China's laoshi are looking forward. Why aren't we?

28th June 2013 at 01:00

While working with a Chinese organisation to support the transformation of the country's education system, I read "Is there a place for China's wise laoshi?" (Comment, 14 June) to see what mutual learning objectives might exist.

China's national curriculum contains all the values you see in England's but practice does not always reflect them. The quality of the teacher remains the key factor. Most teachers have grown up with, and been trained as, laoshi: teacher knows best. This results in a student population that unequivocally accepts what is taught - what we might call "spoon-feeding".

Younger teachers are more reflective of China's ambitions. The country is developing a new generation of enterprising, curious risk-takers. This learning aims to strengthen China's economy by producing people who will be the next Steve Jobs - the example I was given. China aims to become a nation of imaginative inventors, problem-solvers and product developers. Yes, exams will remain important, but not at the expense of a curriculum that develops these skills.

Your article came in the same week as the CBI complained about the absence of this kind of education and its link to careers education in Britain. So which nation's leaders are looking forward and which are looking only at accountability?

Phil Parker, Education consultant, Redditch, Worcestershire.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now