Opinion / Blog

Chinese school - the Bohunt experiment (part 1)

By MichaelM ( Updated: 2015-08-11 10:24

I was utilized as kind of a 'clean up' and research agent in places where classes were not going well and where foreign teachers were not giving their best efforts. I've taught more than 2,000 students, trained 300 Chinese English teachers and given over 2,100 lessons/lectures at every level of school from grade one primary school through the MBA candidates at Zhengzhou University. I've had to expel students from classes, have had to have conferences with their parents over their misbehavior and on one occasion, I had to demand that a certain student never return to my class.

Now, with that said and in always trying to maintain objectivity in my opinions and assessments, Chinese students are, overall, much better behaved, calm and obedient in the classroom. In fact, it is the nature of Chinese people to be this way. However, in this video, there is a portrayal of 'perfection' in Chinese schools and classrooms. It is good, but, not perfect.

The video shows both, a classroom and daily structure in addition to teaching styles. When you hear that Western students are allowed to challenge the teacher, any sane teacher would not allow them to challenge from a standpoint of misbehavior or outbursts of rudeness as shown in the video. Teachers allow students to challenge concepts, ideas, opinions and the like. This is part of the critical thinking process that's encouraged in the West. The aim is to teach students to be innovative, not rude and undisciplined.

My overall opinion is that the West can learn a lot from China in education. I don't know the final outcome of the Bohunt experiment. We will see in the final episodes. However, I predict that the students will fare much better on exams than those who were not taught in the environment of the experiment. Much of the reason will be that they spent more time studying.

My personal belief is that the biggest benefits of Chinese secondary education are 1. longer hours at school. 2. Competitiveness. This is more important in China because there are so many job seekers looking for employment in a highly competitive job market. 3. Higher expectations and demand upon students. 4. More lecture based lessons. This is great preparation for college. Effective note taking is essential for college. 5. Team building. This too creates an intellectual environment where synergy is created in addition to developing personal attributes such as tolerance, cooperation and harmony.

My last comment is that balance must exist in every area of life: in education, in the workplace and in one's personal life. In these comparisons, such as the one in this video, most people don't think beyond substantiating a very narrow opinion. They walk away with conclusions based on information that may or may not be accurate. They don't dig deeper.

Many Chinese will walk away believing that the Chinese system is far superior to Western education. Let me say again, I don't know what classrooms are like in the UK, but, I know that the behavior of students in these videos is far from what students are actually like in the USA. I believe the video is obviously biased.

There is much to learn. Objectivity, accuracy, honesty, interaction, fairness and cultural considerations are all vital in making any conclusions.

The original blog is at:


Previous Page 1 2 Next Page

Most Viewed Today's Top News