Posts Tagged ‘hard work’

“Why China is passing us.” – Winnipeg Free Press (1st of 2 parts)

Hunan is highlighted on this map

Lanshan Middle School No. 2 is in an agricultural area in the southern part of Hunan province, China; Hunan province is highlighted in red on the map of China above; image from: …………………………………………………………………………………………

I am grateful for today’s guest article from the Winnipeg Free Press in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada:

Winnipeg Free Press – PRINT EDITION

Why China’s passing us [1st of 2 parts]

At Lanshan Middle School No. 2, no free rides

By: Carol Sanders, February 13, 2010

Reporter Carol Sanders went to rural China for a holiday and stayed at a high school campus. She learned a thing or two about an education system with great expectations and global ambitions.

LANSHAN, China — While Manitoba wrings its hands over releasing high school test scores, what to do with kids who fail a grade, are obese or bullies, the competition from another, poorer province is getting smarter, leaner and meaner.
That province is in China.

In one of the poorest regions of the economic powerhouse of 1.3 billion people, kids are up at 6:30 every morning, working out, doing their own laundry by hand and going to classes 12 hours a day. And they’re learning English.

On a cold, dark December morning, a whistle blows over a loudspeaker at 6:30 a.m. followed by a wake-up call and some march music.

It’s time for the hundreds of high school kids who live at Lanshan Middle School No. 2 to wake up.

The school is in an agricultural centre in southern Hunan province.

The students get up and gather for exercises accompanied by canned Chinese pop music, then head to the cafeteria. They get their bowl and chopsticks from their cubby and line up for a hot stir-fry breakfast and steamed vegetables. If they want dumplings or doughy sweets, they’ll have to pay extra. After breakfast, they wash their bowls and sticks, put them away and head to classes.

The top students are located on the top floors of the school. The Grade 10 high-achievers have to climb up five flights of stairs — the reward for their hard work is more hard work.

At mid-morning, all the teachers (some wearing high heels) and the students (some wearing slippers) take a break from classes and go for a two-kilometre run around the perimeter of the sprawling high school campus.

It’s quite a sight. There’s no pissing and moaning or goofing off. The 2,200 kids and teachers joke and chat while they jog. Some high-five a Canadian English teacher as they run past her.

The midday break is not siesta time.

The students head to the study hall to do homework. Before supper, they gather to play basketball, table tennis, soccer, badminton, lift weights or run around the track.

There’s no teacher organizing them — the kids just break off into their groups. And nobody’s left out.

The students group themselves according to their skill level, so kids who suck at sports like badminton but like it anyway can still play with someone in their league and have a chance at winning.

The kids who are really good at basketball play with others who are really good. The jocks are constantly being challenged by other jocks, so they can get better.

There are no cliques huddled in corners or slackers sitting on the fence.

It’s fun, competitive and inclusive because you get to play even if you’re not very good.

[This is the 1st of 2 parts; to be continued in the next post, the 2nd of 2 parts, Wednesday, July 28, 2010]

– Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition of February 13, 2010, page H1

Doc Meek posted a comment at the Winnipeg Free Press about this article:

February 19, 2010 at 7:19 PM

I am writing a book that will encourage Chinese teachers and students to involve themselves more in active learning, so that the school work they do will be more meaningful to each of them personally. I would like them to learn to love active learning, not just rote learning, so that they can enjoy life-long learning, not just factual memorizing. However, it is clear that they will teaching me about active learning too, from their example of self-discipline and hard work. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. – Doc Meek, Calgary, Alberta, CANADA, and South Jordan, Utah, USA  …………………………………………………………………………………………

Doc Meek, Tuesday, July 27,2010, at South Jordan, Utah, USA ——————-

J. Collins Meek, Ph.D. (Doc Meek)
“What if you are smarter than you think?”
Learning Specialist

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