Middle Education in the Middle Kingdom: The Chinese Junior High School in Modern Taiwan
This in-depth study of the junior high school years (grades 7-9) in Taiwan, China, compares the Taiwan model with those found in Japan, Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, and the urban areas of China. Of particular interest are such topics as curriculum, homework, teaching methods, textbooks, school ecology, teacher training, health and safety, parental influence on children, school spirit, peer pressure and mediations, and the use of "teaching-to-examination." Comparisons with the American model are coincidental. The author, who has taught in both Asia and the United States, does, however, make generalizations about the dysfunctional American school paradigm and the vigorous nature of academic life in Asia. Smith asserts that the Asian model for educational excellence cannot be transplanted to the United States. Our highly diverse society could not endure the demands of standardized examination at each juncture of education. The author contends that the key factors in success are only slightly related to the school. Family life, peer pressure, the competitive examination system, desire for family honor, and the challenge of the Darwinian milieu all lead to excellent academic outcomes. Social and cultural life for children, though limited, are always seen as complementary to school life. Family activities focus on the child and his or her education. Parental sacrifices are the norm to assure a child's academic and employment success via the conduit of education.
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