The education system, methods and results

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Re: The education system, methods and results

Postby finley » 07 May 2012, 22:23

bismarck wrote:
kelake wrote:Perhaps Taiwan doesn’t have a monopoly on these problems.

Bingo. Just don't Say that too loud here!


Hmm .. dunno. Other countries have problems, but they're different problems. Case in point: you may have heard on the news last week about a school (supposedly a "good" school) which lined up its female students and forced them to disrobe so that the teachers could "check that they were wearing white bras". If that had happened in Europe, the teachers concerned would count themselves lucky if they were just fired in disgrace. A couple of months doing porridge would be a more likely outcome. In Taiwan ... well, there's a bit of tutting, and then everything's back to normal (unless anyone has heard differently?).

The thing about that particular incident is that it was obviously a carefully-calibrated assault designed to reinforce blind compliance to authority. Nobody gives a rat's ass about underwear colour, but the education system was designed back in the bad old days when school was where you learned to obey, not think, and old habits die hard. I'm all for teaching kids to sit down and STFU when teacher is speaking, but there's still a significant component of obedience training in Taiwan's system which causes serious problems in later life. I know - it's a broad generalisation (as petrichor, there is a lot of variation). But if you talk to your Taiwanese friends about this, I don't think it's an unreasonable one.
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Re: The education system, methods and results

Postby GuyInTaiwan » 08 May 2012, 08:10

finley: Precisely. As I have mentioned before at this website, every single day, my students clean the school from 3:00 to 3:15. This is such an important activity that some kids are sent to class (not just my class, but particularly my class) late as a result. They also do some cleaning at lunchtime. Honestly, how many times per day do the windows need to be cleaned? How many leaves are there that need to be swept?

Yet if you look behind where the bikes are kept, or in the ditch alongside the road leading up to the school, there is tons of litter. There is generally around here. I see adults litter all the time around here (just this morning, I was running my dog and a truck full of farm workers in front of me threw some litter into someone's rice paddy). People throw drink containers or other rubbish into our yard all the time. At our previous house, our neighbours used to do it! I have to conclude that all of this cleaning my students do is a complete waste of time. It has nothing to do with being civic minded and all the rest of it. It is nothing other than an exercise in authority for its own sake.
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Re: The education system, methods and results

Postby Feiren » 08 May 2012, 10:15

I disagree. By having the kids clean the schools, they are trying to use education to prevent the littering that older people do. It's an example of the moral education that is central to Chinese/East Asian education.







GuyInTaiwan wrote:finley: Precisely. As I have mentioned before at this website, every single day, my students clean the school from 3:00 to 3:15. This is such an important activity that some kids are sent to class (not just my class, but particularly my class) late as a result. They also do some cleaning at lunchtime. Honestly, how many times per day do the windows need to be cleaned? How many leaves are there that need to be swept?

Yet if you look behind where the bikes are kept, or in the ditch alongside the road leading up to the school, there is tons of litter. There is generally around here. I see adults litter all the time around here (just this morning, I was running my dog and a truck full of farm workers in front of me threw some litter into someone's rice paddy). People throw drink containers or other rubbish into our yard all the time. At our previous house, our neighbours used to do it! I have to conclude that all of this cleaning my students do is a complete waste of time. It has nothing to do with being civic minded and all the rest of it. It is nothing other than an exercise in authority for its own sake.
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The education system, methods and results

Postby headhonchoII » 08 May 2012, 10:27

Yes but it doesn't work. They just see it as a chore which it is.
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Re: The education system, methods and results

Postby Feiren » 08 May 2012, 10:30

headhonchoII wrote:Yes but it doesn't work. They just see it as a chore which it is.


I think it is working. Taiwan has far less trash than it used to. It has a long way to go and the introduction of trash pickup even in rural areas has helped.

Anti-smoking propaganda at an early age clearly cuts down on smoking. Anti-litter propaganda probably does too.
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Re: The education system, methods and results

Postby GuyInTaiwan » 08 May 2012, 10:41

Feiren: It doesn't work though. As I mentioned, go and look behind where the kids keep their bikes. Go and look in the ditch alongside the road leading up to the school. Earlier this year, I had to complain because the basketball team always wanted to use my classroom for meetings for some reason. The following day, I'd come and find crap everywhere in my room. It's also not just them. The worst teachers for leaving crap everywhere (or not cleaning up the cooking classroom, for instance) are not my colleagues in their forties or fifties. Those guys are generally pretty solid. Those in their twenties are bloody hopeless though.
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The education system, methods and results

Postby headhonchoII » 08 May 2012, 10:53

Feiren wrote:
headhonchoII wrote:Yes but it doesn't work. They just see it as a chore which it is.


I think it is working. Taiwan has far less trash than it used to. It has a long way to go and the introduction of trash pickup even in rural areas has helped.

Anti-smoking propaganda at an early age clearly cuts down on smoking. Anti-litter propaganda probably does too.


