Quality of Education in China? Overnationalism?

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  1. airsuperiority
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    airsuperiority Senior Member

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    Introducing politics as curriculum in education

    First of all I don't know where to put this story to, so maybe the mods can decide.
    Second, I just feel I have to share this here because it absolutely horrifies me and disgusts me. In a sense it carries how I feel towards nationalism in China these days. It's too much. I don't mean to offend anyone or start a flamebaiting topic or story.
    Third, I hope this thread can be used to shred a new perspective to seeing nationalism in China and discussing it in a more neutral, objective, and critical point of view. A reason why we reject others criticizing China is because they tend to be bashers with nothing constructive and valid to offer, not to mention their intents are bad. However with us we know why we are here, and thus as adults and most of us bearing no ill-feelings to China AND having some understanding of China, we are in better positions to be proper critics.

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    this article is saying that a kindergarten in china is organizing an event for their kids during sports day where they simulate taking diaoyu island by military force. in canada kids are learning peace, acceptance, and tolerance. in contrast in china they're teaching their next generations about war, hatred, and death? this is outrageous. totally makes my stomach turn.

    It absolutely disgusts me to see this is what they are doing to kindergarten kids. Kids at that age should be happy, free of worries, innocent. The only things they should be learning should be love, acceptance, making simple moral judgements. The last thing they should EVER touch will be political. Let the adults deal with it.

    Of course I anticipate some of the members may say that kids these days are playing with iPads and first person shooting games and have access to the internet and are getting cheeky, but that still doesn't mean they should be taught by us on these issues, and nor does it mean they have developed mature moral conscience yet on these matters. Finally, political views should first emerge with a basic foundation of philosophy and moral judgements. This is because politics is a means, and politics without a goal and moral guidance will be antisocial.

    and for me, i blame this on the over-nationalism as well as the institutes for failing to recognize the importance of proper messages that they have the duty to teach to the kids. I will not attribute this to the entire country because its just the decision of a particular kindergarten, but I do raise my concerns that somehow such materials can even be permitted to be run is disgusting, and even more alarming is how there's a substantial group who feels it's ok, including parents. That just shows either how pervasive the sentiments had spread to, and how those people are incapable of making these distinctions
     
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  2. solarz
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    solarz Senior Member

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    You're overreacting to this.

    The PLA has always been a role model in Mainland early-child education. When I was in grade one, all the boys wanted to be a PLA soldier. Playing mock-battles has always been a perfectly common activity on the playground. I remember that I was very surprised when I first moved to Canada that kids here didn't play these games.

    Reading your post, I feel that you are injecting your own bias into this. To you, the PLA means war, hatred, and death. Well, to these kids, the PLA means courage and self-sacrifice.

    Here's a question, do you think the Canadian Military means war, hatred, and death? I'd be very surprised if you do. So why does it disgust you so much that a school would encourage kids to mimic the military? Just because they're the PLA? Or because the idea of "military" automatically conjures up images of death and suffering to you? Or perhaps a little bit of both?

    There is a culture in Canada to divorce politics from everyday life. There's this feeling that politics is for politicians, evening news, and elections. Political discussions should not take place in work places or among casual acquaintances.

    It's a useful adaptation for a country where people hold all sorts of different political views. This allows people of different, and sometimes opposing, political views to enjoy each other's company.

    However, you have to remember that there's no such thing as "different political views" in China. There is only one political view, and people are expected to adhere to it. The end result is that since people in China don't argue over politics, there is no need to divorce politics from everyday life. In fact, politics is an integral part of both workplaces and schools.

    The point is, this has nothing to do with nationalism, it's just a difference in culture. In Canada, politics is a dirty word and kids shouldn't play with guns. In China, politics is a part of everyday life and toy guns are just toys.
     
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  3. AssassinsMace
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    AssassinsMace Senior Member

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    I think it's purely relative. Is it in all schools that teach that? I don't think so. It just looks like American kids playing Cowboys and Indians. I've always heard the story about Vancouver when the influx of Hong Kong money started flowing in that created what Vancouver is today. Canadians didn't like this invasion and would posts signs stating what buildings had Hong Kong money involved as to identify which ones Canadians should not do business. You haven't heard something like happening in the US in decades. Canadians brag how they're supposedly more progressive than Americans. Apparently not in all areas. Is Hong Kong money evil money? So what was the reason they would be afraid of money from Hong Kong? So what makes Canada any different? And they have those same fears about Mainland Chinese investment in Canada today. I know the excuse will be it's from communist China. Hong Kong was never communist. So what's in common?

