Readers’ Blog

Cinderella in Chinese education!

Popularity 10Viewed 5396 times 2015-4-25 12:04 |Personal category:Education|System category:Life| literature, education, Chinese, reading

The importance of reading literature and enjoying this activity often seems lost on many Chinese people. The answers I get from asking about what they read are either that they have no time to read or that they dislike reading. Why do they dislike reading? Their answers are nearly always the same.

“I had to read and study text books every day when I was at school. I don’t like reading now.”

Even the greatest Chinese philosophers and expert educationalists suggest that the first aim of education is to encourage a love of learning. There is therefore the possibility of something wrong with the way students are taught here.

Why should they read literature? Do stories have value compared with the reading and learning of facts (non-fiction)?  Studies of how children and adults learn show clearly that the most powerful way of learning is by experience; action and doing, experiment and taking risks. Yet there are so many important things to learn that cannot be learned in these ways; emotional response, feelings, problem solving, danger and relationships for example.  Research into this has demonstrated how deep reading that is rich in sensory detail and emotional and moral complexity is a valuable experience distinctive and different to a decoding of words or a learning of facts.  Avid readers of literature show a better understanding of others and can empathise with them and their needs. Their abilities to make good decisions are raised.  Young children who enjoy a parent reading stories to them show greater awareness, if not intelligence when they reach school age.

Literature is an art. Just as calligraphy, poetry and painting are valued by the Chinese, reading literature should surely also be valued and encouraged.  This is often done in China with children at an early age, but once they reach Primary school age the emphasis turns to non-fiction in order for students to pass tests. The best schools do seem to provide a limited opportunity to enjoy and investigate literature, usually concerning the Chinese classic stories but there is not enough “free” time and certainly limited time in lessons for students to simply sit and read as they get older. It is not a lack of reading material that is the problem. Chinese book shops are full of story books. I cannot read Chinese but I hope the stories are of good quality in terms of content, plot and language. Was there not a Chinese author who received a Nobel Prize or something recently for literature? There are moves in Chinese education to promote decision making, initiative and shared values. The value of literature contributes to these and should contribute to the future of China.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


Passing

Eggs
2

Flowers
1

Shake hands

Ray

Friends who just made a statement (3 Person)

Like 0 Share
8.03K

Report

Comment (0 comments)

facelist doodle Doodle board

You need to login to comment Login | register


TedM

Education management advisor and English teacher

Album

Recent comments

  • Trump and the second coming 2017-10-31 06:21

    TedM: I fear that you have not understood the poem. The second coming is not the coming of Jesus.... quite the opposite. It is the return of evil or Satan.  ...
    oh...

  • Dystopia has arrived. The DPRK issue. 2017-5-8 17:32

    You are clearly an intelligent and educated person with sound opinions. Most of this blog concerned the situation in North Korea and the threats it poses, particularly with reference to Trumps actions. I would welcome your comments on this, but please avoid insults. They are not constructive or sensible.

Star blogger

Anming

4124

views

Maierwei

2603

views

财神

4580

views

BACK TO THE TOP
Contact us:Tel: (86)010-84883548, Email: blog@chinadaily.com.cn
Blog announcement:| We reserve the right, and you authorize us, to use content, including words, photos and videos, which you provide to our blog
platform, for non-profit purposes on China Daily media, comprising newspaper, website, iPad and other social media accounts.