Friday, July 09, 2010

It's Different This Year

Traditionally, Chinese education has been a solemn, structured affair. Respect for teachers is high; student autonomy is low; and there's a big focus on memorization. Teachers lecture, and the students regurgitate what we say. But the kids are different now, and the system is changing.

Four years ago, I taught at the University of Shandong at Weihai. Apart from a few new buildings, the place looks the same. But there's a different feel to the place. The students are much more willing to question, to speak up. And they're being encouraged to be creative.

This was particularly apparent at the recent American and European Cultural festival where students were asked to create posters and skits representing Western Culture.

Above: Poster from the exhibition; Joe and I receive a present from Santa Claus.
Below: Students dressed as Napoleon and Josephine; Young men in cowboy hats dancing while singing "Yankee Doodle."

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