I think I would ask each teacher at the beginning of the term if they hit students and ask them to make sure that my children were not hit. They could notify me of any and all punishable misdeeds, and I would take care of the discipline side of things swiftly. I would also be clear that any physical punishment inflicted on my child would be reciprocated on the teacher! Only other family members would be allowed to physically punish my children, because presumably they love them enough to not do it out of anger.
Sorry I was too blunt for you. Taiwan is certainly not as bad as Korea or Japan, but hitting is still widespread; the Humanistic Education Foundation, a non-profit, has a long-term project to end it. In any case, do you live in Taipei?
My anqui class writes a weekly composition. Last weeks was entitled “Things that worry me.”
Several of the students mentioned being worried about their teachers hitting them, and one little girl based her whole compostion on mean, abusive teachers.
There is no hitting whatsoever in my school, so I’m assuming this abuse is happening in their public schools. Not Taipei city, but Taipei County.
Unfortunately my wife’s health was not so good in the U.S. We really have little choice but to stay here for my wife’s health.
I got my information from kids who go to one of the most expensive private schools in Taipei. They get hit for not having a high enough grade, for not eating up their lunch, for not napping at noon etc. If they tell their parents, they get hit by them…so there isn’t really a way out of this…and I don’t really think they are an exception. Maybe your kids just don’t tell you…
It’s not the hitting that worries me so much as the narrow-minded emphasis on rote memorization and testing, to learn what? With all the hours these kids spend in cram school at night, on weekends, during the summer, etc., haven’t you wondered why they’re not any smarter than kids back home who goof off, play after school, enjoy summer vacations, and when they become teenagers get drunk, have sex and smoke dope. I enjoyed art and music classes in elementary school, and class wasn’t cancelled to study for other tests. With my public junior high school in New York, I took a one-week camping trip, a one-week canoing trip, and a one-week skiing/snowshoing trip, missing regular classes, because the teachers there had the wisdom to recognize the importance of outdoor education. I remember lots of fun projects, drama, debates and discussions between students throughout most of my education in regular US public schools. I would guess that here in Taiwan there’s little recognition in the schools of the importance of those kinds of alternative activities. And, I believe those activities are the reason why even lousy students back home often have creative and analytical skills that are lacking here.
I definitely think Western education is better balanced in its emphasis on training all the difference faculties, on that point you’re right. However, it is also true that a lot of schools in the west have a lack of rigor. At bad schools, the lack of rote memorization can become an excuse for a lack of anything hard.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with rote memorization and training students through taking tests. These are all important parts of education. The problem is that the Taiwanese system has focused too much on memorization and tests while neglecting to train the ability of kids to think critically on their own and to pursue extracurricular interests. But the solution is to supplement the educational curriculum with more emphasis on critical thinking and extracurriculars, not simply remove all forms of rote education and testing from the system. The best schools are rigorous in all areas.
Although I don’t have any kids, I’ll speak from the perspective of someone who was “the kid”. Born in the US, lived there until halfway through 4th grade, when my parents decided it was time to return home.
Ended up in a small public Chinese school (~500) through 6th grade. Parents decided that TAS would be more in line with college plans and tossed me there.
Would I do it again? Yes. 2.5 years in public school did wonders for my Mandarin.
Was it easy? Heck no. Thankfully, my parents and the teachers were pretty supportive and really helped me through the first semester when I was pretty much Chinese-illiterate.
Would I put my kids through it? Depends on how the education system ends up. I have a few cousins going through this 9 Year Mess and I really feel sorry for them. The curriculum change is absolutely wreaking havoc on their learning.
Rote memorization and testing definitely was a large part of my public school education and truthfully, I didn’t learn much from it. The part that really helped was math (except now that’s all messed up).
Also, if a school says that the teachers aren’t hitting. They either don’t know the teachers very well or have young teachers. The amount of coporal punishment is definitely down but it still exists. Especially at those so-called “Superstar Schools” that have amazing track records.
My first job in Taiwan was at a Catholic school. Day 2 I was provided with a cane to help me ‘motivate’ my students.
I only use it on the gf tho’
I have two children who are in play-school and the Hsinchu Experimental school respectively, both having been sent to school when they were around three years old. They were kissed, spoiled, and encouraged to be brats and loved but never punished enough for me; standing against a wall with out-stretched arms is not punishment enough for fighting- I would have recieved the paddle, cirica '72, in California. Bring it back, within reason.
The horror stories here always amaze me- I’ve lived here since '88, have 17 neices and nephews in so many cities it is a crime, and yet I have yet to accumulate the same store of stories other westerners have. Am I that blind?
