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Where there is a will, there is a way.

 
 
 

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年过半百,经历坎坷.少年遇"文革",下乡八载,虽历经磨难,唯斗志不减,农耕间隙自学不辍,终守得云开日出,考进大学.大学毕业后先后经历了中学执教,国企管理,外企高管,最后回归重执教鞭.目前在家精心培养有志掌握英语的中小学生. 我最大的愿望就是看到孩子学有所成,桃李天下.

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我新发表的文章《多样性滋养创新》  

2014-04-07 10:16:58|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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前言:中国即将推出双规制的高考:学术类和技术类高考。这是正确的选择。过去千军万马过独木桥的高考制度对于中国经济是极为不利的。现在企业缺乏技术人才,而学了无用专业的毕业生却泛滥成灾,他们找不到合适工作。高考要改革,中国的教育要改革,但如何改革却一直没有共识。有人痛斥中国的应试教育,填鸭式教育,主张全面采用美式教育体系,培养孩子的创新能力。有人认为中国教育重视基础知识,为长远发展奠定扎实基础,不能扬短避长去盲目模仿别人的体制。

我认为,不能抛弃所谓的“死记硬背”,在任何国家,优秀的学生都必须死记硬背才能掌握知识,一个连基本知识都不懂的人能有什么创新,鬼都不信。但,只有死记硬背肯定是不行的。要给学生更多选择,让他们按照自己的兴趣爱好去尽情发挥发展,这才是我们应该走的道路。

Diversity breeds innovation

Wu Guangqiang

 AS a teacher, I have been an ardent advocate of reform of China’s gaokao, or the college entrance examination, and China’s education system. But, unlike some other howlers who negate the value of both, my appeal is to better them by offering students more diversified choices. 

Now, things are moving in the right direction. The Education Ministry has announced that China will soon unveil a reform plan for the gaokao, whereby technical capability and academic aptitude will be examined in two separate testing systems. 

There have been keen debates over China’s education system, on which the gaokao is based. The panegyrists praise it for its emphasis on preparing students with a solid foundation of knowledge, and they proudly cite the example of the outstanding performances of the students from Shanghai on the recent Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), a triennial international survey that aims to evaluate education systems worldwide by testing the skills and knowledge of 15-year-old students. In 2012, Shanghai retained its title as top achiever on PISA tests, ranking first on reading, math and science. Shanghai first topped the PISA tests in 2009. The U.K. ranked 26th and the U.S. 36th in 2012. 

Now, proponents have fresh ammunition to support their opinions. Some 60 Shanghai math teachers will be recruited to teach in the U.K. as part of the U.K. Government’s math improvement program. 

Critics, however, did not think much of the results of such tests as PISA, calling it “inaccurate” and encouraging rote-learning and strangling creative thinking. The fact that Shanghai students did 13.8 hours of homework per week, the most among all the participants, detractors pointed out, showed the seemingly good performance was but a result of passive learning and mechanical training rather than self-conscious study. Many students lost their learning enthusiasm after they entered university because of the ennui and repellence to further study acquired during prolonged passive learning. That’s why China has produced far fewer creative scientists and entrepreneurs, critics concluded. In addition, they used the outcome of the latest Intel STS (Intel Science Talent Search) as an argument. 

Intel STS, now sponsored by Intel, the world’s largest chipmaker and tireless innovator, is America’s oldest and most prestigious pre-college science competition. It honors exceptional high school seniors for their scientific research and their potential as future leaders in the scientific community. 

In the 2014 contest, Eric S. Chen, 17, won the first-place prize of US$100,000 for his research on potential new drugs to treat influenza. From a Chinese family, Chen integrated computer-modeling techniques with biology and chemistry to come up with a list of compounds with the potential to improve influenza treatments. Second-place honors and US$75,000 went to Kevin Lee, 17, also from a Chinese family, who developed a mathematical model to describe the shape of the heart as it beats using the principles of fluid mechanics. Eight of the 40 finalists were of Chinese origin, which demonstrates that Chinese can be as innovative as Americans are if given inspiring motivation. 

Well, both sides may draw different conclusions from the same fact. The proponent might say, “look, what made these young geniuses was their stringent Chinese family background.” The critic would say, “Hey, without the American innovation-encouraging education system, these bright young minds might have been ended up as buried pearls.” 

In my view, there is nothing wrong with rote-learning — nothing can be acquired without tedious memorizing and practice, to say nothing of creation or innovation. It’s also true that mere hard work without critical thinking or hands-on experiments will pale in comparison to the combination of diligence and ingenuity. 

With the inundation of television talent show contests for singers, dancers and pianists alluring teenagers, we badly need our own Intel STS. 

Given more choices, Chinese students can be as innovative as they are hard-working.

 

(The author is an English tutor and a freelance writer.)

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