Category Archives: Education

Jia-Tong Lee: the Elementary School Education Lacked the Qualities, Harder to Get Caught Up as the Children Get Older

This, is how not-caught-yet the college level English majors are here, from the Newspapers, translated…

The foreign language majors couldn’t even differentiate the be-verbs, the children from the distant regions couldn’t even write out the twenty-six English alphabets… “You must start quality control in education starting in the first grade”.

The education conference that was held yesterday disclosed how the basic knowledge of elementary school level students lacked quality, and that as the children grow older, they’d fallen behind more and more, and it would be, harder, for them to get caught up again; and there were middle school graduates from the distant areas that had flunked on the national English and mathematics exam, with the grade of C.

The honorary professor from Chinghwa University, Lee suggested, that from the first grades, the children MUST have the basics to build up from, and told the instructors that they not give up on any child, because when children get into middle school, it would be difficult, for them, to get caught up again; at the same time, the instructors should teach the students using the different learning styles that fitted them best, devise different materials, to give the different examinations; and that this remedial teaching method should not be just on the tutoring basis, but to make sure that the students have the basic skills levels.

Lee said, that the education forum in Taiwan is quite well, but, there are two major problems, one, the children from distant regions couldn’t pass the fundamental level exams, and even for the students who managed to pass the entrance exams, they may not have the strong basics to build up on, the primary reason for this was because there’s no quality control in the elementary years, and the examinations only has the more difficult questions, and skips all the basics.

And so, from this, you can see, how much problem IS in the reforms in education, and, it’s because of this low level of understanding, because the teachers can’t possibly keep an eye on all 20+kids, and so, naturally, some of those children who have difficulties are bound to be overlooked, and so, children are still getting left behind…

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The Math Class for the Special Needs Students

From the observations of a school teacher, translated…

From before, when I’d worked in a regular high school, I didn’t know what “Combined Occupational Training” is, until fate stepped in, and took me to another new school to teach, that, was when I’d gotten into contact with this group of amazing kids.  In the morning, when most of the students entered into the gates of the school, with their heads lowered, and a lack of facial expression, this group of kids would always use the most upbeat voice to greet me, giving me a good start of my day.

Later on, I’d attended a special educations seminar in the summer, there was a lecturer, who’d told us, “the culture in Taiwan awards the students who performed well, and in the end, there may be half of those kids who grow up, and go abroad to work, but, our group of kids will work and give back to the communities here indefinitely, and so, we must do EVERYTHING we can, to help them grow up.”, those words, they got into my heart, made me think, other than showing my passions toward them, and saying hi in the mornings, what ELSE can I do?

And so, I’d told the manager of student affairs, I’d wanted to teach the occupational math courses.  The manager of student affairs opened up his eyes wide, asked me, “Principal, are you SURE, you want to teach their class?”  I’d nodded, persistently, and that, was how my affinities with this group of kids started.

At first, when I’d started, I didn’t get ANY feedback from the students, after I’d explored awhile, I’d come to realize, that by having a lot of knowledge in the mathematics, still wasn’t enough, to teach the course to them.  For them, I’d written individualized education plans that tailored to their needs, and, I’d found, that the material must be able to be applied in real life situations for them.

On a practice exam, a student raised her hands, asked me if they could use calculators?  Without much thought, I’d told, if they can not use it, then, they don’t use it.  But, when I saw how she’d counted, using her fingers, I’d felt so awful, and, I’d immediately had her take out her calculator—and later on, I’d told her, that she could use ANYTHING, so long as she can manage solve the math problems.  Contemplating on the matters further, as teachers, we’d often use our own standards, to expect the students to perform well, did we use more empathy, and more patience, to make the learning process more student-focused?

At the end of the semester, as the students got out of their final class session, a student followed behind me quickly.  “Principal, this, is sausage with fish eggs, I’d made it with my mom at home, it’s for you, and, I’m only giving it to you!”, he’d stated.

“Thank you.  And, calculate for me, if a single sausage is sold for $15N.T.s, and, you buy one for all of the fifteen students in the class, how much would it be totally?  Tell me your answer, at the start of next semester.”  I’d replied to him with a smile, and, accepted this gift.

This, is the practical side of education, this principal worked with this group of kids with special needs, to help them have the basic abilities to make it on their own, and, although the lessons are simple, to normal people, it’d taken these kids a lot of time and energy to understand the subjects, and, being an instructor of special needs children, it takes patience, and compassion.

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The Online Age, Allowing the Talents to Shine Ever So Brightly

Translated…

The reform in education is a topic that’s been ranting in Taiwan for decades on end, in the policies of the past, Taiwan set up many colleges and high schools, turning a lot of the professional training schools into technical universities, and the trend of everybody’s studying, and an influx of students from colleges and universities, and this new reform in education had caused a ton of parents, moving into the better school districts, causing some areas to have an influx of population.

