly socialized adolescents who are ill-prepared to face the challenges of the real world. Students have their own term for describing the way their teachers impart knowledge: “feeding the ducks.”
As a science teacher in the northwestern region of Ningxia, Wei Jinbao has seen firsthand how China’s education system transforms children into hardworking students with an impressive capacity for processing factual information. “Give them a problem and they will find the answer,” he said. “However, they can’t ask a good question.”