teaching for what

The following was written on April 16, 2005, when my daughter was a second grader.

The other day, my daughter came home with some good news, saying that her head teacher was going to give a demo lesson and that the lesson would be videotaped. What was more, she had been chosen as one of the 30 students who would be present at the lesson. The total number of the students in her class is 72. When we heard the news, we felt grateful to the teacher for being so kind to our daughter. She is not so favored by the teacher usually.


Probably the teacher would participate in some teaching contest. I am a teacher too. In my school every year there are such teaching competitions. Both the teacher and his/her students make great efforts in such lessons to impress the audience, especially the honorable judges. Such lessons are indeed lively and the students appear to be quite interested in the lesson. However, many observing teachers wish that the participating teachers could conduct their lessons the same way every day, not only on the competition day.


We were feeling thankful when my daughter came back home on Friday and told us that on Friday afternoon the 30 students chosen would have to go to school. They had been told by the head teacher to go and rehearse the lesson. Friday afternoon is free for 2nd graders normally. My daughter was a little unhappy, because she had planned to play around with her playmates Friday afternoon. We gave her some encouragement and she went to school on Friday afternoon. At dinner table I asked her about what she had done at school that afternoon. She said that the teacher pre-taught the lesson they were going to do for the video. And careful arrangements had been made as to which students should ask which questions, which students should answer which questions, and what response the students should give in the lesson. Hearing her words, I was lost in thought, feeling very sad. Also warning had been given to the students that they had to behave well during the process.


This morning, Saturday morning, my daughter, together with the other 29 students, went to her school for the lesson. Of course the result satisfied their teacher. For my daughter brought home a red paper flower as a prize from her teacher for performing well in the lesson. She said the teacher was so happy that she became generous today, giving each student a red flower.


“What is the meaning of such lessons?” I asked myself. Such practice is not found only in my daughter’s school. I am afraid that in many schools such performances take place quite often. Some time ago I read in a paper that in primary schools across the country most demo lessons are rehearsed and then put on. I wonder if it is true.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. maysouthocean
    Oct 17, 2005 @ 11:33:30

    It’s quite right that we r in such rediculous situation. I have to face a teaching show tomorrow. I do not expect it to be a perfect one. Being honest is always my way. As teachers under such system, no progress will ba made by performing such flowery show.Seems like like poorly-orgnised circus . hehe.


  2. Shengliver
    Oct 19, 2005 @ 09:50:35

    It is a comedy considering all the pretensions; it is a tragedy if we think about China’s future.Anyway, good luck, friend.


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