When everybody owns a college degree, the values of the college degree is degraded, and, people started claiming that “We must also up the competitive edges, instead of focusing solely on the degrees”, or, “looking at just degrees will make you miss out on a ton of able-bodied workers”, etc., etc., etc., all of these, are actually, great views, but, under the considerations of realities, the degrees are still the key to how the enterprises find the employees, although, looking at just the degrees may not be objective enough, but, it’s the quickest way.

Take for instance, the namely enterprises, they’d receive over ten thousands of résumés each year, and, if you read through one thoroughly, it’d take two minutes, simply put, reading ten thousand résumés through thoroughly, it’d take 20,000 minutes, exchange that into the workdays, it’d take someone almost TWO months, to sort through the résumés thoroughly, and completely, and this still doesn’t include the trial phases of the workers, and the skills tests needed for the post, from a more economical angle, using degrees as a determinant for whether or not someone gets hired, it may be a bit biased, but, it’s a way to save time in finding someone who can have the ability to learn.

Of course, we should not get too superstitious about the degrees either, but, based off of the conditions of how the streets are filled with college grads, the companies are having more difficulties, finding a match in hire, just looking at the performances in school, but this doesn’t mean, that the values of the namely and prestigious schools are declined, actually it’s increased by a lot.  When the college degrees are diluted, the name brand colleges would only become more emphasized by the corporations.

But, does that mean, that if the kids didn’t get to attend one of the namely schools, their futures are screwed?  When problems surface, there would always be a way out, and solutions too.

With the help of the internet, it’d broken the barriers of space and distance, in the past, we were limited in looking for work in Taiwan locally, but through the internet, the opportunities exist worldwide.  When “the world is flat” came out, the openings in work posts became a shared opportunity.

When the degrees got tossed out as the standard for hiring, this generation became an even more gifted generation compared to the generations before, in the past, the industrialized world, there was a need for workers who have great rote memories, but in this age where talents beats all, having creativity is what makes you shine.

Like how recently, there’s an influx of artists that surfaced, these creators, in the past, can only be known through the traditional bookstores, but, if we go by the past publishing processes, all those very talented artists will get overlooked, but, in the online era, the not being restricted by borders can allow the artwork to shine, and, all these opportunities had never occurred before.

Then, how can we help the kids, find out what they’re good at?  We can have them start with something they’re good at and passionate about, the professionalisms can be instilled and trained, the talents needed to be discovered, in the online era, you can find opportunities everywhere you look.

Although the name-brand universities is still a standard to which the enterprises take to hiring, but, with that special gift, the online world can be a brand new opportunity for you, so, use the internet wisely, and, the world shall see how talented you are.

And so, because everything IS online these days, having an acclaimed degree from a prestigious school is NO longer as important as it once was, besides, today, they’re more focused on the skills you are able to acquire, so, work hard, hone up on those working skills, so that way, you will still get equal opportunities, even IF you didn’t graduate top of your classes.

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Parents Who are Open, Granting a Future of Possibilities for Their Young

The KEY determinant here, is still the attitudes of the parents, written by a school principal, from the Front Page Sections, translated…

As I’d held the meetings with the teachers, the first grade instructor said, “I’d used a lot of time away from class to teach Shih-Shin Chinese characters, but, as I’d turned around, he’d forgotten, I feel so beaten by this”.  I’d told her, “he’s a special needs student, there are bound to be things that happen with teaching him.”, another teacher next to me stated, “He has beautiful handwriting, an excellent artist too.”

My eyes became bright, I’d told everybody, “I’d discovered, that Hong-Hong too, is excellent in art as well.”  Hong-Hong was one of those kids who were often kept after school, to finish up his assignments; last year, for Teacher’s Day, the third grade class drew a ton of beautiful pictures, that amazed us all.

In teaching, the teachers might focus on the grades of the academic subjects such as Chinese, math, science, social studies, but ignored how the child is intelligent, and, there are even MORE teachers and parents who would restrict the child from exercising her/his other talents, because the child didn’t do well in the academia, this sort of belief of how “the scholastics will rule” is often killing the children’s areas of talent, and it’d prevented the child from developing her/his other areas of abilities as well.

Many years ago, a parent told me, when they’d taken the child to sing karaoke, she was surprised at how her daughter could sing all the songs, she’d seen her daughter, hitting the books, she wonders, when her daughter had picked up on the music; that year, the child got into an all-girl’s high school, and is now, a middle school teacher.  My friend’s older sister’s son, when he was back in the third grade, couldn’t figure out what five plus three is, and now, he works in the finances, and gold investments.  Bo-Yen loved researching birds, on the weekends of his middle school, and high school years, he’d followed the bird watching association, to all over the places to watch the birds, and, his grades are less than impressive to his parents, he’d signed up for the biology department back in the university years, had done excellently on his oral exams, was accepted by a namely public university.

