An antidote to the so-called Chinese way of teaching

As I said before, I don’t think there is a single “Chinese way of teaching”. In addition, the Chinese ways of teaching are also changing. However, there are characters that are commonly agreed to be associated with Chinese ways of teaching: emphasis on discipline and order, rely primarily on repetition and memorization.

In the discussion provoked by the BBC documentary, “Are our kids touch enough: Chinese school”, I’ve seen a lot of people praising these characters. Well, here’s an antidote to the obsession of academic achievement:

Mind you, I don’t see this as a full argument against Chinese way of teaching. I’d love to get more cases like Gillian Lynne from Mr. Ken Robinson. However, this talk at least challenges us, reminds us to look further, wider, beyond academic achievement, in education. I’ll provide a Chinese translation to the transcript in another post.

Advantages of Chinese Teaching

OK, I use this title just to bring attention.

After watching all 3 episodes of the BBC documentary, Are our kids tough enough, Chinese School,  in my opinion, there is one aspect of British kids that really needs to improve: coping with competition and failure.

When British kids were in the PE class, they were very upset that they might fail. Philippa actually sobbed on not passing one item. And she said:

“I just don’t think comparing yourself to others is a good, healthy life style.”


Philippa is not alone. In the 1st episode, we saw another boy sobbed during PE class.

Well, I have to agree with Philippa that it is not a healthy life style. But competition is part of life. Ranking students all the time with different measures is of course too much, but exposing them to a certain dose of competition is essential to their development. To Philippa, I’d say it’s equally not healthy if young people are so scared of competition that they sob on a failure in just one PE preparation. I don’t want my daughter to be so fragile.

So this is the advantage of Chinese teaching. Put all the drawbacks aside, this is probably one thing Britain should learn from Chinese teaching: To get the kids used to competition.


BBC的纪录片“Are out Kids Tough Enough? Chinese School”,中文名“我们的孩子足够坚强吗?中式学校”一下子就火了朋友圈了。上网一搜,各种评论铺天盖地。赶快花了两个小时找到看看,免得落后时代太远。下面的我的感想和评论:










Tang Bohu
cover image of story book “Tang Bohu”.

文:范钧宏 吕瑞明 任梅

Man Jiang Hong
Cover page of storybook “Man Jiang Hong”

文:李源 任宝贤
图:韩亚洲 范世评

Ba Xie Guo Hai
Cover page of story book “Ba Xie Guo Hai”

文:吴晗 李大发