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China to reduce homework, enhance students’ creativity

Posted: 09/5/2013 11:00 am

China’s Ministry of Education is set to release new guidelines that aim to scrap written homework for elementary school students and increase creativity while teaching them practical life skills.

The ministry received 5,956 suggestions from the public by Aug. 30 and the new draft will bring about an education system that, according to an official from the ministry named Xin Tao, will enable students to enjoy the learning process and become more rounded people.

If successful, similar changes will be introduced to middle and high school teaching.

China Daily has more:

The guideline, which was introduced by Chinese education authorities, suggested a ban on written homework in elementary schools. Instead, it suggested organizing field trips to museums, libraries and cultural facilities, and cultivating students’ hands-on capabilities through handicrafts or farm work.

In the below Feb. 2009 TED lecture, Barry Schwartz argued that factory teaching, the type that has long been prevalent in China, “insures against disaster by ensuring mediocrity.”

This lecture underlines the fact that, contrary to what was once popularly believed in China, “Western” countries such as the United States have their fair share of uninspiring education institutions.

It was argued in The New Republic on Monday (Sept. 2) that American schools were failing non-conformist kids.

In the meantime, he’s part of an education system that has scant tolerance for independence of mind. “We’re saying to the kid, ‘You’re broken. You’re defective,’ ” says Robert Whitaker, author of Mad in America. “In some ways, these things become self-fulfilling prophesies.”

It was reported this year that a not-very prestigious school in Guangzhou was an unlikely innovator in encouraging self-expression in its students.

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