Kai-Jie’s father is an officer, his mother is a homemaker.  Once after a parent-teacher conference, she’d told me, she’d let it go.  Because her daughter who was accepted by an all-girls’ high school told her, that she should allow her younger brother to go after the majors he’s interested in, otherwise, she will end up, losing a younger brother who is close to her heart.  Later on, Kai-Jie entered into the cooking majors, gotten his chef’s certifications, competed, became excellent in his area of expertise.

Bao-Jen since he was younger, had loved little critters, as he’d gone into the middle school years, as his classmates are out playing balls, horsing around, and running, he’d shared the time with insects, fishes, birds, or carried on in conversation about the topics of animals.  His grades are very high, it would be easy, for him to get into a namely high school, but the parents both stated, that they’re going to allow their son, to choose a major of his own choice, respected his decisions, and now, he’s studying, in the major of animal health, as he liked.

So, from this, you can see, how the parents must support the children in their areas of interests, and not just focused on the academic performances, because allowing the kids to pursue their interests can become a drive to learn for them.  And still, open parents are often keys, to a child, learning happily.

There’s an endless possibilities for the children’s futures, there are still a ton of unknown industries that we don’t know about, that are, waiting to be developed.  Focus on the moral education of the younger generations, cultivate their areas of interests, so the children can have more supports from the parents, making way, to happier families.

And so here, the attitudes of the parents ARE the keys to the kids’ success.  So parent, DO show your kids supports, when they come to you, all excited, because, that joy in learning will become their motivation in life later on, but, there are just, too many parents who PUSHED their kids to take the majors that they THINK would be better, and that will manage to SLAUGHTER the love of learning for their offspring.

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Trading in the Used Books for Chinese Buns, the Ins & Outs of Life

The observations from life, translated…

Worked until the afternoon, I’d often needed to get some fresh air outside, I’d always had a book with me, and, coincidentally, a lot of people are like me, with a book in their hands too, and, we’d exchanged knowing smiles with each other, it’d added some scholarly feel to the entire street.  We’re all waiting for an elderly man.

At four, a blue pick up showed, with several bamboo steaming baskets.  The elderly man walked out of the car, and, everybody rushed up to him, to buy the aromatic buns, and, those who got their hands on the buns, all smiled so radiantly.  This elderly from Sandong, has a different way of doing business compared to others, he’d allowed the customers to trade in an old book, for a bun; everybody is allowed one book, one bun, on one day, and, he’d only given out ten buns every single day, as for the types of books traded for the food, there’s no specifications of what kind.

The way he’d given the buns out quickly spread, it’d made the employees sort through the old books.  After all, trading the old books for the buns, is much better than taking the old books to the recycling stations for money.

Why would the elderly trade the buns for the books?  Turns out, when he was growing up, he was impoverished, didn’t have the opportunities to get an education, he’d taken the advantage to learn now, in the evenings, he’d gone to the elementary school to make up for the lack of education, started with the basics of the Chinese phonetic spellings; during the day time, he’d utilized the skills in making the buns from back home, and peddled the buns.  After several years of hard work, he’d gotten the equivalency degree for elementary school graduate, and had a high interest for reading, but because he didn’t have the extra money to buy the books, he’d used the tit-for-tat to get more books, for his buns.

He’d read any and everything, even the hardest texts on the subjects of physics too, if he couldn’t understand it, he’d asked the school instructors.  And, year after year, he’d managed, to accumulate a ton of knowledge, and can carry on in conversation with his customers on various subjects.

He said, that reading is really useful, he’d once received a volume of books on investments, and after he’d read it, it’d sparked his interests in the finances, he’d started investing in the stock markets, and, found a way to make profits after trial and error.  Now, although he looked ordinary, but, he has two properties, and sizeable savings, and, selling the buns became something he did for the sake of exercises.

He’d accredited everything he has to the old books.  From the elderly, I deeply saw the concept of “reading is knowledge”, he has this eternal love for learning, something I can take after.

And so, because this elderly didn’t have the money for school when he was younger, he’d gotten his alternative education, and, this, is by feeding to his own interests in reading.  This also shows, how there IS that house of gold in books!

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Two Things that the Middle Schools Failed to Teach the Students

The downside of this reform in education, from the Front Page Sections, translated…

Recently after the results of the college entrance examinations, the related questions are once again, brought up, all of these problems, may be the issues of the systems, but, they are also a reflection of the blind spots of education, we failed to teach the younger generations the following:

Plans for One’s Futures: all the parents know, that entering into college is a very important decision.  But, other than preparing for the entrance exams day and night, what ELSE did we put in, for preparation’s sake?  We’d been led to believe, that so long as we scored high enough, we can attend ANY school we wanted to; but, the colleges are filled with an INFLUX of students who’d chosen the wrong majors, and has an even HIGHER rate of dropping out.  Aren’t the youths of eighteen years-of-age allowed their rights to explore their areas of interest?  Couldn’t they have the chances, to fail at the options they were choosing?  Shouldn’t they get to know the situation in those schools they’re applying to?  Are they really certain, of what they’re doing? 

