Looking for something else entirely online today, I came across this blog, written by a mother in Shanghai who is sending her four-year-old to a local Chinese school. It gives an interesting and entertaining perspective on a very different Chinese immersion experience. From her introduction:
The handful of foreigners, like me, who choose to put their kids in local schools are – like the first generation immigrants in the West- being guided by our kids into a deep cultural immersion that we ourselves will never achieve. We follow our children – who are our probes and translators – trying to keep up as best we can.
We are also at the cutting edge of an increasingly heated debate over global education. What is the right balance between rote learning and creativity? How much homework and discipline is too much? How much not enough? How much free time should children be allowed? Is pressure and high expectations good or bad for kids? Which system – Eastern or Western – will best prepare our children for the highly competitive future that they must face?
This blog is dedicated to tracking this cultural immersion and to our own — highly personal — engagements with these debates.
She writes frequently with sometimes hilarious anecdotes about her son’s experiences (such as, being the only blond-haired child in a class happily singing, ‘I have black hair, I have black eyes, I am a Chinese baby.’) that give unique insight into Chinese society and language learning.
For more on Chinese education, Howard Gardner’s Learning Chinese Style is a classic. The Chinese Lessons blog posts it in its entirety.