    I can point to plenty of examples but people will make their excuses on what makes it different. Is it only teaching in school that's the problem. I remember seeing on the news when Rambo First Blood Part 2 came out in theaters, some kids after watching it savagely beat some Vietnamese they saw on the street. That's why it's all relative. I wouldn't want to see Westerners teaching their version of history to Chinese kids. That's just as damaging.
     
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  4. airsuperiority
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    airsuperiority Senior Member

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    Good points, and thanks for reminding me of my bias. Actually I possess no ill feelings of the PLA, and in fact might even see them acting as professional and restrained as HKPF, who I also put in a very high regard. My disgusts is to do with instilling politics and militarism into children at such an age, when they had barely even begin to grasp the understandings of basic moral ideas, judgements of right and wrong, etc. why should kids be taught violence and politics? That is my concern. Furthermore, bringing kids into politics or teaching them to think of politics in a certain way is equivalent to exploiting the innocence of their minds. They have yet to learn or understand anything yet, and already tell them how to think, instilling our political views? And what's even more alarming is the entire theme of using violence and force to solve a problem and to get what you think is yours. Before diplomacy, a gesture of civilized manner of talking and working things out and for compromise. Furthermore, if what is taught today is already so extreme, what prevents teachers from teaching them Japanese people are evil, and that the CCP is god? There is a need to teach moral rights and judgment so they can think independently, but politics are preferences and beliefs.
    If today canadian schools are teaching to hate communists, I will sign the petition to withdraw such content too. It therefore has absolutely nothing to do with PLA; it's the fact that forcing our political preferences on others, on the innocent ones, the kids, that is unacceptable.
     
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  5. airsuperiority
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    airsuperiority Senior Member

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    You are right. My analogy isn't to brag or credit that it's purely Canadian way; when I had my preschool in HK it's same as Canada. I won't even be surprised if Japan, S.Korea, Taiwan, or many nations(blue or not), will not teach these materials to their children. My point is that instilling this into school, especially at such an early age, regardless of any political views, is like you've said, just as damaging. The only thing that makes this particular ordeal sickening than usual is because it goes to the next level of teaching using force. Hatred should never be taught as an encouragement in schools. Teaching kids to role play as child soldiers is horrific. Many children in war-torn states have no access to education, war-raped, mutilated, given drugs, forced to kill, etc etc, and would only dream for an intact family and drop their guns so they can go to school, and here we are, in a society relatively peace, teaching the opposite. If you have children, what will you teach them? What do you want them to learn? What do you want to gift them the most for bringing them into this world? Hatred and dispute?
     
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  6. solarz
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    solarz Senior Member

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    You're making a lot of false assumptions here.

    First, when you talk about "militarism", I think about one country invading or bombing another. The PLA does not advocate invading any foreign nation, nor does it talk about "regime change". The defense of the Diaoyu Islands is just that: defense. Note that those kids are not re-enacting battles, but simply the planting of the Chinese flag on the island. What violence is there, aside from the violence that you yourself are projecting onto the activity?

    Second, why do you think teaching kids politics is "exploiting" their minds, but teaching them about "God" is not? When I first came to Canada, I went to a catholic public school. I had to attend Masses with the rest of the school. This was in grade two and three.

    And what about those "morality" classes? So Canadians believe that helping people and giving to charities are good things to do. Well, the Mainland Chinese believe that having the courage to sacrifice one's life to repel invaders is also a good thing to teach to kids. Remember that only 70 years ago, the Chinese were being raped and slaughtered by a brutal invader. This is something that the Chinese people will not, *should not*, ever forget. I'll bet you anything that the Israelis also teach their kids the same thing.

    Third, on what basis can you say that current Chinese teachings are extreme? The fact is, Chinese teachers are *not* teaching kids that Japanese are evil, and the era of Mao-worshipping is long gone. So I don't see how any of that is relevant.

    You cannot teach children to think critically. That doesn't happen in any country. When was the last time a Canadian primary school, or even secondary school, taught students how to dissect propaganda? As I remember, teachers would be glad if we just read a newspaper or magazine once in a while.

    Education is all about forcing adult preferences on our kids. Stop deluding yourself into believing otherwise. Kids like to play and believe in magic. Education forces them to learn math and science so they can become productive citizens. Why is that any more acceptable than teaching kids to defend their country?
     
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  7. airsuperiority
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    airsuperiority Senior Member

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    1. Militarism is from the idea of giving them toy guns, putting them military uniforms, teaching them to plant the national flag. I can let the 3rd part get by as just patriotism, which isn't an issue, but everything else: toy guns, military uniforms, are. It can't get any more overt than that in the symbolism. If that isn't a symbol of militarism, I don't know what is. It doesn't matter if it's re-enacting or not; the theme itself already fulfills them all.

