Re-Education – Ann Hulbert

The New York Times Magazine looks at the system in China through the lens of a former student superstar there now studying at Harvard:

01China190.2Even as American educators seek to emulate Asian pedagogy ” a test-centered ethos and a rigorous focus on math, science and engineering ” Chinese educators are trying to blend a Western emphasis on critical thinking, versatility and leadership into their own traditions. To put it another way, in the peremptorily utopian style typical of official Chinese directives (as well as of educationese the world over), the nation’s schools must strive “to build citizens’ character in an all-round way, gear their efforts to each and every student, give full scope to students’ ideological, moral, cultural and scientific potentials and raise their labor skills and physical and psychological aptitudes, achieve vibrant student development and run themselves with distinction.” Meijie’s rise to star student reflects a much-publicized government call to promote “suzhi jiaoyu” ” generally translated as “quality education,” and also sometimes as “character education” or “all-round character education.” Her story also raises important questions about the state’s effort, which has been more generously backed by rhetoric than by money. [Full text]

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