1. Most of the parents at sometimes find disapproval of the ways teachers are teaching their children. It’s not suggested for the parents to express their disapproval to the teachers. Do you agree?
Today, more and more parents are willing to get involved in their children’s education. They participate in teacher-parents conferencing, monitor their children’s learning process, and go to campus tour with their children, to name a few. Sometimes, parents find disapproval of the methods that teachers use in classrooms. In this situation, should they express their opinions to the teachers? I do not believe so.
To begin with, I don’t think that most parents have the knowledge of which types of teaching methods are appropriate in different types of classrooms. When deciding how to group students and how to adopt various types of activities, teachers need to take a lot of factors into consideration, such as the number of students in one classroom, students’ learning styles, and student’s motivation, among other factors. This decision-making process is extremely complex, and parents who are not professionals in the field of education might just focus on their subjective feelings towards the teachers’ ways of teaching. Obviously, those feelings are not reliable in many cases. Therefore, it is inappropriate for parents to express their disapproval to the teachers.
Moreover, the majority of parents only care about their own children’s learning outcome. When they feel that a teacher’s ways of teaching are not satisfied, it is often the case that their own children are not performing well in that teachers’ class. In this situation, teachers should not change their teaching styles and classroom activities just because one or two children’s parents suggest so, especially in a classroom where there are more than thirty students. In this type of classrooms, some students are highly motivated whereas others might not. Also, students might prefer different styles of learning. It is almost impossible for teachers to find out ways of teaching that are suitable for all students in the classroom. Therefore, it is of no use that parents express their disapproval of teachers’ methods if their children are not one of the majority students. In this case, parents should try to help their children adjust to the teachers’ ways of teaching, instead of blaming the teachers.
Admittedly, parents, as one of the stakeholders in education, should be involved in the process of curriculum design, because their expectations on their children are always intertwined with children’s needs and wants. However, most parents are not professionals in the field of education, and teachers should not change their teaching methods just because a small portion of parents believes so.
In a word, it is better for parents not to express disapproval of teachers’ ways of teaching when they find that their children’s learning outcome is not satisfying. They should try to learn their children’s difficulties in learning and encourage their children to adjust to the teachers’ teaching methods.
2. Some people think that giving students time during a class to discuss ideas with each other is a good way to help students learn; others think giving students time for discussion is ineffective or a waste of time. Which idea do you agree with, and why?
As is known to all, the education in China is exam-oriented. Everything students learn in class is for passing the exams. There are few open topics for students to discuss in Chinese class. It is believed by both Chinese teachers and students that discussion in class is an ineffective way to learn. I totally agree with it.
To begin with, Chinese students have got used to the way they are educated. Most students are required to listen carefully to the teachers and take as many note as possible in the class from primary school to senior high school. It will be too much to ask for students to accept class discussion within a short period of time. It is possible that students might not know what to say in the first place. When topics were given in class, it would be possible that the whole class would be silent. It is not only a waste of time, but also embarrassing.
In addition, the effectiveness of class discussion depends on the students’ personality. Unlike students from western countries like the United States, Chinese students are introverted who are reluctant to express their ideas in front of their fellow classmates. Some students might be afraid of speaking in public. They are worried if they do something wrong, it will be quite humiliating. Some students are just not interested in sharing although they have plenty of amazing ideas in mind.
Moreover, in order to conduct successful class discussion, the teacher plays the most crucial role. It is quite tough for the teacher to supervise the process. He is supposed to be capable of dealing with various challenges. He has to know how to start the topic when the whole class remains silent. Also he has to know how to engage as many students as possible. He has to know what to do when the discussion is absolutely off the topic.
In sum, class discussion might be an effective teaching method in other countries. However, it is not the case in China. It takes time for Chinese students to get familiar with it. It might be good when students become more extraverted. The qualification of the teacher matters the most in carrying out a successful class discussion.