13 Nov 2006

Students in Taiwan are 'illogical'

Recently I have been feeling frustrated with my senior high school students. It seems more and more difficult to teach the new generations of Taiwan. Their learning habit is going from worse to the worst, and this leads to a terrible learning result. How could I help them when they are not gaining positive training for learning form schools? I reason that the main problem lies in the wrong educational policy practiced in Taiwan.

I agree with the original idea of reforming the old educational policies, that is, to eliminate such heavy study burden. I have been through it, and I support it. However, the current situation shows that this reform is a total failure, and it is in fact dragging down the quality and level of education in Taiwan. Policymaking is crucial that cannot be taken as an experiment. What happens now in Taiwan's education is like a big experiment in which students are treated as lab mouse. When there are problems, the policy makers simply don't fix them but discard the whole project and start a brand new one. I don't think any kinds of national policies should be changed from time to time. They should always be well planned that mean to bring progress to the people.

Because of this failure in education, students of Taiwan are not releasing their study burden but having more from the parents and schools. This failure results in low-level performance in learning, and this drags down the competitiveness. For both parents and schools, this low level performance is unacceptable, and the only way to lift it up is to give more studies to students. However, how could we lift up the quality of learning when there is no competitiveness at all? What students do now basically is about remembering whatever is listed in their textbooks. They are not required to do extra work for gaining knowledge outside of their textbooks. Teachers in school are so busy teaching them how to do tests because that is what the parents and schools want. As a result, students are becoming machines answering questions only. This is not learning. They are not able to think creatively, let alone logical and critical thinking.

I was so sad when I read my senior high students' short essays. Most of them could not present their ideas clearly, and some of them simply do not know how to write. At first I though the reason is because they have difficulties in English writing. However, I realized that English writing is only part of the reason, and the main issue is on their logical and critical thinking. Since the very beginning of their learning, they have never been trained in this way of thinking. What they are required to do in schools is always to memorize what the textbooks say. They cannot think! I am so terrified of this realization. This realization helps me understand why some university professors complain about the low quality of current university students.

Is there anything I can do to help my senior high school students? I am trying to train my students to be more logical and critical, but this environment will still block their progress. After all, knowing how to answer dull questions and entering a good university are goals they should achieve. Maybe I should just leave this problem to the university professors.

1 comment:

  1. I think that the best thing to do is to disregard the notion that it is the environment retarding their progress, but instead focus on what can be done within your means. It's indeed comforting to know that more and more ppl are coming to the realisation that this is not the way to go if we want to cultivate thinkers and leaders (not just in taiwan, but this trend is seen across asia).

    Perhaps if this message is more widespread, I think in a highly democratic and liberal country like taiwan, much change can be done! :)