The goal of the experiment was to see how well British children aged 13 and 14 could deal with more stringent Chinese teaching methods. According to Javier Espinoza of the Telegraph, the results will be revealed on the three-part BBC2 documentary entitled Are Our Kids Tough Enough? Chinese School.The right balance of disciplined practice and free inquiry is hard to find, and neither the Chinese nor the contemporary "inclusive" approach are likely to get it right. But I cringe at referring to a reality show, no matter the human subjects clearances, passing as an experiment. And the deeper implications of Chinese approaches colliding with the British welfare state call for further study.
Fifty children from Bohunt School in Liphook, Hampshire were taught by Chinese teachers for a month. Though the creators of the documentary note that this was not a scientific endeavor, the results were an interesting study of how teaching methods, and the larger culture, differ in Britain and China.
The Chinese teachers felt that the British children were rude and undisciplined, writes Tristan Stewart-Robertson of the Scotsman, after witnessing a girl flee from class crying upon hearing bad news about her favorite band and another student who brought tea to classes.
Li Aiyun of Nanjing Foreign Language School expressed dismay over a lack of commitment from the students.
The BBC cast three Chinese teachers into a classroom of fifty British adolescents. Nobody comes out looking good.