A team of teachers from China which topped the international survey (PISA survey - mentioned in the above Round Table) among 74 countries in which India stood 73 only above Kyrgyzsthan, recently visited Britian to teach in Chinese teaching method to the British high school students for the BBC documentary ‘Are our Kids tough enough?’. After weeks of experiment the British and Chinese teachers shared their impressions: Neil Strowger, The British head teacher of the school said: “In Shanghai last year, I had seen the incredible commitment of the students, enormous class sizes and immaculate behaviour. I had also witnessed PE lessons.In early spring, parts of my school were taken over. The Chinese flag was flying proudly over the sports field. But 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. As the weeks passed, perhaps as a result of the amount of time spent together, teacher-pupil relationships got better and some pupils began to express a preference for the Chinese style. They liked having to copy "stuff" from the board as they thought this would help them remember it. What have I learned from the experiment? I believe that a longer school day would have value for our pupils and that teachers should not on occasion be afraid of delivering monologues in the classroom. It is, however, abundantly clear to me that Chinese parents, culture and values are the real reasons that Shanghai Province tops the oft-cited Pisa tables.”The Chinese teacher Simon Zou said: “I established a class committee and routines for students on duty. Leaders were selected for each class activity. This allowed the students to bear responsibility, as well as to exercise their leadership, communication, cooperation and organisation skills. I believe if we give students a stage to perform, they will surprise us. Originally I was confident about my teaching method, but at Bohunt I encountered unexpected problems. When I first introduced Pythagoras's theorem, I decided to let the students find the proposition, prove and apply the theorem. That process is an important feature of maths teaching in China. But a lot of students said they found it unnecessary to prove Pythagoras's theorem - knowing how to apply it was enough.I introduced the Chinese Ring Puzzle to the students. Unfortunately after the evening study session, some students left the ring puzzles.Another thing I remember is that one afternoon in the third week, a boy named Joe fell down in the classroom and hurt his hand. He was crying. After the school doctor's examination, he was given some ice packs and advised to go to hospital. When Joe's mother and younger brother were picking him up, one little thing impressed me in particular. Joe was carrying a heavy bag on his other side, but he didn't request us to help. Joe's mother did not offer to help him carry the bag, nor did Joe ask for help. Even when Joe's brother tried to help him carry his bag, Joe refused. I wonder if this is the result of the British education, that trains the children to become independent. This makes me think a lot.”… Well, can we see a BBC in our Country or in State? Even ISIS terrorists respect teachers like Indians. That’s why they released Lakshmi Kanth. Mere respect for education is not enough. Can we make our culture and politics education-centric? This is the core issue. It is highly inspiring to see many veterans from different walks mulling desperately in FDR-Loksatta Round Table on “Kalam’s Vision - Political, Administrative Reforms” to seek solutions for our country, without even bothering about lunch amidst age related problems. Genuine anguish appeared in their tones and gestures perhaps by the glaring sight of the narrowing window of opportunity for the country. Better late than never.
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