Saturday, 10 September 2011
Thursday, 18 August 2011
First of all, it is easy to remember that China has a population which is absolutely vast. There is competition for job places, school places, university places, bus spaces; and the one time I went to Starbucks even that was a standing affair. So anything that can give an edge must be treated as an advantage, especially any form of proficiency in the world’s business language. So heralds the growth in English language schools. But is this just a profit making delusion, or a worthwhile use of a student’s time and parent’s money?
There would seem to be times when a language school’s desire to turn a profit would follow the same path as, and be conductive to, a student’s learning. Well, in my recent experience, not necessarily. A quick check of one of China’s video sites brings up many videos of so-called ‘famous teachers’, many taken hidden-camera style as paparazzi may snap a celebrity. And unfortunately these ‘famous teachers’ are too often indeed redolent of entertainers. In the majority of the videos they are signing, dancing, or doing something else to amuse the students. Often not even in English, the teachers add to their cult of personality by providing enjoyment. Students love it, and they want to come back to the school. Parents love it because their children are happy and it seems like they are learning. The teacher loves it since he is earning more money and reputation. And the language school loves it too since they are securing repeat business and buffing their coffers. Yet it is clear the whole cycle is delusionally flawed, quality teaching is merely displaced by entertainment, parents are hoodwinked into believing class is actually doing something good for their children, and the language school are well-aware that such a method provides rich rewards.
Tuesday, 31 May 2011
Saturday, 28 May 2011
During my time in China I have frequently seen Maoist style graphics reinvented within a modern context, each time used for different reasons, and leading to differing end-results.
For those interested in original style propoganda posters, there is a wonderful selection worth looking at here.
Friday, 27 May 2011
Tuesday, 24 May 2011
Here there is a celebratory image of the successful Chinese space mission of 2003, which propelled China as the third-nation to enter space. There is a blissful innocence to the image, which discounts the globo-political motivation for the mission. Of further interest is the image of two astronauts next to each other. In fact, China has only sent one astronaut into space, Yang Liwei.