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StChris

BBC Show: Are British Kids Tough Enough to Handle Chinese School?

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Johnny20270

British Chinese in the UK get the highest grades at GCSE, and are top of exam results by ethnic group. This is across all schools in the UK. It's nothing to do with what school they go to, but the importance the families place on education.

 

 

 

Indeed, there was a BBC (TV station) program on this before. BBC (British Born Chinese) came highest and Indian came 2nd but Black African, Black Caribbean, Bangladeshi and Pakistani lowest. Of course many factors to this, English being first language in the household, higher percentage of black kids being from poorer backgrounds, over influence of religion in Pakistani schools etc

 

White British born kids interestingly where not that high up on the scale

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Bigdumogre

Why being from a poorer background relates to lower grades? It's up to a individual to want to learn and succeed and not ones social income. It's like studying mandarin outside of China. It's much harder to learn in a place where no one speaks the language or able to immerse yourself daily but many of us do it.

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Shelley

It is unfortunate that in the UK, USA and Canada (three places I have been to school) it is common for students who do well and excel in their studies and exams to be taunted, teased, and in some cases actually bullied.

 

I personally experienced this type of teasing, if I used a word that was longer than 5 letters and was not something the rest of the class had learnt the meaning of, I would be subjected to a barrage of "oohh who ate a dictionary for lunch", or the word was constantly repeated in a singsongy voice when ever they saw me.

 

It was similar in class when questions were asked I was always one of those with my hand up with the answer, but I soon stopped this when I got to be about 13 because of the teasing " Shelley knows, she's got a big nose" and other equally childish chanting.

 

i was actually never daunted by all this,  I just couldn't understand what they thought was wrong with learning. I enjoyed school and learning, I still do.

 

i was active in PE, I was on the badminton team, soccer, volley ball, basket ball, gymnastics, and many more so I wasn't just sat in a corner with my nose in a book. I think I had a very good all round education and childhood.

 

i did however start to dumb down my language and found I fitted in better when I kept my love of reading and learning to my self,

sad but true.

 

Not all kids are strong enough to cope with this type of thing and it will really upset them, this is were the parents should teach the child self respect and confidence to cope with this and other things life will throw at you.

 

We had 2 Chinese girls in one of our classes, they stuck together like glue and were the subject of some terrible teasing because they did nothing but study. They didn't talk to anyone, they didn't join in any sport or other school activities. I now know that they were probably under strict orders to do well at school. This was in the late 60's in Canada.

 

I don't know why this happens, I am sure a behaviourist probably has some answers.

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Flickserve

Why being from a poorer background relates to lower grades? It's up to a individual to want to learn and succeed and not ones social income. It's like studying mandarin outside of China. It's much harder to learn in a place where no one speaks the language or able to immerse yourself daily but many of us do it.

This is quite well known. Wealthier and more educated families generally have more access to resources.

Let's say you are a parent and living in China but can only read simple Chinese. A lot of the school notices, events, mother's gossip will simply by pass you. You wouldn't actually recognise the significance of a event for your child. A poorer background correlates with previous lower educational level.

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Flickserve

Didn't watch it, but...

British Chinese in the UK get the highest grades at GCSE, and are top of exam results by ethnic group. This is across all schools in the UK. It's nothing to do with what school they go to, but the importance the families place on education.

Must be those weekend Chinese schools that the British Chinese kids attend!

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Bigdumogre

This is quite well known. Wealthier and more educated families generally have more access to resources.

Let's say you are a parent and living in China but can only read simple Chinese. A lot of the school notices, events, mother's gossip will simply by pass you. You wouldn't actually recognise the significance of a event for your child. A poorer background correlates with previous lower educational level.

Still don't see that as a excuse. I grew up in a poor part of a bad neighborhood in New York. Neither of my parents past middle school. They both worked 2 jobs so they did not have time to help me with school that much. But I was first person in my family to graduate high school plus with honors then did 2 years in college. One persons drive out weighs anything that could hold them back.

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somethingfunny

 

 

This is quite well known. Wealthier and more educated families generally have more access to resources.

 

 

This.  One of the big arguments against academies in the UK is they are directly funded by the government rather than having their funding decided by a local education authority.  Schools (that have academy status) in richer areas therefore have access to more funds than they originally had as LEA's would direct funding to poorer areas to account for the fact that children from poorer households are less likely to have access to the resources wealthier parents can provide for their children.  However, whether you feel this is a good or bad thing is ultimately a question of politics rather than education.

 

While the data on British Born Chinese students performing better than their white British counterparts is pretty compelling, you'd still have to consider the kind of background these children's parents came from.

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somethingfunny

Bigdumogre.  Obviously there will be exceptions, but we're talking about overall trends here.  There is a strong link between parents social and economic background and their children's success at school.

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geraldc

The economic backgrounds of the British Chinese are very diverse. Essentially kids from families who are in low paid catering jobs, right up to professionals.

