Chinese students may be more motivated to learn than their U.S. counterparts. The superintendent notes, “They prefer to finish college as soon as possible, which leads to many students skipping grades if they can .... Students feel that diligently studying after the regular school day is more important than sports, activities, jobs or free time. Strong test performance is believed to be the only way for students to go to college and have a successful career.”
The superintendent admired two Chinese learning concepts. He reflects, “We deal with a lot of stuff that takes away from our core mission of educating a child. There are always things … that may consume our time that have little to do with” education, such as new reforms, additional legislation, even bus rides. By contrast, the Chinese school day “is extremely focused on the child learning the material. I would like to see us change more toward that.” Roberts adds, “We have a great educational system. But great can always be better.”
While Chinese students are not exposed to extracurricular activities (too busy with homework!), the Batesville resident likes their practice of daily physical education, music and art periods. “I would love” that because active and creative learning benefits the mind and body. “It allows you to be better in the classroom.”
Roberts wonders, “How is that possible and is it important enough” for time to be added to the school day to allow for more classes? “We have so many factors that drive our decisions,” including after-school sports, clubs and work.
Did the schools have 1:1 technology, with a device for each student? No was the answer. “Technology was not prevalent. I would see a lab. They are conservative with everything they do.” Nothing is wasted in the nation of 1.35 billion, three times America’s population. Only a few street and home lights are on at night. “Nobody has dryers. You hang your clothes outside to dry.” At separate meals, the administrator was served a whole turtle and a whole eel.