Best of both education systems
Updated: 2011-02-25 07:55
Comment on "Learning different ways of thinking" (China Daily, Jan 28)
I've read the article with great interest. There was a similar one on Feb 8. Both struck a chord in me because they deal with a long-standing debate in China on whether the mode of education in the East is better than that in the West, and vice-versa.
In fact, I quite agree with the Jan 28 article's implied view that China and the United States should learn from each other to work out a win-win learning curve for our children's education.
China's education system has experienced two extremes: over-emphasis on rote learning in the past, and giving priority to the so-called student-oriented teaching or freewheeling education at present. The controversy raised by the "tiger mom" in the US has re-ignited the fierce debate over the optimal educational pattern, which has split the Chinese educational circle into two almost hostile camps.
The strengths of Chinese education lie in solid mastery of basic knowledge, which is essential for effective and critical reasoning and expression. Western schooling, on the other hand, attaches more importance to giving free rein to the development of individuality and imagination, which is vital to creative thinking and invention.
I think the best combination of mutual merits would be an emphasis on the Chinese way of education over the Western one from elementary school to senior high school (since this is the fundamental stage of education which requires more memorization skills than creativity). And more attention should be paid to the Western mode of teaching from the college level through to the doctoral level (because this is the take-off stage of education where one needs original ideas to achieve brilliant results).
Fei Jijing, via e-mail
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(China Daily 02/25/2011 page9)
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