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Are our Kids Strong Enough? Chinese School. BBC4 Documentary

Discussion in 'The Movie and Television Lounge' started by portnoy58, 24 Aug 2015.

  1. portnoy58

    portnoy58 Thread Starter Well-Known Member

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    You can download all three episode of this cringeworthy BBC documentary series, currently airing on BBC 4. The series portrays an attempt by a 'high-performing' Hampshire secondary school to run an experimental Chinese school for a four week period which well end with an exam; one part of Year 9 has followed the normal curriculum taught by the usual teachers and the other part has been in the Chinese school with all lessons taught by Chinese teachers and based on the Chinese curriculum and educational/institutional norms: 12 hour day etc. By the end of Episode 2 the Chinese School really doesn't seem to be running with open mutiny among the students, concerns about the breakdown of discipline being expressed by the school management, who don't want the project to be successful in any event and the Chinese teachers are seriously under stress and bemoaning the students' lack of discipline. It is a fascinating account of culture clash. I have some admiration for most of the Chinese teachers as they are undoubtedly committed and dedicated. One, however, appears to be obsessed about the impact of the British welfare state on student performance and cites this as the difference between English and Chinese students' different motivation. I think the school head's observations about the never ending teacher transmission style of teaching is the real reason for the breakdown. The students are clearly bright, indepedent-minded, and opinionated; typical adolescents and I must say I would like to be their teacher - they are used to their teachers taking a certain approach and do not welcome this teacher-led shift to a very formal style. I think however it is a little contrived. Enter a negative version of the Hawthorne effect - I do believe some of the kids, Sophie in particular, are acting up for the camera : Sophie has been miked up and she doesn't disappoint.

    I'd happily recommend this to Foreign Teachers working in Thailand. It might provide a very entertaining contrast to some of our experiences.
     
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