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Memories of China Education
By; Breanna Keener

It is known around the world that China is one of, if not the, leading countries when it comes to education. After recently visiting China for two weeks with the Barrie Youth Ambassadors I had the opportunity to experience some aspects of China and the Chinese education system first hand.

The first experience I had with Chinese education was when the Barrie Youth Ambassadors were treated to a tour of the Taizhou Teachers College. The Taizhou Teachers College is a beautiful university located in a in a very scenic part of Taizhou. While the Barrie Youth Ambassadors were at the college, we took a walking tour of the campus and saw many things including different department building, dorm areas, the gymnasium, a typical Chinese class room, and the cafeteria.

Another school we visited while in Taizhou with the Barrie Youth Ambassadors was the artistic kindergarten. This is a private school for small children. This school specializes in classes such as art, martial arts, and dance. The school also gives lessons in languages, like Chinese and English. While were at this unique school we were treated to demonstrations, such as dance and martial arts, by the kindergartners and were also welcome to join in and participate in the classes. It was a wonderful opportunity to take part and experience Chinese education first hand.

After visiting multiple schools in Taizhou, including a martial arts school where we saw an amazing demonstration by seven students, my curiosity about the Chinese education system peeked. Every school I had visited was completely different from the last, so I decided to sit down with my partner Zhu Zijng and ask her about school and get the real inside story. I started off with basic questions like what age do you start school, how long the school day is and how long the school year is. She explained to me that school officially starts when you are seven years old but you can attend schools like the kindergarten if your family chooses to send you. She also told me that the hours that school is in session depends on the time of year, for example school in the winter is nine hours and ten minutes and school in the hotter summer season is eight hours and fifty minutes. I was surprised; I hadnít realized school took up that much of her day. Then I decided to ask her a few more questions like how many months she attends school, and how much homework she received each night. She politely responded by saying that she attended school nine months out of the year and the amount of homework varied night to night. Then it was her turn to ask me a question, she was also curious about Canadian schooling and asked how much homework Canadian students receive over summer holidays and saying that she had so much homework to do on summer holidays. I was shocked! I couldnít picture having homework during summer and I politely told her. Now it was her turn to be surprised. She couldnít believe how lucky I was! After sharing a good laugh about the homework situations I decided to ask her a final and somewhat serious question, how serious is your schooling to both you and your parents. I had heard that school was taken much more seriously in China than in other countries. After a few moments of thinking over my question she replied by saying that schooling is very important to her and her family and most other Chinese families as well. After our little interview I said thank you and went to my room to better organize my thoughts about our interview in my journal.

Reflecting on my experiences with education in China, it is now my belief that Canadian schooling should be more like the Chinese school. Donít get me wrong, I probably wouldnít be looking forward to the nine hours of school a day or the homework over holidays, but in the long run I truly believe that Canadian students would benefit from the Chinese schooling methods. I would like to leave you with a final opinion of mine. I truly enjoyed learning more about the Chinese culture and its education system and enjoyed my experience in China very much and would not trade it for anything in the world.

Science Building at the Taizhou Teachers College

Typical Chinese Classroom at the Taizhou Teachers College

 Gymnasium at the Taizhou Teachers College

 Cafeteria at the Taizhou Teacher College

Group Shot in Front of the Main Entrance to the Taizhou Teachers College
Left to Right: Lou, Rick, Breanna (me), Kim, Adam, Aaron,
Emma, Kathryne, Desiree, Tim, Caitlynn, LJ, Jason, Ben

 Taizhou Artistic Kindergarten

 Welcome Sign at the Taizhou Artistic Kindergarten

 Group Picture at the Taizhou Artistic Kindergarten

 Martial Arts Class at the Taizhou Artistic Kindergarten

 Drawing Class at the Taizhou Artistic Kindergarten

 Dance Class at the Taizhou Artistic Kindergarten

 Me Displaying the Picture I Created For a Chinese Student at the Taizhou Artistic Kindergarten

 Kathryne Helping Teach a Chinese Class at the Taizhou Artistic Kindergarten