In our travels to schools in different countries, we have already visited some European countries and a couple of Asian ones. Undoubtedly, specific features are found in each of them. And yet, due to the fact that the eastern countries were closed to the rest of the world until the 19th-20th centuries, even in their education there is more surprising for our worldview than in the European one. Today we will find out how things are in China.
China is by far the most populous country in the world with over 1.5 billion people. At the same time, the state provides a minimum of social guarantees, which, of course, complicates the struggle for a place in the sun. The battle for successful survival begins right from the school bench.
At the moment, China is breaking through to a leading position in sports, culture and art, science and many other areas. This is especially surprising when you consider that before 1949 about 80% of the population was illiterate. Today, education for the Chinese is the highest priority. They pay not only for universities, but also for secondary school education, starting from the lower grades. It takes about a third of the budget of each family.
Study, study and study again!
Schoolchildren in China spend 9 to 10 hours a day at their school. Lessons start early at 7:30. The first half of the day is devoted to priority subjects such as algebra and Chinese. From 12 to 14 children can have lunch and have some rest. Then classes continue again, but these are secondary subjects: music, fine arts, labor, physical education. Quite often, Chinese children still attend electives. Add to this the homework, which the teachers there do not skimp at all. In general, it turns out that the student sits studying until midnight. Despite the fact that you have to get up very early: sometimes at 5 o’clock in the morning.
School education in China is divided into 3 stages:
- secondary (I stage)
- secondary (II stage)
Holidays take 2 months a year — summer in August, and winter in January-February.
Get on the charger!
In China, regular physical activity is an essential part of child development. Charging or jogging is carried out every day before the start of classes (therefore, in fact, you need to be at school by 7:00). This is followed by a line for all classes, at which the main news of the day is announced and the school or state flag is raised. After the third lesson, the students proceed to gymnastics for the eyes. It takes place under the voice of the announcer and consists in the fact that the children click on special points, due to which the muscles relax. Another exercise takes place around 14:00 in classrooms and school corridors.
The teacher is almost a god
Asian philosophy is built on respect for elders, which in some places may seem exaggerated and exaggerated to a Western layman. This attitude also applies to teachers. The address always uses the word «teacher» directly, followed by the surname. Or simply “teacher”, if the child does not study with a particular teacher and does not know his name. In some schools, it is customary to bow when meeting, even if the teacher does not teach anything to a particular child.
You can’t complain, you can’t punish!
Yes, in Chinese schools, the comma in this sentence is placed exactly in this place. Physical punishment is the order of the day. The teacher has the right to hit the child with his hand or pointer. Moreover, the farther the school is located from large cities, the more widespread this seemingly barbaric tradition is. For example, a student was asked to learn a few English words and was given a certain amount of time to do so. For each unlearned word, the teacher can beat the child with a stick. Of course, not to serious bodily injuries, but the fact remains.
We are all not only brothers…
… but also competitors. Due to the high population, there are 30-40 people in the classes. Therefore, the competitive factor in Chinese schools is usually very high. The gradation of grades goes from A to F, with A being the highest: it is 90 — 100% of correct answers. From 59% and below — unsatisfactory.
The student reward system consists of more than just grades. For good behavior or correct answers, children are given special bonuses — stars. Accordingly, for a poorly learned lesson, disobedience or chatter in the lesson, these stars are removed.
In the end, all these bonuses and ratings are summed up and reduced to the final table — a rating that is also of great importance in the eyes of Chinese children and their parents.
Being a «scribbler» is great
In Chinese schools, rote memorization of material is encouraged — and a huge amount of it falls on the poor children’s heads. Teachers are not too concerned about how the child learned the material, whether he understood it well. The main thing is that it “bounces off the teeth”, and that he can tell if he wakes up at 3 in the morning.
Of course, some schools are based on modern programs (Montessori, Waldorf), but these are not public public institutions, but prestigious private ones. And training in them costs accordingly — sometimes the price per month is $ 1,000 per month. There is an emphasis on the development of creativity and the study of foreign languages: with true Asian fanaticism, of course. By grades 5-6, students in these schools are usually fluent in English.
Kung Fu Masters Are Not Born
As you can easily understand, private schools are not available to everyone. If the child does not have a special love for learning, and his parents do not have a large financial airbag, they can send him to a kung fu school.
This practice is popular to this day. Children and teenagers live there on a full board and are engaged literally from dawn to dusk. Of course, the main part of the training there is occupied by physical practices, but in addition to them, the guys must master reading and writing. And given the Chinese letter with all the hieroglyphs and subtleties, this is not at all easy.
Successful students of such schools usually become kung fu trainers — this is their lucky ticket to life.
We started our journey around the world’s schools from Finland, with their relaxed approach to learning, the desire to protect children from stress and trauma: let the child not become a professor, but work as a cashier in a supermarket, the main thing is to grow up happy.
China, on the other hand, can be placed at the opposite end of the scale. Children in their schools are not spared at all. A good study for the inhabitants of the Middle Kingdom means admission to a prestigious university and successful employment, they strive for this from an early age.
It is probably not worth copying the Chinese educational philosophy in everything: punishing a child unnecessarily severely, for example. And yet, their fortitude and purposefulness should be envied and a little learned from these traits.