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1261415/Chinese-Indian-pupils-grades-GCSE-British-children.html

 

I went to Chinese school on Sundays and learnt nothing that stayed with me. I did learn a lot about relative merits of Tamiya and Kyosho remote control cars, which was pretty much the only reason we went, to race the cars around the playground.

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Flickserve

Still don't see that as a excuse. I grew up in a poor part of a bad neighborhood in New York. Neither of my parents past middle school. They both worked 2 jobs so they did not have time to help me with school that much. But I was first person in my family to graduate high school plus with honors then did 2 years in college. One persons drive out weighs anything that could hold them back.

It's not an excuse. It's backed up by evidence and statistical proof over a population. Of course, we can always point to exceptions like yourself. But that doesn't mean that the statistical evidence is wrong. Even in my own family, my father and uncle (from a family of 10 siblings) gained degrees. They came from an essentially background rural and poorly educated community. They were the outliers. I think for my family, my mother was go on about how my father was the first in his community to get a degree and PhD. In those days, I remember very clearly that my report card from school was never good enough for my father which was a repeated event until I eventually entered University. So I am one of the 'statistics'.

Interesting reading from Geraldc's mailonline link. The top comments are particularly compelling. There are more votes for the high value that Chinese/Indian cultures place on education. Of course, not every child goes on to do well but more of them do better than other ethnic counterparts.

One of the standing stereotype jokes amongst second generation Chinese is that you know you are Chinese because all the parents compare the children's achievements. Medicine, law and accounting are the most valued professions. Sad in a way but true.

I won't tell you about my friends (Chinese) in UK whose ten year old has just done her GCSE in Mandarin Chinese. The girl is born in UK, dad knows practically no chinese (but ethnic Chinese). Mum is from Hong Kong (and Australia as a kid) and knows Cantonese but not Mandarin.

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Johnny20270

There really is no debate about this, the general trend is that affluence and race does had a direct correlation of education and success. It appears in the papers every month and there are plenty of government statistics, council papers and government think thanks to tackle these issue

 

Its no real surprise that St Paul's in London is one of the best schools in the UK with 90% of students achieve A* grades. All the toffs try get their kids in their and at £25k a year its not cheap.

 

This year the best performing area in the UK was Kensington and Chelsea (the richest area in the UK) and Bradford one the worse in the UK. And anyone from the UK knows what kind of reputation Bradford gets. Poor, highest immigration, high crime, radicalization etc 

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geraldc

Chinese rarely question teachers, the same way that they don't question your parents. So if a teacher says read chapters 8-10 and do the homework, then the Chinese student will do it (even if half arsed) and that's enough to give him an advantage over the student who doesn't. Its the whole thing with the more time you spend doing something, the better at it you are. The more time you spend discussing One Direction in class, the less time you are doing maths.

 

For education at secondary school level, it's not about the intellect of the student, but just getting him to do the work. I learnt characters by writing them out long hand hundreds of times. It's not a sexy method, but drills and the like are sometimes required.

 

Expensive schools just make sure the kids do the work. They also have the advantage that once you're in selective education, it means that by not doing the work, you become the odd one out.

 

With regards to affluence and race, I give you Prince Harry. From a family richer than Midas, with all the advantages in the world, he still came bottom of his year at Eton.

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Shelley
he still came bottom of his year at Eton.

 

Probably would still be the top of a state school year :)

 

It is only relative.

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LiMo

OK, from use of the word "swot" I'm going to assume I'm the person with the most recent experience of what British schools are actually like, I left in 2009 although I did stay on to sixth form.

 

From my experience it isn't particularly common for high achievers to be bullied, at least in my school. In fact, and this is probably sadder, immigrants and people with learning disabilities were more likely to be bullied. People who couldn't speak English well or for some reason couldn't make friends. The "nerds" had their group and people left them to it or even expressed envy. My school was a state school and was moving towards the better end of the spectrum during my time there. It was on the edge of the inner city and wealthy suburbs so there was a real mix of racial and socio-economic backgrounds. (Obviously this is just my experience, I only went to one school so it's pure anecdote but I still feel that nowadays people are bullied less just for being smart).

 

Returning to the program, which I have just finished watching. I'm getting more and more of a sneaking suspicion that this program is secretly financed by the Conservative party. As I mentioned before we are increasingly told, in thinly veiled terms, that the brilliant Chinese are after our jobs. This sentiment was brought up by the Chinese teachers themselves during the program. I know these teachers have spent time in the UK before so I cannot rule out natural contamination but it seems very convenient for them to be so intimately familiar with our hopes and fears. At the very least I think the program has a clear goal of perpetuating the myth that the Chinese are all geniuses and we are layabout slobs. It is certainly edited to give that impression. In further support of my conspiracy theory, one of the Chinese teachers brought up, on multiple occasions, her theory that the British welfare system makes people lazy. Now who does that sound like? Now, seriously, I'm not a conspiracy theorist by a long shot but this show fits the agenda of certain people in Britain far too well. Maybe I'm just paranoid.

