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Highest level of respect for Chinese teachers

According to an international study comparing their status in 21 countries the teachers in China have the highest levels of respect. Teachers in the UK were in 10th place in the global index which was compiled by the University of Sussex professor Peter Dolton.

The study was based on surveys of 1,000 adults in each of the countries. This explored public attitudes to professional status, trust, pay and the desirability of teaching as a career. The study accepted the high status of teachers in China. In China, there is a vigorous cultural emphasis on the importance of education.

“Teachers are revered,” says Prof Dolton. A large majority of adults in China believed that students would respect their teachers. Whereas in most European countries is only a few believed that students would show respect. It is rather surprising that in the UK, only about one in five adults believed that students show their teachers respect in school.

According to Varkey GEMS Foundation Global Teacher Status Index, the top ten teacher respect country wise includes – China, Greece, Turkey, South Korea, New Zealand, Egypt, Singapore, Netherlands, USA and UK.

Teachers in China were compared with doctors in the UK they were more likely to be classified with nurses and social workers. In the US, people compared teachers with librarians and in Japan the feeling was that they were on a par with local government officials.

This disclose the cultural differences in how the role of teaching is viewed says Prof Dolton, a professor of economics at Sussex University and senior research fellow at the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics.

The ranking of teachers in China was considerably above the next highest countries, which were Greece, Turkey and South Korea. The study, published by the Varkey GEMS Foundation, also included some results that might be thought of as unanticipated. Finland was observed as a model for recruiting high-quality, high-status teachers. Germany (16th) and Japan (17th) were ranked among the lowest countries. No countries from sub-Saharan Africa were included in the survey.

The findings for the UK are based on a single national figure, rather than individual deputed administrations. They show a positive picture in public attitudes, with much higher levels of trust in the education system than in the US and most other European countries in the survey.

A majority says that they should be better paid. To recruit the brightest and best, teaching needs to be a high status occupation. The teachers’ unions should have greater influence. A good number of them were sympathetic to the principle of performance pay for teachers. The Head teachers in the UK are no doubt particularly highly respected. They are more so than in any other of the countries surveyed. The rankings showed the importance of the role of teaching in education reform.

The public status of teaching will influence standards of education. This informs who decides to become a teacher in each country, how they are respected and how they are financially rewarded.

UK children learn the harsh discipline of a Chinese classroom on BBC documentary. The first episode of BBC documentary series Are Our Kids Tough Enough? Chinese School made its beginning on and soon became one of the top topics on social networks in both China and Britain, with many education specialists commenting.In the documentary, five Chinese teachers took over a British classroom with 50 teenagers aged 13 and 14 in Bohunt School in Hampshire for one month, and taught them in a typical Chinese way. Students in the experimental program had to do morning exercises, took compulsory physical education of long-distance running, and were also required to do eye exercises during breaks. At end of this episode, most of the teens found it difficult to adapt to the Chinese methodologies. Some of them even described their Chinese teachers as ‘rude’ and ‘unreasonable’.


Chinese teachers have blasted UK students as being undisciplined during a four-week teaching experiment at a secondary school in Hampshire, South East England. In the experiment, featuring a BBC documentary, entitled ‘Are Our Kids Tough enough? Chinese School’, involved five Chinese teachers taking over a 50-pupil class to test the Chinese teaching methods on British students. An exam would be held afterwards to compare the group’s results with their peers.

As the experiment was conducted, the Chinese teachers found it difficult to control the British students’ behaviors. They had to repeatedly tell the students to keep quiet and concentrate in class.

China don’t need classroom management skills because everyone is disciplined by nature, by families and by society. The UK pupils are going to be a bit livelier than the Chinese students, whereas the teachers see that as a direct challenge to their authority.

One student said she believed the Chinese discipline method would not work in the UK.

They have this discipline that would probably work in China because everyone does what the teachers say. But it doesn’t work here because no one really cares.

Chinese schools are known for long teaching hours, note-taking and strict rules. Teachers will generally pass on the knowledge to the students directly, whereas students are expected to keep quiet and memories the information. By comparison, schools in UK concern more on self-discovery. The BBC documentary showed that students at Bohunt School were separated into groups of different abilities. They were also encouraged to ask questions and discuss their work. Teachers said their approach was to guide students to find out the solution themselves.

Chinese classroom discipline is too strict, to some degree. But a free style classroom means that students can discuss academic issues in better atmosphere. The British students lack the most basic politeness. Normally, there are less than 20 students in a British classroom. Now they have 50 students. What’s more, they have to stay at school for 12 hours each day, even longer than the school-time in Hangzhou Foreign Language School.

Compared with British students, the Chinese students usually study harder and have a clearer goal due to their parents’ demands and their own planning. British teens care less about good marks or low marks, but pay attention to extracurricular activities. They have very good coping capacity and hands-on skills. In addition, they are mostly good at making speeches.

China’s tough education system produces strong results in subjects like math and science, capturing the interest of educators in the US and Europe where some feel the child-centered approach does not do enough to teach the basics.

In general children should learn to show respect to their parents at home and to their teachers in school. Simon Jenkins, a British columnist, wrote “China’s schools are testing factories. Why is Britain so keen to copy them?” for The Guardian, and taunted the traditional Chinese education style. Chinese parents desire the British private schools being set up across China. Chinese students cram into US and British universities. At the same time, many British complained not about the Chinese teachers, but about their own country’s education system.

Children should learn to show respect to their parents at home and to their teachers in school. This is what all the parents should tell their children since their childhood. However, the children in the documentary show that their parents, without any doubt, set a very bad example to them in daily life.

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