The writer recalled, back when he’d applied for graduate school in the U.S., in order to make the best choice with limited funding, he’d conflicted between the choices of schools, or the majors, but, after going through that, I’d understood better, the purpose of me, studying abroad.  The whole purpose of the application process, is for the students to sort through their plans for themselves in the next four years, to choose the major that is mostly fitting to oneself.  But unfortunately, we’d educated the students by rushing them through the lessons, then, giving them endless reviews, examinations of the subjects, unwilling to let the students find their own separate piece of sky, no wonder, the college interviews, the entrance exams for the separate majors are almost exact, and, the schools had spent a TON of money, to publicize the academics, and not getting the desired results.

The Students Couldn’t Live Independently by Themselves: undeniable, the process of heading to interviews will take the students all over the map, but, the parents shouldn’t accompany the children to and from, and hover over them, wasting their money away.  An eighteen-year-old youth, in order to fulfill one’s own life, venturing out on one’s own, it’s the MOST meaningful thing in life.  In Europe or the U.S., a youth such as this may have already backpacked around the world, or worked odds and ends, to provide for one’s own tuitions, but, our beloved parents seemed to be more unwilling to let their babies head off to college, and would rather treat their grown children like babies, and had even hoped that the kids would choose schools closer to where the parents lived, so they could look after them better.

To tell the truth, if the parents are having troubles, letting the kids fly solo to school, how could they possible expect, these children will grow up, to be the pillars of the community?

Naturally, a lot of the schools could improve more on the processes of deciding on admissions, for instance, they should have separate offices for the applications, and personnel who handle the matters professionally.  And, the restrictions of the percentile markings from the examinations should also be more lenient, so more of those students from less fortunate backgrounds could get equal opportunities, so they could use the potentials to overcome their backgrounds, to give back to the community later on as they graduated.  But, all of these key determinants of success is based off of the real understanding of the purpose of education: grades are a minor part of life, we needed to help our young work hard to follow their paths, to become more practical in life.  But, all of these, more important values, we’re not, teaching them at all.

Because this application process had just been set up this past couple of years, whereas they’d used the exam grades, to determine WHICH major you are to study in in the past, and so, this, is all new to the students, as well as the parents, and so, the parents AND the students NEED to adapt themselves, quickly, to how this current system works, and that, would be one thing that those legislators failed to consider, before they’d implemented the new ideals.

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The Achievements of an Unscholastic Student

Observations on education, translated…

My friend’s child, Wen, didn’t do well in elementary school, as he’d gone into middle school, he didn’t perform that well at all either, but, he had good character, and is very well behaved; but, because of his low grades, he was put into a class of rejects, my friend was completely disappointed, and, as her relatives, friends went to visit her, none of them DARED mentioned this to her—Wen became the buried landmines in the conversations with my friend.

Before graduation, the teachers at his school expected, that he won’t get into a regular public high school, so instead, Wen worked hard, to get into a technical high school, and gladly, he was able to get into a public technical high school.

After getting into technical high school, Wen was no longer a member of the class of rejects, instead, he’d become one of the gifted and talented students from his school, this made his father feel proud of him, finally!  In the interning factories of his school, he made the products very well, and his instructors were all in awe, “Genius!”, and, this became Wen’s nickname, and he’d also become the student tutor, showing the other students how to operate the machinery, and, he’d scored first place in his academics of his entire grade too.  During the time Wen was studying, he’d even received the championship trophy for the national technical competitions, after his technical high school career, he’d passed through the entrance exams, entered into the Industrial Education Majors of the Teachers’ University, and, Wen’s father became even more proud.

During his college career, Wen made high marks for his academic classes, as well as in his internship programs, he was able to get into his alma mater’s graduate department, after he earned his master’s degree, he’d gone back to the technical high school he attended to teach, during the time he was teaching there, he’d gotten numerous patents, and published a ton of theses, was voted as the most outstanding youth in the nation.  Later on, he became the person in charge of the school affairs, and passed the examinations for becoming a school principal, and, he’s counting down the days to when he could fill the post of a school principal.

Seeing how a child, who worried his father because he didn’t make good enough grades, to how he’d turned into an excellent school instructor, who SAYS that students from a class of rejects couldn’t do well?

Because this man was able to find the area he was interested in, and he was motivated, and worked real hard, that, was how he was able to succeed in life, and that still just tells you, that it doesn’t matter IF you don’t make the grades in school earlier on in life, so long as you’re willing to work hard, you CAN achieve!

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