Mr Josefa Vodo Millard
Regional Property Manager, Cairn Letting, Edinburgh
I taught English as a foreign language for 7 years in China to a variety of ages and in a variety of areas spanning the whole country. This proved to be an invaluable experience for me as I learnt not only how to speak basic Mandarin, but more importantly expose myself to an intriguing culture and lifestyle that has evolved through rigid traditional values.
Having taught in both the state and private sectors of education I was exposed to the differences found in each sector. Class sizes were one area that was different. State secondary schools could have classes of up to 60 students in one class - a daunting task for teachers, but private secondary schools may have less. This is a common trait in the UK too but with perhaps less kids to begin with in the state sector. Another interesting point I found out was that state schools were generally given a better reputation due to better achieved grades then their private counterparts, something that is usually not the case here in the UK. These were some of the interesting facts I learned during my stay in China.
You may think that with such a high population combined with a thirst for improvement, how could children in such heavily populated classes achieve such good grades? One thing that struck me as admirable and answered the above question was the degree of self-discipline instilled in a child when waking up at 5:30am to study before classes until going to bed after doing homework at 11pm was considered the norm. This boot camp like schedule would more than likely inadvertently stem from the parents or perhaps the teacher and to see such unwavering discipline from kindergarten all the way through to further education was short of breathtaking.
It comes as no surprise that a lot of Chinese nationals come over to countries like the UK to further their education and achieve the qualifications they desire without even fully understanding the language, is for some anyway, a walk in the park.
It goes to show that to understand the full picture of the educational mindset of the Chinese, one must get to grips with the grass root levels of education and perhaps more importantly the onset of focused parenting from a young age.
I sincerely believe that with the ever increasing influence of China on the rest of the world, it is important to start understanding and forming links with young proffessionals from China. It is these people who can help bridge the divide between East and West with like minded people in Scotland. YCP is such one bridge and I believe with it's positive development only good things will happen for Scotland and China.