Are China’s teaching methods better than Britain’s? An experiment puts Brit children in a Chinese school to see how well they’d do with Chinese teaching methods.

The pressure of exams and results days is an ever pressing issue in every teenager’s life, but GCSEs and A-Levels are still considered an easy qualification to those from countries like China. At Bohunt School in Liphook they put a class of students to the test to see how well they’d do with Chinese teaching methods.

As part of a new documentary (Are our kids tough enough?) on the BBC, Bohunt School allowed a class of pupils to exchange their teachers for Chinese ones. This meant that they had to endure a 12-hour school day with only two breaks, and a change in teaching methods, from open-ended debates, to being expected to not question their teachers. However, many students rose to the challenge, and expressed how ‘copying’ off the board helped them remember facts better. They enjoyed the frequent exercises, which helped counteract for hours of inactivity, and learning about the culture of their new professors.

But the extra pressure and military-style discipline, meant that one student said they ‘had to get used to the teachers not thinking we were good enough’. This is a pretty harsh judgement to be faced with, especially at only 14, considering the absence of an attentive approach and support from teachers. Surprisingly, the recent backlash does not center on this teaching style though, but viewers have instead criticized the choice of pupils, stating that their poor behaviour was a bad reflection on the nation’s young.

The pupils were often boisterous and their disregard for the teachers was shown when they discarded a gift from one of the Chinese substitutes. A lack of respect and concentration in lessons did decrease as the programme continued, but it does raise an interesting issue of how, perhaps, the problem with today’s schools is not the teaching style. Rather, it is the attitudes and the culture, meaning that western children often fail to grasp the seriousness and importance of their education, whilst pupils in other countries certainly don’t take a good education for granted.


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