Had similar experiences to answerer, went through grades 1-4 in the US, and grades 5-9 in public school in Taipei. Things have probably changed quite a bit in the six years since I was last in the local system, so the following may or may not still be true, esp. with all the reforms going on (which were just starting when I was going through)
Elementary school was actually not too different from that in the US (aside from the uniforms, and slightly stricter teachers), I was lucky enough to have a pretty good teacher.
Middle school was a different beast entirely, long days, lots of exams and quizzes, heavy emphasis on memorization. I actually had a pretty good (and sane) homeroom teacher who didn’t believe in all that memorization stuff but he was constantly getting overruled by several (overzealous and overbearing) parents… a problem which I hear still persists.
Corporal punishment was still in effect when I was there, though only a few of my teachers actually partook in it.
I ended up going back to the US for my last three years of high school after failing the (old) senior high enterance exams, primarily by flunking math and science… to demonstrate how much that actually means: I’m currently finishing up my physics degree in the US (and doing quite well, thank you).
Would I do it again? Yes, but I’m not sure I’d reccomend it to everyone. The system here did teach me a great deal about discipline and hard work (not to mention speaking Mandarin, and local culture), and I did gain a great deal of textbook knowledge, but at the same time, I spent a great deal of my time in school here feeling repressed and depressed. Of course, the fact that I attended a middle school notorious for pushing students beyond the breaking point probably contributed a great deal to that.
Though from what I hear from my brother who’s still in a public high school here, and my mom who’s an elementary school teacher, things have really changed since then. At any rate, I’ve heard that the worst of my middle school teachers were fired and replaced with younger ones, so perhaps the situation is improving. Anyhow, I’d be sure to get more info on the school that you’re considering, generally younger teachers == more open minded.
(BTW, this seemed like the perfect topic for me to delurk, hello all!)
I taught English to a couple of elementary school teachers a few years ago. The class was even held at their elementary school, a large public one in Taipei. Teaching was a topic we talked a lot about and they often expressed their frustration about NOT BEING ABLE TO HIT KIDS.
Yes, that’s right. They wanted to slap the snot out of them when they were naughty, but they said parents nowadays would complain if they did so. It wasn’t that they were sadists, it was just that they felt they could not discipline the kids anymore.
So in my experience, corporal punishment in Taipei seems to be on the wane, but not because teachers have become more enlightened.
…so let’s hope you are right. mommy mesheel would really go crazy, if she found out that the teacher beat her kid.
But, what if the Taiwanese grandparents hit your kid? What do you do then?
Let them know that you strongly disapprove, that you wish to use alternative child-rearing methods and if it happens again cut off visiting privileges?
On a related note, shortly after I moved here I saw a grandfather on teh sidewalk angrily tearing at his grown daughters clothes and trying to hit her as she tried to escape. So I went up, shook my finger at him and said the only thing I could think of, “bu hao, bu hao.” She escaped and got in a taxi and he told me, “you don’t don’t know. you’re just foreigner. you don’t understand.”
If I learned a teacher hit my kid I’d go in to the school and confront the teacher as well. They might think you’re a crazy foreigner, but if you believe hitting is wrong you should intervene. . . and after being confronted by the foreigner I doubt a teacher would hit your kid again.
My kids have gone through a local kindergarten and are now on their way to Tienmu Guo Xiao. They speak English and Mandarin fluenntly. IIn fact my 5 year old already reads in chinese very well (bo po mo fu mostly but recognizing more and more character). And at this level I do not expect any beatings or other forms of creulty.
Come Junior and highschool, the American School or other alternatives listed here are the way to go. This mostly for college preparation… having already achieved cultural and lingusitic goals.
But the fear you have in beatings, etc… come now get real. Exceptions rather than the rule these days.
yeah? where do i pick up my limo for the ride to my villa
yeah? where do i pick up my limo for the ride to my villa i dunno, i hear a lot of my students talking about getting hit at school, but the grinding test-driven system is a bigger worry. personally i just want my kids to have an english education, there aren’t really any good alternatives to tas for us here so it’s bite the bullet or forget it. it’s been good for me actually because it motivated me to ditch my crappy old job and get into business, which has turned out to be a great move. i’m certainly happy with the education she’s getting.
But the fear you have in beatings, etc… come now get real. Exceptions rather than the rule these days.
Yes, in Taipei. But didn’t you read the thread? It’s far more common outside of Taipei. Taipei is the exception rather than the rule as far as Taiwan is concerned.
Let me put it another way. There are no Taiwanese schools in Taiwan. All public schools teach in Chinese and use Chinese education methods. I would be willing to send my children to Taiwanese school if the language they used was Taiwanese and they used progressive teaching methods based on science and psychology, not Chinese/ Confucius culture.
well…my mistake…i was saying taiwanese schools meaning schools in taiwan…
are there actually “taiwanese” schools ?