    2. I never mentioned the PLA the whole time.

    3. You might have gone to a catholic public school, but I didn't. There are plenty of public schools in Canada that don't teach God. Also I never said anything about "teaching God isn't exploiting" neither, although I'm not sure if going to a Catholic school can be considered an exploitation. Furthermore, if your school had made it clear it's going to be a Catholic school, then it's pretty given that we all expect what the theme is going to be. The same thing goes with private schools that dictates uniform, military schools that dictate military traditions, certain colleges that dictate certain cultures, etc. Those are given, and applicants who applied could expect a certain theme. As for the current incident, if I'm correct that school is just an ordinary kindergarten, not any particular Party schools or military-themed related institutions.

    4. Explaining an action does not make the action legitimate and acceptable. This is something I learned early on because my major in Psychology talks a lot about understanding human minds, including mass murderers like Jeffrey Dunham. Sure, he had psychopathic disorder (DSM-diagnosed), and he struggled for a long time because he knew what he's doing was wrong and he even experienced cognitive dissonance when his acts of fetish conflicted with his moral compass(yes he knew what was considered right or wrong, as his family had taught him certain moral dictions), however as much as we can have the hearts of sympathy and sympathize him for his hard life and his victims, it won't make his actions any less wrong just simply now we understood what he's done. One in control of their own behaviors should be morally responsible for their own actions. Treat institutes and states as individual actors, and their own actions are their own burdens of responsibilities. As HK-Canadian, I grew up in HK in my early days, and I learned about Opium War and the 8 Nations Alliances and all the humiliations and things, but this isn't the ticket to do anything we want. Why Diaoyu and West Bank remains so contending to this day has to do with neither sides willing to yield nor compromise. The problem had already strained the relationships from both sides, destroyed opportunities to work together, jobs, properties, lives, progresses, advances, and pretty much serious butterfly effects that stemmed from the sins of our fathers. As the future generation, the only way to end conflict is either to cooperate and work it out together like civil people and descendants of a proud civilization, or treat your competitor as enemy and overpowering them with muscles, leaving destruction in its wake, causing greater enmity, disrespect and bitterness between both sides, more revenge, more distrust, and more destruction to lives and families, more misunderstandings. It's unfortunate that this school teaches the hard method to its students. Furthermore, I even say, is there even a need to teach militarism to children? If they grow up to love their country, every enlistment will be voluntary. Furthermore, teaching that stuff is absolutely ridiculous. If HK, Taiwan, S. Korea, Japan today experiences invasions, citizens will bear arms voluntarily without truly needing propaganda or slogans. This national identity is everywhere, particularly when one's way of live is threatened, social identity is threatened, and people will act on their own. Propaganda only rings the ears, but most will make these choices from their hearts. NO education needed. With that said, I don't really see a need to teach such. In addition, your explanation, I tell you man, is the more advanced stages of altruism. But altruism and sacrificing self for others must first occur with the teaching of altruism, good citizenship, good civil duties, and most of all, proper right of heart, code of honor, and sense of moral fiber and duty from within. The issues of teaching these to them at such an early age is that they have yet even understand moral concepts properly, according to their developmental stages. I can go on forever just on this alone.

    5. The extreme I'm referring to is introducing and role-playing military conquest, and instilling political views at an age the kids even barely understand basic morality. And while I'm glad the old Mao-ist eras are gone, I can only hope they don't teach anti-Japanese hatred to the kids. I won't be surprised if some teachers do.

    6. Actually you're very wrong about that you can't teach kids think critically. Throughout my early education careers, often in the textbook I'll see questions such as "List 3 reasons why XXXX is right? List 3 reasons why XXXX is wrong? Who is right? Who is wrong? Why? How can you improve it? What will you do, and why?" Questions like these may seem like nothing, but in fact these force you to think from both sides of the perspective. Even comparative essays serve this purpose. My secondary school history teacher taught us how to dissect primary sources, secondary sources, examine for bias, and we even did exercises of reading articles. Even how academia's requirement of using various sources or specifically academic articles, teaching us how to write papers, etc, are all part of critical thinking. Earlier this year during March I was taking a mandatory writing course where we were to examine journal articles and critique them, examining critically of the researcher's bias, research methods, potential confounds,etc. One of the articles I argued again was Hare's definition of psychopath, and Hare is a very well-known researcher. Even this semester we studied criticisms of Freud, and after I finish replying to you, I have to hand in a paper where I argue against Rule Utilitarianism. As you can see, these are ALL critical thinking.

