From the blog of Mr. Derrick Willard: Tearing Down Walls
I have been constantly searching through the archives of post by Mr. Willard. I came across a post from Dec 17, 2012. The post was titled Well Said and it included a quote which Mr. Willard says describes as what he is trying to do in his classroom and through his blog. “The world is where we learn; school is where we meet. Those who try to capture learning within school walls are doomed to the past”- Grant Lichtman. Thus the name of his blog, Tearing Down Walls. I think this quote should serve as a reminder to teachers of what our classrooms should be like and that we owe it to our students to make sure that they are globally connected.
On April 26, 2014 Mr. Willard continued his review of schools in China. The school he visited was a large private boarding school with approximately 4000 students attending. He said that although the school was much larger than the public boarding school he reviewed last week, the classes had about half the number of students than that of the public school. He observed that instead of being slaved to Gaokao prep (college entrance exams), this private “school seeks to master traditional education and institute reforms-moving from more passive learning to more active learning, respecting personalities of students in order to motivate them better, encouraging more creativity, and social responsibility.” He commented that this school seemed very similar to his private school here in the U.S. He is not saying private schools in China are better than the public schools. He was actually told that the public schools tend to be the better ones.
I had a lot of questions to ask Mr. Willard about this post. First of all I wanted to know if the judgment that public schools were better than private schools was based on someone’s opinion, test scores or something entirely different? I was also curious as to why Chinese parents would pay to send their children to private schools if the public schools were better. Are the ideals of the Chinese people changing? I am also curious to know, is college performance by students coming from private and public school backgrounds being tracked? Is one type of student more likely to attend college and also can it be determined which student is the higher achiever based on college performance? Mr. Willard has been so gracious with his correspondence and replies to my questions. I am looking forward to hearing his reply.