摘要： In BBC documentary series, Are Our Kids Tough Enough?, British students struggled to adapt to the high-intensity
What happened when five Chinese teachers take over a British classroom full of teenagers?
In the BBC documentary series, Are Our Kids Tough Enough?, the Chinese teachers significantly "acclimatised" to the British kids, while the students struggled to adapt to the high intensity of teaching.
The experimental programme was designed to test how 50 students aged 13 and 14 at the Bohunt School in Hampshire would cope with a completely Chinese method of teaching. With long school days and tough discipline, the method is normally considered to be “strict” by Westerners.
At the end of the experiment, the pupils who underwent the programme were tested against others who had remained with the normal staff and curriculum to see which teaching method was the most effective. The result was published in the documentary series that debuted in the first week of August.
According to Chinese media, it took BBC staff six months to select qualified Chinese teachers. They had to be English, mathematics, science or social science teachers with more than five years’ teaching experience in China. They also had to be able to teach totally in English.
Though language was not a problem for the Chinese teachers, they weren’t accustomed to the difference between Chinese and British students. Li Aiyun from the Nanjing Foreign Language School told British media that when she handed out homework sheets, she expected the students to concentrate on their homework.
“But when I walked in the classroom some students were chatting, some students were eating, somebody was even putting make-up on. I had to control myself, or I would be crazy. About half of them tried their best to follow me. And the other half? Who knows what they were doing,” she said.
Yang Jun, a science teacher from Xi’an, agreed with Li’s sentiment. She was also confused by a teenage girl who left the classroom in tears after reading reports that singer Zayn Malik had quit the boy band, One Direction.
“In China we don't need classroom management skills because everyone is disciplined by nature, by families, by society. I found it difficult to understand such emotional behaviour over a pop band,” she said.
Yang also challenged an individualised approach to pupil learning. “You have different syllabuses to suit different students' abilities. We don't. We have one syllabus, one standard; you survive or you die. It's up to you,” she added.
Meanwhile Rosie Lunskey, 15, told BBC journalists that she found it difficult to get used to the Chinese teachers.
“Acting like robots was the right way to go. I'm used to speaking my mind in class, being bold, giving ideas, often working in groups to advance my skills and improve my knowledge. But a lot of the time in the experiment, the only thing I felt I was learning was how to copy notes really fast and listen to the teacher lecture us,” she complained.
According to the report by BBC, Chinese teachers believe the option of living on welfare handouts has produced “feather-bedded” teenagers prone to rudeness and disrupting the classroom, rather than concentrating on working and getting ahead.
Wei Zhao, who teaches Mandarin and spent 14 years working in Chinese schools, said that cuts in the welfare system would make students more motivated to learn.
“Even if they don’t work, they can get money, they don’t worry about it. But in China, they can’t get these things so they know, 'I need to study hard, I need to work hard to get money to support my family.' If they [the British government] really cut benefits down to force people to go to work, students might see things in a different way," she said.
Chinese teaching methods were on a collision course with teenage British culture and values
Neil Strowger, head teacher at Bohunt School, didn’t agree with the Chinese teachers. “‘I don’t believe we are somehow causing our children to fail by having a welfare state,” he said.
He also described the Chinese style of teaching as "mind-numbingly boring", and said usual standards of discipline at his school were not as loose as the Chinese teachers described.
“Chinese teaching methods were on a collision course with teenage British culture and values. Our pupils are used to being able to ask questions of the teacher - they expect their views to be considered with respect. Furthermore, British pupils expect to have variety in their learning. They are not used to being confined in a large group and in the same classroom studying a very narrow curriculum,” he added.
The BBC programme captured viewers’ attention and triggered comments on social networks from netizens in both China and Britain. Some people agreed with what Strowger said, and emphasised the importance of happiness and independent thinking to the students.
Fletch Lives, a netizen from Liverpool, said: “Some parts are true but let’s not forget how oppressive the Chinese education system is. [I’d] rather my kids grow up happy and free than as some robot who can play the piano at four years old.”
Francis McGonigal from Birmingham commented that Chinese methods encouraged learning by rote, instead of independent thinking.
These kids coming into the workplace are not prepared - they have absolutely no social skills
Meanwhile, several voices agreed with the Chinese teachers. Hong Kong netizen Tuppence Worth made a comment on the Daily Mail website: “I agree all kids need more discipline. The tiger mothers and helicopter parenting just does not work. These kids coming into the workplace are not prepared - they have absolutely no social skills at all (lack of play and socialisation because of hours of tuition).”
A netizen from Glasgow said: “These Chinese teachers are only stating the truth. The pupils are merely a product of a society that is going backwards. Very little effective teaching and learning takes place in today's classrooms. The views of the head teacher in the article are illuminating and typical. That is why China has progressed so far economically and why we are where we are.”
While a netizen from the United States wrote in his comment: “I’m neither a British nor a Chinese. I agree with the five Chinese teachers’ opinion. For me, I will never ever send my children to study in Britain.”
This article was originally produced and published by China Daily. View the original article here.