[Should Experiments With Home Schooling Be Allowed?]Be With You

发布时间:2020-03-26 来源: 幽默笑话 点击:

     MORE THAN ABC: Children of Meng Mu Tang read in unison   In July this year, a controversial new school featuring traditional Chinese education, called Meng Mu Tang, came under the spotlight. Unusual in the current primary schooling in China, the private full-time school based in Shanghai differed in both teaching methods and content. “The students, aged between 4 and 12, are taught to recite Confucian classics,” said Lu Liwei, one of the school’s founders. “No lectures, no simple English words, no arithmetic. Five tutors are assigned to educate these children, much as the ancestors did for thousands of years before the founding of the People’s Republic.” The school system is known as sishu in Chinese.
  Each class is two hours, far beyond the standard 40 minutes. The students, separated by age, spend 80 percent of their time in self-study, reciting the classics, such as the Analects of Confucius, sonnets of William Shakespeare, and even learning calculus.
  The Meng Mu Tang style can be traced back hundreds of years, when people lived in extended families of at least three generations. Wealthier people, who were capable of covering the expenses, would invite tutors home to educate their children. Focusing on the recitation of classics, the students were not required to understand all that they read.
  In recent years, as the value of Chinese traditional culture has been restored, privately run schools focus on the subjects of tea ceremonies, Chinese art, calligraphy and ancient music. Students registered in full-time sishus will have little to do with the formal schooling system.
  However, the Compulsory Education Law of China clearly states that Chinese children must enter state-approved schools to receive compulsory education at the age of six.
  The presence of alternatives, while an interesting option, remains a controversial issue. There are two major problems: One is whether the alternative could fulfill the nine years’ compulsory education, and another is whether the educational status will be accepted by higher education institutions.
  PHYSICAL STRENGTH: Instead of regular exercises in public schooling, the students of Meng Mu Tang build their bodies through yoga and swimming
  Shanghai’s education authorities were quick to shut down the Meng Mu Tang, which they believe contradicts the rules of compulsory education. In late August, officials from the Ministry of Education gave their support to the Shanghai Government.
  In response, the Meng Mu Tang said it is a school voluntarily set up by parents in favor of modern home schooling, which could help students foster their sense of patriotism as well. The school is preparing for a lawsuit, saying it would apply for an administrative reconsideration and sue the local education authorities for depriving children of their right to receive education at home.
  Private schooling has flaws
  Zhang Wen (Deputy Director of the Legal Affairs Office, Ministry of Education): Traditional culture education should not conflict with compulsory education. Legitimate schooling is for compulsory education.
  We encourage the passing down and promotion of tradition and will not interfere in parents’ decision to send their children to study Confucian classics in their spare time.
  A full-time private school like Meng Mu Tang is too formal and prevents students from interacting with their peers and learning communication skills. That is detrimental to their growth.
  Wei Wenbiao (commentator of Western Economic Daily): Those in favor of Meng Mu Tang also favor diversification of education content and teaching methods. Nonetheless, the diversification should be based on free choices by individuals. It is not clear if all the students at sishu are there at their own free will; perhaps some are forced by their parents. Of course parents are entitled to make decisions for younger children, but we must remember that by the same token the state reserves the right to interfere when parents are wrong.
  We stress the importance of protecting the lawful rights of the young. To receive compulsory education helps them fully develop social competence as qualified citizens. Therefore, the right to receive compulsory education for children should also be protected.
  A possible option
  Su Songxing (youth development expert): Meng Mu Tang is an embryo of today’s schooling system, but never the less controversial as a home education alternative. On one hand, if it is illegal, it no longer remains a personal issue. Though some regard the compulsory education system as unsatisfactory, they cannot freely break the law. On the other hand, traditional education lacks innovative thought.
  It is a bold move and I feel a pilot program should be carried out after revision of legal documents. As home education is on the rise in Western countries, it is worth our consideration. The estimates of the U.S. National Center for Education Statistics show some 50,000 children received home education in 1985. In 2003 that number had jumped to 2.1 million, at an average growth of 20 percent annually. Home schooling in the United States, or home education in European countries, is a pattern based on the family unit. The children are students, while the parents are educators. Home schooling is different since it is family oriented. Teaching materials may be sourced from public schools, institutions, community centers or from relatives and neighbors. Compared with formal schooling, it will help the children develop their emotions and cognition, which will in turn encourage their individuality.
  Escaping from pressure exerted by their peers, the home-educated children have opportunities to communicate with different groups, including adults. Meanwhile, children are more adaptable in a family environment, in which their talents will be inspired rather than depressed. It should be stated, however, that government departments are responsible for supervising the parents to ensure children receive what they need to be healthy both physically and mentally.
  The newly emerging home schooling system in China allows us to diversify the nation’s education system within a legal framework. Thus, the closure of Meng Mu Tang is conditional, and does not really indicate the termination of home education in the country.
  It could work
  Gu Jun (sociologist from Shanghai University): It is a good idea. Parents involved in this system have reached an agreement on education and have the best interests of their children at heart, especially the development of their individuality. The more attention they pay to the process, the more effective the results will be.
  Wu Ming (columnist at Xin’an Evening News): It is interesting to note in this case that education officials did not comment on the rejuvenation of sishu, specifically why it has attracted such a big following in a short space of time and why it is challenging the existing educational system.
  It is said that private schools seem to be weak in cultivating the team spirit advocated by modern society, but why has this become the focus of the issue?
  I think private schooling provides a reference for the existing education system. Education reform is dynamic and can only benefit from more options. Personal experience of modern education makes the parents send their children to private schools, ironically exposing the flaws of individuality-neglecting education.
  Shu Shengxiang (freelancer): In my view, every citizen should be free to choose what education to receive and how to go about receiving it. As there is no current stipulation that forbids home education, it might be possible to exercise this choice. As seen by international practice, tolerance and freedom are the mainstream of this trend. Our exam-oriented education system has trapped so many students in being rigid and narrow in thought. More innovative holistic education is more suitable for all-around development and far less restrictive. While Meng Mu Tang is also not exactly all-around education, it is a step in the right direction and does give a kick in the pants to the contemporary education system.
  Dear Readers,
  “Forum” is a column that provides a space for varying perspectives on contemporary Chinese society. In each issue, “Forum” will announce the topic for an upcoming issue. We invite you to submit personal viewpoints (in either English or Chinese).省略


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