Modern Chinese schools are pretty much like all schools in the UK used to be. And the system of compassionate yet disciplined teaching in a structured environment appears to be working. Well, who would have thought it….
Schooling in the Western world has become a place for social engineering experiments and amateurish personality development exercises by a system focussed on bringing up what they believe are “well rounded” children – whatever that phrase actually means.
We have abandoned the main purpose of schooling which is to acquire academic and technical skills. The Chinese have simply retained the system we have so wantonly let go.
There is of course no evidence that children of todays schooling are any more well rounded than anyone else. In fact, what we observe today is a gradual social decline.
What we do know about students today is that they will be wholly unprepared to compete with Chinas highly educated masses. We, though will have the most “well rounded” social security recipients in the world
The Chinese can still remember very well mass poverty and never lose sight of the difference a good education can make to your adult life. We take things for granted that they do not – and this has changed what we demand of children from an early age. You were probably also shown only show-piece schools, to be honest.
We learned our tables by rote in the 1960s and our 11+ involved a lot of maths as well as other types of reasoning. There was structure and discipline and our class sizes were large – around 40 children.
There were no ‘classroom assistants’ either – and though ability varied widely, and the immediate catchment was a poor area, most of us arrived, scarcely 4 years old, with a smattering of the 3Rs, toilet trained, and able to eat with a knife and fork.
Shockingly we were also all white, born to locally born parents and we all spoke English as our first (and only) language. Disabled children went to lovely special schools in the area with dedicated higher levels of support.
Ask new entrant class teachers in UK primary schools today what some of the issues are that they face and we might get the truth about what is holding back the system – aside from the interference of ‘educationalists’ and alleged remedial resource which is supposed to be applied to those children falling behind at testing