White Devil Red Angel - Comments from inside the belly of the Dragon.

DucksCantFly April 10, 2008 09:57 PM Missouri Time

Ducks Can’t Fly and Other things Chinese people know.

In our last installment of Ducks Cant Fly we talked about a few things that Chinese people think they know but are absolutely ridiculous.  Like the fact that ducks cant fly.  In this installment we I will talk about some study habits and thinks Chinese students think they know.

1.  You can not study or read while you are eating.  One day during class at a major university in Xi'an my students ask me how they can get better at English.  I suggested reading their English books and only speaking English with each other at lunch.  This met with unanimous disapproval.  They told me with straight faces that they could not study or practice English at lunch because it was "bad for their health" and would cause them to have bad stomaches.
By the look on my face they must have realized I thought this was insane.  They assured me it was true and that many doctors agreed with this.  So, I went to the school doctor and asked him to set the student straight about this.  To my astonishment he agreed with the students.  "No no no" he said.  If you study or read during lunch then your body becomes excited and the excitement can cause your body to become "to hot"  thus making digestion difficult and could possible cause stomach cancer.  I told the doctor that the students where watching soccer during lunch and asked if that also caused the problem.  He said no. watching soccer is ok.  he explained it to me but I could not understand. Something about soccer is a sport and doesn't effect the right hemisphere of the body and  will not cause the body liquids to become hot.  At this point I reminded myself never to go to this doctor. 

2.  If a class is not two hours long then you can not learn. This is one I not only get from university students but also from parents of small children.  In China classes are very long, two to three hours sometimes.  When I suggested to the class an school that we change the 3 hours class that met twice a week to a hour and a half class that meets 4 times a week.  Again I get the blank stares of amazement that I would even suggest this.  Even though there are volumes of information showing that shorter classes more times a week is the best way to learn they had never heard of it.  I was new to China at this time and had not figured out how education in China works.  In China it doesn't matter what you learn.  This is not important  There are only three things that are important in Chinese education. 
   A. Time spent in Class.
   B.  How many notebooks have you filled with notes.
   C.  Passing the exam. Which you can take over and over until you pass it.

According to Chinese experts in education class time and notebooks are of the utmost importance.   Now that I have been in China for four years I know why.  Every Chinese persons home I go to they want to show me their notebook collection.  Here is what I know they will say.  Doesn't matter that they don't really know it.  If they have a notebook on their bookshelf it means they know it.

In our next installment we will be talking about driving and traffic in China.

Posted by: White Devil at 09:57 PM

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