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China Tries Innovative Teaching Method: Teaching from Behind

Posted: 09/4/2014 12:07 pm

back of class zhejiang yiwu yitu elementary schoolChina’s educational system is sometimes disparaged as being “backwards”, but now that might be true in the most literal sense. A school in Zhejiang hopes to improve learning outcomes by moving the teacher to the back of the class from the front.

The idea is being tried at the Yiting Elementary School in Yiwu, Zhejiang Province, according to the Qiangjiang Evening Report. Under the model, teachers stand up and lecture the class from behind, speaking to the backs of students’ heads.

back of class zhejiang yiwu yitu elementary school

The school thinks this method will both help students learn and teachers teach. As explained in the report, teachers can now proceed with a lesson uninterrupted, and yet maintain interactivity with students by getting up from their desks and attending to each individual student. Teachers can keep an eye on the class at all times, and don’t need to spend as much time policing them.

On the other hand, students can better focus on the lesson because of fewer distractions, such as the teacher walking around in front of them. The school also believes students will be more obedient, because they won’t know when the teacher is looking at them.

back of class zhejiang yiwu yitu elementary school

Finally, the reform has done away with one of the most traditional features of a Chinese classroom: the teaching podium. The school said the podium overly formalizes instruction, describing it as giving “pressure” to teachers.

These changes are meant to make students more accountable. They need to pay attention to lessons or risk falling behind without an easy way to catch up by following the teacher’s cues. Both students and parents are largely supportive of the new initiative:

Our children are more vigorous than most, and are scared of the teacher. This way, when they go to class they will be happy and not have any misgivings.

back of class zhejiang yiwu yitu elementary school

Still, this doesn’t do away with perhaps the biggest problem of the Chinese educational system: rote learning.

Photos: People’s Daily

  • Toothless

    Might as well talk to the back of their heads.
    Front doesn’t seem to work

  • Truthful

    “China Tries Innovative Teaching Method” – umm, NO, it’s actually just ONE elementary school in Zhejiang Province.

    This reminds me of another article by Charles Liu – “BYE ALS ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE, CHINA IS STARTING SOMETHING MUCH MORE FUN” – where I also commented that Mr. Liu’s wumao biases and jack of journalistic competence is painfully obvious to the astute reader.

    The last sentence of this article mentions one problem – rote learning – but doesn’t expand on that point at all. Other problems with the education system aren’t even mentioned.

    It doesn’t matter from which direction they are taught – the problem is WHAT and HOW they are being taught (to not think for themselves and never question authority being ingrained from a young age).

    Is that what happened to you, Charles Liu?

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