Jul 02

Something a bit different – go to the Mercury Brief to read an interesting and personal account of the Chinese education system from Michelle Cui Xiaoxiao.

….In contrast, he argues, Chinese teenagers are never allowed to take risks, which blocks self-understanding and self-reflection. Because Chinese students never confront typical teenage tribulations, they are doomed to live out their teenage years forever.

I am a product of one of these Chinese boarding schools, and a participant in many small acts of teenage rebellion. Yes, we were required to wear uniforms and were not allowed to wear jewelry. But my desk-mate and I had fun sneaking ear studs behind our hair, an act we perceived as extremely defiant. We were not allowed to leave school on weekdays, so we pretended to be sick and obtained special permission from school nurses to leave school for two hours. Then we devoured hamburgers and fries at McDonald’s and came back in time for afternoon classes.

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May 11

minipost-How To Survive in China as a Foreigner

Written by: Steve | Filed under:-mini-posts, culture, education | Tags:, , ,
58 Comments » newest 2011-06-22 05:50:37

I ran across this recent blog entry posted by Chris Biddle, an American student living in China. It’s short, sweet and to the point.

Bring your own deodorant.  Bring your own coffee.  Get used to the smell of urine.  Smile, a lot.  Learn how to say where your from.  Understand that it’s not rude if someone asks how much money you make.  Listen to music.  Read.  Be patient.  Don’t drink tap water. Try everything at least once, especially the stuff that grosses you out, it will make for a better story.  Get out there and do stuff, try not to use the train of thought “Well, I deserve this,” too often.  If you’re a man, carry a pack of cigarettes with you and offer them to any man you meet.  They will most likely not take one, even if they do smoke, but they will appreciate the sentiment.

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Oct 21

Lou Jing: Racism Gone Wild?

Written by: Steve | Filed under:culture, education, General, media, music, News, Opinion, video | Tags:, , , ,
391 Comments » newest 2013-07-05 18:34:48

Lou Lou Jing (娄婧) entered a competition reality show called “Let’s Go! Oriental Angels” (加油!东方天使) on Dragon TV. Though born and raised in Shanghai and a Chinese citizen all her life, her story is quite complicated. Her mother was married to a Chinese man but had an affair with an African American man and gave birth to Lou Jing. The African American man went back to the States before Lou Jing was born, the Chinese husband divorced his wife when he discovered she had an affair, so Lou Jing was raised by a single mother. She is considered a talented singer, speaks fluent Mandarin and Shanghainese and is Chinese in every way except for her looks and skin color.

However, upon entering this competition, she was shocked to find rude racial epithets hurled against her on the Chinese blogosphere. Was she really Chinese? Quite a few people felt she was not. They condemned her for her skin color and her mother’s infidelity. Many comments were blatantly racist.

I first became aware of this story when James Fallows mentioned it in his Atlantic blog. He wrote, “To be clear about the context: this is not a “blame China” episode but rather one of many illustrations of the differences in day by day social realities and perceived versus ignored sources of tension in particular societies. That’s all to say about it for now.” I want to explore those tensions further.

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Oct 05

Question: In your opinion, are teachers in the US given enough latitude to teach effectively?

IDEA (a law for programs for students with disabilities), Title I (a part of a law for programs for economically disadvantaged students), our equal opportunity laws and even, to a certain extent, the No Child Left Behind law, as well as many other laws and influences have created a system that does a good job at providing the basics (except computer basics ) to almost all students. In doing that, we’ve made teachers’ jobs much harder (though it’s worth it). Continue reading »

Oct 01

Recently there has been much discussion in both China and the US about the advantages or disadvantages of education in both countries. For instance, Mr. Robert Compton made a movie called 2 Million Minutes, which advocates learning from China and India in its K12 education. Views by Mr. Compton was largely rejected by scholars such as Dr. Zhao from Michigan State University who suggests the US system is doing fine while the Chinese one needs reform. In the meantime, someone in China seems to have forged an article by Benno C. Schmidt, Jr., former President of Yale, attacking Chinese higher education as basically a joke. If that article showed anything, it indicates extreme dissatisfaction with the Chinese educational system.

During such discussions on the differences between Chinese and American education, we interviewed Dr. Edwina Pendarvis for her input on what went wrong with the US education. Dr. Pendarvis is Professor Emeritus of Gifted Education at Marshall University and an Internationally recognized scholar of high-achieving students. Continue reading »

Sep 25

Here is something interesting I found on Youtube.  For all the talk about China spreading propaganda and indoctrinating their children – you know teaching children about the greatness of their nation, their leader, their history … about the importance of social harmony …  instilling hope for a better future – does the U.S. really look that different?

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Sep 15

Reflections on the Compton-Zhao Debate

Written by: berlinf | Filed under:education, General | Tags:, , , ,
33 Comments » newest 2009-09-29 13:46:36

Video: The Zhao vs. Compton Debate

It’s surreal to hear Dr. Zhao from China working in the US defending the US educational system while Mr. Compton advocating that the US learn from China’s system. One thing is for sure: the world is getting flat.

The rest are open to debate.

