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Best teaching methods must include efficiency, piquing interest

Updated: 2013-07-11 22:17

In a science class in China, a teacher from the United States has many ways to make the class interesting. But some Chinese colleagues claimed that her teaching is not as efficient as theirs. How does one best combine the different methods? A column in People's Daily offers advice (excerpts below).

The students in Zhongguancun No 3 Primary School are glad to have a science class taught by Helen from the US. During their 45 minutes together, Helen used a group dance to teach her class about the concept of heat in materials.

It is obvious how interesting the class is from the students' reaction. However, several Chinese teachers who watched the process had their doubts. It takes only several sentences to explain the same concept clearly in the Chinese teachers' classes, which raises the question: Is Helen's class inefficient?

Such doubts have reflected different definitions of efficiency among different teachers. Helen emphasizes the importance of piquing everybody's interest in the process so that they will love science, while her Chinese colleagues think it is more important to give the students the answers to the questions in a shorter period of time.

The latter might be more effective when coping with exams, but the former will have a longer-lasting effect. There have been countless examples of scientists who learned because of their interest, and not for the benefit of so-called efficiency.

It is time to have a deeper understanding of efficiency. True efficiency is never counterproductive; only by inciting interest can learning be efficient in the long run.