Yes the litter situation has improved like most countries worldwide but probably due to other reasons, not sweeping the classroom floor, which I guess they have been doing since Confucius started confusing us!

GIT has a point , there is a lot if myopia here, they lack joined up thinking. There is a school near me that is a beautiful piece of architecture and great facilities (as many new schools are in Taiwan , well done). However just outside the school , down about 50ms from it there is a road junction under with no pavement, the kids have to walk that everyday. It is a dangerous and busy junction.
Why aren't the teachers doing something about it? What about the parents association? Where are the protests?
Education is more than books and compulsory chores. You need to BUY into it , not go though the motions.

The junction is supposedly like this as the local govt claims they have no money to purchase the land. What a lame excuse for inaction.

The school looks after the kids just on the grounds, as soon as the kids go outside , good luck to you.

Look, Taiwanese are getting there , but they really need more diversity in education and more buy in to ideas instead of lip service to them.
I can remember the fourth of July runnin' through the backwood bare.
And I can still hear my old hound dog barkin' chasin' down a hoodoo there
Chasin' down a hoodoo there.
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Re: The education system, methods and results

Postby GuyInTaiwan » 08 May 2012, 12:20

HH: I was also thinking about this more. Whenever I go outside during the school cleaning time, I see one of two things happening. Either I see a teacher hovering around kids and them all busily sweeping and so on, or I see kids left to their own devices. In those cases, I see 20% of the kids doing most of the work and the other 80% of them fooling around. Those 20% of kids are the ones who are conscientious in everything they do. The other 80% vary from being easily led or controlled to being downright feral. Not surprisingly, when I see kids acting like idiots (e.g. seventh grade students riding scooters around without helmets in the rain), it's almost never those 20% of kids, and I'd bet that those 20% of good students are not the ones dropping the litter either.

I really think a massive amount of this comes down to the family environment. I have students who are simply delightful to be around. I look at their younger siblings, and they seem quite delightful also. I bet I know what their parents are like.

If the parents are feral, the kids will be feral, and not much that the teachers do will change that. For instance, I have a colleague who is excellent and extremely conscientious. She contacts kids' parents about all sorts of stuff, such as them riding scooters (without helmets). Yet what can she do when those same parents bring their own kids to school without helmets or then go on to let their kids keep riding scooters by themselves (as if the parents didn't know). I look at my sister-in-law's kids and they're bloody awful. They stayed this past weekend and they were like little demons around the house, as well as having no manners at the dinner table (and not just to us, but also to their grandmother's friend). Yet their parents don't discipline them at all or expect any manners. My wife actually said to me, without my prompting, that she really dislikes her nieces now. She said they used to be cute (I think they've always been awful), but now they're not. The thing is that these kids are only going to get worse and worse as they get older. Bad adults don't materialise out of nowhere. Their teachers (whom I pity already) won't be able to do much about them.

I really think controlling them may limit the damage they can do, but it's a last resort because the damage has already been done (because I can contrast my wife's niece who is five with another kid we know who is five and see a huge difference in their behaviour already). Yet it's also quite ineffective simply because a teacher or other authority figure cannot be there all the time, so if someone hasn't internalised an ethical system, it's pointless anyway.

The thing I notice the most about the education system here (and in Australia and England) is just what a piss poor return on the investment it is. If we controlled for kids who were already well behaved or conscientious before they started school, and then looked at all the rest, including the more than one thousand hours (13 years x 40 weeks x 5 days x 2 sessions x 15 minutes) spent on this, we'd see what a complete waste of time this is. If someone went to physical therapy, or tennis lessons, or piano lessons for more than 1,000 hours, we'd expect some better results than this! Yet on we press, doing the same old nonsense simply because...well...because we just do. Then again, I think that a lot of what takes place in the education system is similarly useless and stupid.
And you coming in to scold us all like some kind of sour-puss kindie assistant who favors olive cardigans and lemon drinks without sugar. -- Muzha Man

One sometimes gets the impression that the mere words "Socialism" and "Communism" draw towards them with magnetic force every fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, "Nature Cure" quack, pacifist, and feminist in England. -- George Orwell
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Re: The education system, methods and results

Postby kelake » 08 May 2012, 19:34

I disagree as well. I can’t think of any good reason why the students shouldn’t have some concern for their environment. The teachers are involved as well. I’m sure it’s treated differently in every school you might visit but I generally see it as a positive (at least in the schools my kids go to). They take on allot of other responsibilities as well.
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The education system, methods and results

Postby headhonchoII » 08 May 2012, 20:59

It's not that they don't care for the environment , it's that we are debating the logic behind them sweeping the floors and the school surroundings to see if it translates into a bigger understanding. As I said I guess they have been doing it for centuries. I don't actually find Taiwan ranks that bad on the litter scale compared to some places, but it's no Japan let's put it that way.
I can remember the fourth of July runnin' through the backwood bare.
And I can still hear my old hound dog barkin' chasin' down a hoodoo there
Chasin' down a hoodoo there.
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