 

Regarding the "experiment," it is clear that whatever their results will be they will be hopelessly invalid. I myself can see that these children are acting out well beyond their normal levels most likely because of the filming and inability of the Chinese teachers to control the class (something else I have anecdotal evidence for; teachers with poor English seemed more likely to lose students respect, at least at my school). One of them brought a kettle to school and proceeded to make tea for himself every lesson. Apparently he can't go more than a few hours without a good cuppa. Funny how it coincides with being on national television! (His mother was brought in. Predictably she had, after voicing a soft admonition, knowingly let him take the kettle to school. Sigh)

 

With the breakdown in discipline now at critical levels the parents were brought in to listen to an emotional plea from the Chinese teachers. Cue the most damning thing ever uttered in British educational history. A parent leans over to her friend and mutters, "Shouldn't the school be sorting out the discipline? Why is it all our fault."

 

Says it all really.

 

(It's also very interesting to see just how much pressure one of the teachers feels. She seems to feel that she carries the pride of the Chinese nation. If she fails to prove, via this deeply flawed experiment, that Chinese teaching methods are effective (superior?) she will have failed or let down her country. People are awfully invested in this aren't they.)

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Flickserve

It is definitely flawed as an experiment. But TV is about entertainment. You could be right about the conspiracy theory. I see there is now a maximum level of benefits you can claim from the Government - that cues me to a headline sometime back about some guy who has about 8+ children (not from the same mother) and living off the benefits.

Now, if it is a conspiracy theory, what is the agenda behind it?

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Angelina

The comments the Chinese teacher made on the welfare system sound off. Who knows.
 

 

 

 

 

edited 

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gato
Here is an opinion about Australia

http://www.saveoursc...anghai-students

 

I looked into this interesting paper comparing the PISA math results of Shanghai students vs Australian-born Chinese students.

 

http://johnjerrim.com/2014/10/09/why-do-east-asian-children-do-so-well-at-pisa/

I explore this issue in my new paper using PISA 2012 data from Australia. Just like their counterparts in the UK, Australian-born children of East Asian heritage do very well in school – particularly when it comes to maths. Infact, I show that they score an average of 605 points on the PISA 2012 maths test. This puts them more than two years ahead of the average child living in either England or Australia. They even outperform the average child in perennial top PISA performers like Singapore, Hong Kong and Japan.

 

https://johnjerrim.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/australia_asia_paper.pdf

Why do East Asian children perform so well in PISA? An investigation of Western-born children of East Asian descent

John Jerrim

Institute of Education, University of London

October 2014

 

There does seem be an anomaly reported in the paper. Austrlian-born Chinese students' lead over other Australian students' math score have increased dramatically over the last decade: from 563 vs 528 in 2003, to 605 vs 499 in 2012.  The paper's author doesn't suggest an answer for this.  I suspect that it has to do the new influx of mainland Chinese immigrants in the last decade.  But since the Australian Chinese study subjects are supposedly born and educated in Australia, the sharp growth in the gap remains a puzzle. 

 

https://johnjerrim.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/australia_asia_paper.pdf

There is strong evidence that second-generation East Asian immigrants have managed to increase their lead over the native-Australian group. While PISA maths test scores of the latter have declined steadily from 528 in 2003 to 518 in 2006, 511 in 2009 and 499 in 2012, those of second-generation East Asian immigrants have risen from 565 in 2003, to 582 in 2006, 579 in 2009 and 605 in 2012.

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StChris

I didn't make it to the end of the second episode. While last week's wasn't great, at least it managed to maintain some pretence of being a documentary, but the whole show went completely "reality TV" yesterday with that (obviously staged) incident with the kettle. This show is scripted like a bad movie: the first third introduces the characters, and the second third manufactures some kind of crisis or conflict to create drama, setting the stage for a feel-good reconciliation in the final third (I'll be shocked if it doesn't end like this).

 

I hate the way the students (and the English maths teacher when he was observing the class) vocalise their thoughts. Do they normally do this, or only when they have a camera stuck in their face and a microphone nearby. It makes you wonder whether what they're saying are their own words or not. 

 

It's a shame really, as there is a good documentary to be made comparing the Chinese and western education systems. Unfortunately this isn't it.

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StChris

With that rant over, there were a couple of things I found worth thinking about in yesterday's episode.

 

The first was the flag raising ceremony. I don't know the situation in other western countries, but Britain really isn't nationalistic in that way, so I wasn't surprised that the kids felt a bit embarrassed by the whole thing. I don't remember receiving any kind of "patriotic education" when I was at school in the UK. Our history lessons aren't about how great our country is. I think some Chinese (whose own history lessons seem to emphasise their "5000 years of civilization" and the 百年国耻) are surprised I can admit that my own country was in the wrong regarding the Opium War.

 

I think there's a problem with the Chinese teachers' level of English. While it's impressive for non-native speakers, they lack the 口才 of native teachers. 

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