    7. Lastly, your final sentences only represent your personal views. Math is for problem solving tool, Science is for understanding the world better and interests and preparing for future career, but how about politics?
     
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  8. Lezt
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    Lezt Junior Member

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    Wait, so you are against boy scouts? and letting children to shoot real guns - like they do in the USA or Europe? I think you are discounting the valuable lesson of discipline and responsibilities these activities give.
    Wait again, you are against play Chess, Weiqi-Go, Chinese Chess, Animal Chess, Chinese Checkers and a whole assortment of board games and card games like Magic The Gathering, Risk, etc. which very nature is military conquest and also by its very nature trains the mind in logical thinking for kids?
     
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  9. airsuperiority
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    airsuperiority Senior Member

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    Are boy scouts considered military? Do boy scouts carry guns which pit them in a role-play of war scenario and conquest? And even then, how old do boy scouts begin? Discipline and teamwork is one thing, but military role-play for children which carries the theme of military force is another.

    All those things you've mentioned are strategy and competitive-based, and children only begin to play those after they reach a certain age, usually toddler age of approximately 7. This is when they now begin to possess the brainpower, rationale, and logic to comprehend more advanced situation. That, in Piaget's definition, is called Concrete Operations

    Concrete Operational Stage of Cognitive Development

    Now tell me, just how old do you think those kids in the photos are from that Chinese link when they had to climb through lines and carry guns?

    And your attempt is futile because boardgames are meant to be competitive AND non-political. Not to mention your strawman is very fallible. I'm referring to political and military all along, and you brought in something completely irrelevant into the equation.

    People shan't be instilled to love their country; they should do so from their will. Learning without judgement and true understanding is just rote memory, and how can one judge something that s/he hasn't even develop a concept of? the only thing that will occur is blind acceptance, brainwash, without a thought of their own. and just how do you enforce a learning of something they don't even have an idea of? a grasp of? why should they be thinking about their country when the only thing surrounding their life is mostly their family and peers?

    If today instead of China this story is about Al-Qaida, some African states, or some Western states where this is occurring, I won't be surprised there will be condemnations by many members. And in fact it's occurring in Africa as child soldiers, is a serious humanitarian concern.

    As much as I'm pro-China and support my own people, I am not afraid to point out what is wrong, not defend and embrace everything they do. Improvements start by being your own critics and recognizing what's wrong. Don't leave it for your neighbor next door to do your job because all they do is hate and bash uncritically; only you can rationally criticize with a good intent for your people on whether it's something that should be looked into. If we don't, no one else will. A China where people think independently is what China needs, not blindly supporting and defending everything no matter black or white. If even we can't uphold this responsibility, China will never improve, and reforms are pointless.
     
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  10. JsCh
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    I think it is just a children game. I do not think it is a regular activity that would have an impact like you fear.
    On the larger picture, yes, Chinese is a paternalistic culture. We value our heritage. Thousand year old wisdom have to be pass on to our offspring and they are very hard to explain to children, so Chinese parent tend to drill it into their children and so do the formal education system. Chinese is also a collective culture, therefore would prefer tradition and unity of thought. Teaching kids to be patriotic is actually good for the kid. The kid would one day needs to grow up and it is good for them to fit in. I actually think that Chinese education is good at producing balance adolescence to become productive member of society. Yes they are not as creative or adventurous as western educated kid, but you cannot have everything and nothing is perfect.
    I feels that to assume Chinese people as some kind of brainwash automaton without critical thinking is really an insult to Chinese people. In fact, from what I can gather from the Chinese forum, I can see that the Chinese people today have a bullshit antenna as big as Arecibo. They are a very cynical bunch and trust virtually nobody. I think this has to do with Chinese being sold ideology after ideology and being rudely awaken again and again by the hard fact of life. Today Chinese trust no form of authority. Not the politician, not the professional, not the entrepreneur, not the opinion leader. In fact, I would say that the group that has some shred of credibility left is the scientist and surprise, surprise -- the PLA soldier.
    Now how do you explain that phenomenon? Since everyone of those people I am sure has gone through years and years of patriotic and political education. I think maybe you should give Chinese people a little bit more credit, to compete and survive in a nation of billion require quite a lot of thinking!
    And in my opinion, Chinese education is doing just fine. The current policy is to put an emphasize on fairness, to make the system equal opportunity to all. The government would not attempt to do too much on education quality but concentrate on what the government authority is good at doing. There is a policy lean towards bringing the educational hardware of poorer area to be better compare with the cities.
     
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