Thinking observer

Friday morning, we visited a secondary school to observe their lessons. The teacher went through a passage entitled, “Life is like Dance”, and invited students to discuss their thoughts. He asked the 13-year-olds a question which I believe even adults could not answer – “What is the essence of life?”

But I was both surprised and impressed to hear them speak. To see how vocal and opinionated they were. The teacher could pick on any student and h/she would be able to answer eloquently without hesitation. 

Later, I heard them read. They read with all the right pauses and varying tones for maximum dramatic effect and I felt my goosebumps. It was like sitting in a storytelling competition.

They sat straight – nobody had their heads on the table. I could see they were reading and thinking about the passage. The teacher spoke softly because it was so quiet in the class. I don’t think that’s because they feared the teacher. I think that’s because they respected the teacher.

He was a knowledgeable teacher. Young, but well-read and able to ask though-provoking questions. Every of his questions inspired students to think, to question, to come to their own conclusions. It did not matter that they had differing views. What mattered was that they HAD differing views and were not afraid to VOICE them out.

The Chinese education system focuses a lot on character development – to nurture children who are optimistic, polite, patriotic, courageous and altruistic. I think the recent quake reinforced the point that they were a nation which refused to bow to adversity.

Somehow when it comes to teaching national education, respect and positivity, the Chinese seem to have gotten the right formula.

Thoughts after the lesson: Is it easier to nurture patriotism in a racially homogenous country where most people are not religious? Race or religion? What makes us more diverse? Less patriotic?

It was a good lesson. It made me think.

Explore posts in the same categories: School, Travel

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