Recently, I finished a book by Yong Zhao called, Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon? Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World.
The book was extremely enlightening since it provided quite an informative background on Chinese history and the depth of its appalling effects on global education, the Chinese education system, and its individual students.
Before reading Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon?, I had somewhat of an understanding of the current Chinese education system, which allowed me to empathize with my students who endure hours of lectures, homework, and demands everyday. Seeing that I am nearing the end of my sixth year of teaching in China, I can say firsthand that I’m not surprised at all of what Yong Zhao says cover to cover. The accuracy behind the Chinese system’s foundations and layers is what keeps me up some nights. These periods of time aren’t due simply to the extremity of the present situation but also how to go about inventing educational models that will meet the students’ needs for the future, initiating that dialogue, and taking steps to move forward together.
Yong Zhao imparted a great depth of understanding throughout in regards to…
-Why do students/people in China tend to copy each other or others’ original ideas?
-Why do students have, in the eyes of a foreign English teacher, a propensity to copy each other’s homework or plagiarize?
-Why do local teachers in China not speak up more or express the need for change/reforms?
-Where does this base idea of not sincerely following the rules/educational mandates derive from?
-Why do countries from around the world want to imitate China’s education system?
-and so much more…
I would recommend this book for anyone involved in global education, teaching in China, or wanting to start an education revolution.
(P.S. - In the future, I plan to mull over more on these topics and others related since there was a study guide, with questions for every chapter, that came with the book.)