Schools In China Available To All: Teaching English In Middle School HuaiHua.

Walking down a street in Chengde we became aware of a lot of school children making a lot of noise. A few strides more brought us to the school gates of one of the schools in China that are now available to all. This school appeared to be a secondary or middle school and as we stood by the locked and chained school gates, the children were all lined up in their alloted way, ready to return to their classrooms after a lunch break. Two friends, qualified as teachers, and who at the time were teaching english in such middle schools in China, were asked how many pupils were in their classes, one friend said 60, the other friend said 56! Those numbers in UK middle schools would be unthinkable to the teachers, and hardly suitable for the pupils, but there is a different approach to education, discipline and respect, in the different educational regimes. The teachers in one of these schools in China had not received any salary for two months, but they still continued with their task of teaching english, because they felt a sincere duty of care for the education of their pupils. The relationship between teacher and student in such circumstances is one of mutual respect.

Photo of pupils lining up on yard of middle school in Chengde, China.

Middle School In China With Gates Closed As Pupils Return To Their Classes.

The photo shown on this page of the Middle School in China with the students returning to their classes, was taken during the Autumn, as can be seen by the warm clothes the students were wearing. At another Middle School we visited in Huai Hua, the students wore summer uniform. The staff were teaching English and Mathematics to students, after the start of the summer holidays. Many schools in China provide extra lessons when it is needed, and at the Huai Hua school we visited, these extra lessons appeared to be enjoyed by the pupils. It is not known whether these extra lessons in English were provided freely by the school, or whether they were teaching English on a fee paying basis. The groups we came across were small in number, and the relationship between the teacher and the pupils was attentive and friendly.

A small group of pupils came to join us in one of the classrooms, where they sang a short song 'in english' for the westerner in their midst. They were all eager to practice their language skills and asked many questions, much to the satisfaction of the staff member who was responsibile for teaching english to this particular group. On previous occasions when there has been a conversation with students who wanted to speak english, they did so with a distinct american accent. When the middle school students in Huai Hua were speaking, there was no trace of Chinese nor of American accent in their voice. The question and answer session at this middle school could well have been taking place at a school in the UK.

''''' To provide for its population in mainland China, the PRC has a vast and varied school system. There are preschools, kindergartens, schools for the deaf and blind, key schools (similar to college preparatory schools), primary schools, secondary schools (comprising junior and senior middle schools, secondary agricultural and vocational schools, regular secondary schools, secondary teachers' schools, secondary technical schools, and secondary professional schools), and various institutions of higher learning (consisting of regular colleges and universities, professional colleges, and short-term vocational universities). In terms of access to education, mainland China's system represented a pyramid; because of the scarcity of resources allotted to higher education, student numbers decreased sharply at the higher levels. Although there were dramatic advances in primary education after 1949, achievements in secondary and higher education were not as great. Src: '''''

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