Let’s face it, if we take a look down memory lane back to our school days, most of us would probably remember the laughs we had with friends, rather than the fun, interesting lessons we had… if there were any. Teachers were boring, we had to learn pointless things and days just seemed to drag, but should we actually be rather thankful for the education we received?

A recent BBC documentary, ‘Are Our Kids Tough Enough? Chinese School’ took 50 year 9 pupils from Bohunt School in Liphook and had them be taught by Chinese teachers over the course of four weeks.

Instead of beginning their day at 9am (a time which many teenagers would already think was way too early), students had to start school at 7am in the morning. What’s more, instead of having 6-hour days, pupils had to stay at school for 12 hours, meaning they didn’t finish until 7pm every evening.

Instead of the interactive style of teaching we tend to promote here in England, the Chinese style of teaching consisted mostly of pupils simply copying down notes. Students also had to get used to cleaning the classroom themselves (something which is usually undertaken by employed cleaning staff here in the UK).

Headteacher at the school, Neil Strowger said that the experiment didn’t start off overly well, with students misbehaving as early as the second day, due to simply not used to being part of such a large cohort and learning such few subjects. However, gradually their behaviour began to improve, with some pupils reporting that they liked the fact lessons were similar to lectures.

So, how did the pupils find the experiment? Rosie Lunskey, a student at the school, said not being able to speak her mind was difficult. She also commented that she felt copying down notes was the only thing she was learning at times.

That said, Rosie did admit she was glad she took part in the experiment and said learning Chinese cookery and learning how to fan dance were particular highlights.

Source: BBC News

To watch the full programme, visit BBC iPlayer.

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