By Annie Zhao, University of Bath, England
Student-centred learning has some difficulty making headways in China. First, it is about choices. The students are not enable to make choice about what they need to or want to learn.
Many Chinese teachers teach to textbooks because it is the “given” or mandated material to deliver. They have a course to run. Many teachers feel they don’t have time to stay for discussion or for an individual kid to express something clearly.
When the teacher asks a question, the time the kid is allowed to answer it is to say “yes” or “no” when they are preparing for examinations. However, foreign teachers seem to be allowed for more space for choices, as they are not accountable for examination scores directly, and they are supposed to bring in diversity.
Second, the class size and discipline are problematic to handle in group works and its evaluation. Student-centred teaching is more demanding to teachers. Whole-class transmission is the main experience many Chinese teachers have had. They need professional training for the skills to facilitate student-centred learning.