Opinion / Blog

Bohunt experiment causes total loss of face

By TedM ( Updated: 2015-08-13 14:30

It is clear to me that this “experiment” is doomed to fail because of differences in culture, ethos, values, attitudes, aims, expectations and behavior which are enormous. I applaud China wanting to improve its system of education by exploring western methods and employing foreign teachers and advisors…but combining the best of both systems…slowly and with careful planning and evaluation. I applaud British schools for attempting to improve results by trying out foreign ideas…but with specific and limited agendas, accurately assessed over time.  I am sure that the producers of this programme knew this and contrived to use the program to ridicule and make fun of the situations arising.

The head-teacher and the staff involved must be very upset and angry at the resulting program I share their concerns. Indeed the head-teacher admitted in the program that he hoped the experiment will fail in order to avoid any other schools considering the return to “chalk and talk” methods which proved so bad so many years ago.

I will not be specific about the differences between Chinese and Western education. Suffice to say that importing an alien system which was last used 200 years ago, to a Western culture of the 21st century is ridiculous. Bringing a few math teachers to the UK to attempt to improve math teaching in this country is excellent. Encouraging Chinese educationalists to broaden their curriculum and reduce the burden of testing is excellent…But to suggest that one country’s methods are better than another and to change it overnight on the basis of a contrived and dishonest “experiment” is stupid.

This begs the question, why then do foreign teachers in China not have problems?  First, most schools provide a Chinese speaking assistant in the classroom who has some experience and authority. Second, China has firmly established expectations of behavior and sometimes harsh punishments for under-achievers. Third, the attitudes and expectations of parents and grand-parents support serious study. Fourth, the only way to success and wealth in China is to succeed in education; there is no welfare state to rely on if a student fails. Fifth, Chinese students are collectively responsible for cleaning and tidying and doing their duty. They have a duty to parents, to the school and to China, demonstrated by the parades and flag raising each Monday morning.

There are now new schools in China who are experimenting with western methods of active learning and inquiry based learning. These are proving successful and popular, providing a broader and more balanced education, and moving towards the bachelorette form of final test for university. It seems easier to change weaknesses in the Chinese system than to change proven western practices.

However, I will now get out some dirty magazines before “Dream Island” is on the television, and I must remember to get a longer stick so I can beat my students more effectively when they get less than 90 percent in their next test.

The original blog is at:


Previous Page 1 2 Next Page

Most Viewed Today's Top News