Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Following Failure For Education Future


We are currently enjoying the company of a Chinese Wwoofer who happens to be a teacher in Hong Kong. She has been granted a year's leave to travel and she came to New Zealand because she heard it has one of the best education systems in the world.

She was able to spend time in an Auckland primary school and she was very impressed with what she saw.  She explained that in Hong Kong and China the curriculum has narrowed because of a huge focus on literacy and numeracy. All their testing is focussed on these two areas and judgements are made about children, teachers and schools based on these assessments. Teachers in Hong Kong focus all their teaching on the assessments so that their children can meet the standards and the wider needs of children are forgotten.

What impressed our Wwoofer most was the independence and creativity of the New Zealand children she observed in our classrooms. Hong Kong children have few opportunities to create original artwork or be involved in creating music or dances. When everything is focussed on assessment, children lose confidence in trusting their own views and experimenting with ideas. Many Hong Kong parents are so concerned that their children won't achieve above the standards that they "pressure cook" them into learning how to read and write from as early as a year old.

"Our children don't really enjoy school," our Wwoofer explained "and the teachers just have to get on with implementing the Chinese Government's policies that most of us don't agree with." She was appalled to hear that our Government is becoming very much like her Government.

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