As I watched this debate, a story that came to mind was the meteorologist forecasting a severely cold winter after seeing Indians hording chopped wood, while the Indian got the idea from the meteorologist who had suggested earlier that the winter would probably be cold. This happens when you make comparisons between two moving targets. In recent years, China is learning from “developed countries” such as US itself, ways to move away from the test-driven education system toward more “rounded education”. I am a reviewer of an educational journal in China and I constantly find papers describing “US experiences” and their implication for China. In the meantime, school curriculum is including an increasing number of subjects that Mr. Compton might be laughing at, such as life skills training. And here we are: Mr. Compton told us that the US should learn from China. Now what? Continue reading »

Sep 14

main_educationIn the second part of our interview with Robert Compton, We delve more deeply into his film “Two Million Minutes” which looks at the pre-university educational systems of India and China and compares them to the equivalent curriculum in the United States. Some of the topics discussed are:

1) What are the comparative number of science courses taught in high school and the amount of time spent on the social sciences and world history?

2) What do Indian and Chinese educators see as the areas most in need of reform within their own schools? Are there myths within the Chinese and Indian educational establishment as to their own perceived weaknesses?

3) How are China, India and the United States approaching the key 21st century industries, especially the ones concerning environmental and energy issues?

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Sep 08

Bob Compton and U.S. President Obama

Bob Compton talks to U.S. President Obama abour education reform

More Americans are becoming aware of Bob Compton (standing next to U.S. President Obama in the picture to the left) for his efforts in changing America’s education system.Compton is one of the most successful businessmen in America.He has created numerous companies, lead companies with sales of a million dollars to hundreds of millions, and served as President of NYSE-listed companies.  He is an active venture capitalist as well as an angel investor.  Compton traveled the world extensively.  He is also keenly interested in what is happening outside the USA.  His funded companies hire engineers in China and India.

Compton produced two documentary films:  “Two Million Minutes” and “Win in China.”

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Jun 04

Ministry of Education: Post-graduate Study Should Be Open to Mainland Students Next Year

From The Liberty Times:

[Central News Agency] Deputy Minister of Education Lu Muling says, if the legislature is able to complete legal revision on university, professional studies, and cross-strait civic interaction, mainland students should be able to come to Taiwan for master’s and PhD classes next spring.

Lu Muling clarified the issues around mainland students studying in Taiwan during a press conference.

As to undergraduate study, Lu says that has to wait until next fall.

Enrollment will gradually expand, with yearly cap of 2,000; Ministry of Education will form a committee to accept school’s plan for accepting mainland students. Once approved by the committee they can start admission.

Lu stresses that, mainland student enrollments are extra allocations that will not compete with local students. Also the 2,000 head count is small compared to 30,000 foreign and expat students.

Apr 14

“Surprisingly”, Compulsory Education is Free!

Written by: Nimrod | Filed under:education | Tags:,
47 Comments » newest 2009-04-22 06:55:18

Education is important to China’s future, and education reform has been a long drawn-out complex process, which people of all stripes agree has basically been inadequate. From the early days of Project Hope corruption to the current education spending that still hasn’t reached the 4%-of-GDP target set by the central government, people have much to complain about. Among all the problems, one most depressing had to have been that basic primary/secondary education required all kinds of fees and therefore no universal access to education existed.

Recently, this topic of compulsory education came up again in the news, and the focus is again on whether the government does not have the resources or will to further invest in education. Here is a translated commentary that will open our debate here. It is seen on the China Elections & Governance web site (joint project between Carter Center and Renmin University), itself a treasure trove of current policy thinking.
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Jul 24

(Letter) Tibet officials issued with Dalai school ultimatum

Written by: guest | Filed under:education, News | Tags:, ,
49 Comments » newest 2008-09-19 23:59:02

Here is a piece of news on CD.

Party members and public servants working in the Tibet autonomous region were given an ultimatum on July 14 to call back their children within two months from overseas schools and monasteries run by the “Dalai clique”, the International Herald Leader (IHL), owned by the Xinhua News Agency, said Wednesday.

Under a regulation drawn up by the regional Party and government disciplinary inspection commissions, which was released last week, those who fail to do so will be expelled from the Party and removed from their posts, the IHL report said.

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Jun 16

“Two Million Minutes” – High school in US/China/India

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:education | Tags:
8 Comments » newest 2008-06-19 15:41:20

This seems like a thought-provoking movie.

This LA Times articles provides the basic details:

But one faculty member, Compton recalled, told him that “we have nothing to learn from Third World education.” Another, renowned education theorist Howard Gardner, took him to task for comparing the U.S. with China.

“His point was: How can you have a great educational system when you don’t have freedom of speech?” Compton said. Compton saw the remark as missing the point: America may not have anything to learn from China’s one-party political system, but it might want to know why Chinese students do better in math and science.

The full story on this situation isn’t quite so simple; there are many in China deeply unsatisfied with the Chinese education system.  But the topic is certainly worthy of debate (see earlier thread on 50 years of gaokao).

Jun 10

Essay topics: 50 years of Gaokao

Written by: Buxi | Filed under:education | Tags:
38 Comments » newest 2013-08-07 22:59:57

As many might know, this weekend was the 3-day university admissions test (gaokao). For decades, all Chinese children have studied for this test as if their life depended on it… and for decades, it really did. For those living in a culture that has long treasured the value of academic study, and a country with a planned economy, receiving a university degree has meant literally everything. If we look back even further in history, ever since the Tang dynasty (700 AD), education has been the primary method for advancing yourself in society.

With the help of a post from Tianya (原贴, originally from Xinhua), here are the national essay topics used over the last 50 years. Read the questions and the years carefully enough, and you’ll get a hint of Chinese society as it has dramatically changed over the last 60 years:

1951: My work outside of the classroom; discuss advantages of increasing production and conservation.
1952: Remember a new person’s new event; throwing myself into the motherland’s embrace.
1953: Write about a revolutionary cadre you’re familiar with; remembering the person I’m most familiar with.
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