Week 8 Blogging

Education is considered as the most powerful weapon which people could use to change the world. However, eduction usually related to a specific age range, typically young people. Also, education is often a passive acceptance. That is why personally I prefer the word “learning” (self-education), which is more active, voluntary and considered as a life-long work. Taling about passive and active learning, differ from the U.S., students can pick whatever subjects they like and learn about them, but in Chinese, we all be educated on the same subjects with almost same context textbooks in the entire country. We call it “stuffing the duck” or “teaching to the test” in China. Historically, it is an educational method which was created by a Soviet Union educator. When the People’s Republic of China was established, China did not have a well-developed educational system, so the government adopts the duck-stuffing educational method to China, and this system is still using until nowadays. Another educational method, which was used in China, is elicitation method. The elicitation method was created by Confucius because he thinks every student has their own interests and talent. Educator should find out the best teaching way to educate different individuals. However, because of the population issue in China, the elicitation method is hard to be used for millions of students, it is easier for everyone to have the same education context. When I was in Chinese schools, we have to go to school before 7 a.m. When I was in high-school, we went home around 10 p.m., because of the tons of homework and tests. The goal of K-12 education is getting a high score in the college-entrance test, which is similar to SAT or ACT, but usually, you can only take it once in your life, so nobody wants to screw it up. This is how I learned when I was a student in China, Most of the knowledge came from the textbooks, and you do not really have time to explore other kinds of stuff. To be honest, this duck-stuffing method is not totally bad. Because of this method, we have many good scientists and engineers now and helped the infrastructure development, such as high-speed train, great online shopping system, aerospace technologies, agriculture technologies, etc. However, besides of these natural sciences, the social sciences were not developed very well because people are always focusing on the physical living.

Compare with Asian culture (we actually call our own culture as the eastern culture), western culture (we usually consider as the European and American cultures as Asian people) and western education is more open-mind and allow students to choose what they want to learn about. However, in somehow, it leads the basic natural science education lacker than Chinese education nowadays. For example, the American students do not have better calculating skills because of the usage of the calculators. Not every high school students need to deeply learn about physics, chemistry, and biology, but instead, they have their opportunity to learn psychology, sociology, and so on. Since I did my undergrad at an American university, I got much more chance to study a little bit of everything, not just natural science. Because of this, I realized how lacking the social science study and education back in China. I won’t even know there is a profession called social work in the world. So, I would say that the western education helped me open the door of a broader knowledge widely. However in somehow, because I want to explore more subjects, it makes me do not have enough time or I should say I can deep dive into every one of them as what we did in Chinese education.

As what Dr. Meyer talked in her speech, the difference between ho’olohe (to listen) and ho’olono (to hear) is ho’olono is using every part of your body to discover what you hear, not just what you listened by your ear, same as nana (to look) and – ‘ike (to see *). Chinese education is more about listening, and use the knowledge you listened to make things happened, like build up a house with using engineering calculating. Western education is more about hear and then think about it deeply, like the several movements about human rights, women’s rights, etc. One of my non-western ways, duck-stuffing way, lets me think more physically, and materially. But of course, the duck-stuffing way is not the only educational method in Chinese history. As I talked about Confucius’s teaching method, personalized education is more helpful for the long-term personal development. I always trying to find out what is my interest at the certain time. The interest doesn’t have to stay at the same all the time, it may change because of the experience. At the beginning, I studied biomedical science because I want to save lives. However, I changed my mind to help the community and save lives by changing minds and thoughts, so I switched to communication. After then, I find out social work is more hands-on these helps, so I turned into social work profession. I gained a lot of knowledge and thoughts from my life experiences. These experiences are really personalized for me.

Place-based knowledge is important for the practice of social work because things get changed in different places. They do not stay at the same in different place. Common sense may not be really common and may not stay right in different places. For example, August is summer time will be wrong in the Southern Hemisphere; men are always more powerful will be wrong in Matrilineality. Furthermore, not all women can cook; not every black man is good at Rap; not every Chinese can practice Kong-fu. Banking system may not help some people because they do not save money in the bank, or some area on the earth, people do not have a bank. It is more important to learn the specific place deeply about its own culture, population, and natural facts to have better place-back knowledge. Then you can have a more clear idea about what the problems this place have and how can social workers to help.

(Sorry, I thought someone post the Chapter 6 on their blog, but I haven’t found it. the last question needs to be answerd later.)

4 thoughts on “Week 8 Blogging”

  1. Your experience with Chinese education is very enlightening and I appreciate hearing about it. I agree that there is no right way to learn and that for some people, they learn differently. Perhaps certain subjects are better to learn using the stuffing the duck method than others. That being said, even more important than “learning” is “thinking” and “doing”. We can be taught something that is not true, if we do not have the ability to think! Also, we can learn, but if we cannot do, then what is the point? I like social work because I believe it is about thinking and doing! Perhaps you can see my point?

  2. I cannot imagine going to school for so long each day- I am really impressed! One part of your blog in particular made me reflect. You mention that the Chinese government developed the “duck-stuffing method” to address the lack of universal education in the country. I think this brings up an interesting point about who is determining educational policy, and how to balance a localized and cultural-based curriculum with the expansion of access to education. As you discuss, China’s expansion of the national educational system has boosted the economy and led to the development of many competitive technologies. I’m curious if this system is benefitting everyone, and benefitting them equally? In the U.S.’s context, I wonder how the government can continue to promote these benefits of education without imposing a certain style of education that privileges some while oppressing others (especially because of the lack of local control/context)? I don’t have the answers, but I think it’s something that is interesting to think about and debate.

    What was your experience liking transitioning from the Chinese “listening” education system to the more “open-minded” system in the U.S.? Was there an adjustment period for you? How did you learn to adapt to these changes?

  3. Thank you for sharing your experience with us all Lin! I had never heard of the terms ‘stuffing the duck’ or ‘duck stuffing’. I think that pedagogy is effective depending on the person the learning style of that person. I can not imagine being pumped with education from the crack down until after the sun has set. It makes me think about how the grass is not always greener on the other side when it comes to certain topics. Your comment about the education system made me look at the bigger picture of the American educational prototype. While I am not a fan of it, I do like that we have a bit more freedom to explore topics that interest us outside of the classroom. I agree with you 100% on placed-based knowledge. I think if we had placed-based knowledge incorporated into the fabric of education everywhere then we could form a better world.

  4. Hey Lin! As always, I enjoyed reading your post this week and hearing your perspective. Your writing about the education system in China is extremely interesting, especially learning about the “duck-stuffing” method and Confucius’ “elicitation” method. I did not know much about either. I thought your comparison of Chinese education versus Western education was really thoughtful — you really thought about the pros and cons of both. I can imagine that studying for the test in China was very stressful, but I can see how it can produce good results and ensure that students are all learning the same thing throughout the country. Sometimes I worry about that in our society, since there is so much differentiation in different schools and school districts. For example, last year I worked in a 3rd grade classroom and the students were essentially learning the same thing that they did the year before, and didn’t even have science or social studies classes! Compare this to a wealthier district and the students are likely learning different or more advanced topics. That was just something your blog made me think about. Thanks for posting!

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