The information age

Updated: 2012-12-03 09:47

By Xu Jingxi (China Daily)

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Du Fang, Feng's favorite Chinese teacher during his primary school years, admits teachers are increasingly pressured to know more than their core subjects because students are exposed to a wide range of online information.

"If I fail to answer a question raised by my student, I will tell him or her that I'm not almighty," Du says. "As a teacher, I am here to guide them to distinguish between good and bad, and true from false, so they can make good use of online information."

Feng's father, Feng Yingang, agrees the Internet can't replace scholastic education.

"My son still needs guidance to sift through information on the Internet and build his knowledge base. He is like a kung fu lover, who learns all kinds of martial arts moves but lacks the internal strength to master them," the father says.

"It would be great if the schoolteachers can guide my son."

Feng Shaoyi also admits that he has difficulties digesting the glut of online information.

"I will enjoy school's lessons better if the teachers can discuss hot issues related to the subject and tell us what materials we can refer to better understand these issues," the boy says.

"But teachers just regurgitate textbooks' texts."

Feng says some textbooks are outdated. For example, he owned his first cell phone at 3 and is able to download pictures with smartphones. But his computer science textbook covers basics like search engine use.

He also complains about junior high's heavy study load.

During his primary school days, classes were over at 4:30 pm, and he had time for his hobbies. But in junior high, he leaves home at 6 am and classes end at 6 pm. He goes home and does homework until 10 pm.

"School life seems to be all about classes, homework, exams and rankings. Students who score well in exams are called good students, while those who don't ask teachers questions during the 10-minute break between classes are labled bad students," Feng says, crossing his arms and scowling.

Between mumbles, he reveals his aspiration is to become head of state so he can make everyone happy.

He says he doesn't talk about his dream because everyone seems more concerned about how important it is to get into a top high school, then a top university and, finally, find a good job.

He doesn't believe this is the ideal route.

Feng writes on Sina Weibo: "Almost everyone in China will say there's something wrong with you if you tell them your life ambition is to become president, but people in the US would encourage you."

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