I have returned from China, freshly jet-lagged and also — congratulations, stalkers, here’s your newest piece of personal information to twist — engaged. Yes!
Anyway, there will be more substantive posts later, obviously, but as I shake off the throes of jet lag and prepare to plunge into what promises to be a much busier spring work schedule (fair warning — I probably won’t be able to update as much), I wanted to link to this piece on Jenny Zhu’s blog because I find it pretty fascinating. Talking about the massive training school New Oriental [新东方], she writes,
Speaking of jokes, New Oriental is famous for its team of ‘edutainers’ who have mastered the art of engaging students. It is even said that the school partly evaluates teachers on the number of times they make students laugh during a class. Funny as it was, what really resonated with me is the teacher’s point of the lasting effect of GMAT prep, or in his words ‘America’s silent revolution in China’. He said that to do well in GMAT, Chinese students need to reverse their ways of thinking, namely to learn to think critically. To question, to reason and to separate facts from opinions are counter-intuitive for a Chinese student. But when they are exposed to these skills as young adults, there is no going back. According to the teacher, during his 10 years at New Oriental, only 10% of students end up going to business schools in the U.S. But regardless of the path they choose, the way they see the world is changed. They are not easily fooled anymore. That’s America’s silent revolution in China.
I find this interesting because it very much flies in the face of what I heard from a close friend who was employed as a New Oriental teacher for a brief time last year before quitting out of frustration. I can’t quote her directly as I have discovered recently that some readers of this site are attempting to use details from it to sabotage my personal life (incompetently!) and I don’t want to bring any friends into that; suffice it to say that the picture of New Oriental she painted was not one of free-wheeling “edu-tainers” engaged in teaching critical thinking skills. I’m curious, then, as to whether anyone else here has experience with New Oriental as a teacher or a student, and if so, what their experiences were.
(Apologies for the short and informal post. More coming soon, but there are some things I need to take care of and a lot of news I need to catch up on before I can dig into something more juicy than this…)