Name: Kung-chiang ho
Class: WR 121 – English Composition
Date: Jul, 5, 11
Assignment Title: Essay #1
Taiwanese compulsory Education System needs to be renovated
Taiwanese children spend almost half time of a time staying in school. However, not all the children enjoy coming to school. A School is to prepare people with the necessary skills and knowledge so that Taiwanese students can live properly in today’s society and future lives. But many people say that high school does not
properly prepare students. Two authors who discuss this are John Taylor Gatto, a high school teacher, and Mark Jackson, a college student. They are talking about American school system has some problems. I can tell that the school system is not only a problem to students in American but a problem to Taiwanese students in Taiwan. First, Gatto was a school teacher himself for thirty years starts out by telling us his experience with “students and teachers who were both bored in the classroom
(Gatto, 23).” Next, Mark Jackson was a student at the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati. In his argument “ The Liberal Arts: A Practical View”, Mark points out a the problem was not boredom but rather a “successful student not only need
professional and vocational skills from college but also liberal arts such as,
communication skills, to be “ well-rounded “ (217).” I agree with Mark points that
students need both vocational skills and liberal arts to fulfill a person. However, Taiwanese education make students bored in class, losing the interests of learning new knowledge. Then, I have some questions.
Why do Taiwanese students do not have any freedom of choices in compulsory Education? Do Taiwanese students know what the purpose of going to school? Are they going to school for themselves or for parents? Do Taiwanese students feel bored during a class? I think it is better to give more freedom for Taiwanese students for their compulsory Educations.
Gatto challenges that the idea of compulsory education and questions the question “Do we really need school? I don’t mean education, just forced schooling: six classes a day, five days a week, and nine months a year, for twelve years. Is this deadly routine really necessary?” (24). Taiwanese’s compulsory education is like what
Gatto says, some private schools may have after class as well. Hence, Taiwanese students need to know “why” they come to school. Taiwanese compulsory school
system crams all the subjects into a student with disregarding individual interests. That is why Gatto questions “whether schooling is even necessary for current
students” (24). Taiwanese compulsory education should not just force Taiwanese students come to school and bring bad learning efficiency, little learning, to students
because they are not interesting in it and lost their attentions.
From my personal experience, I have studied in Taiwanese since elementary school to high school. I have still remembered that my school timetable has been made already. I could not change anything as a student. I have learned all the subjects in Taiwanese school such as liberal arts, writing, Physical Education, Music, Nature, Civics, Mortality—a class teaches being a good person, and majored classes, Math, physic, Chinese, English, Chemistry, Geography, History and etc. However, I do not like some of the classes but school has forced us to study these, no exception. Taiwanese compulsory Education makes up all these. The system makes students like a industry robots working on the same things everyday. Moreover, the individuality and curiosity of Taiwanese students have been compressed by Taiwanese compulsory Education system. Why do not give students a joyful and happy school system instead of studying and studying in their childhood. Therefore, I agree with Gatto that “schooling is necessary for students” (Gatto, 24). However, a better learning
environment will help students bring more skills, talents, and etc. into full play.
Next, Mark Jackson was a student at the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati. In his argument “ The Liberal Arts: A Practical View”, Jackson points out “a
successful student not only need professional and vocational skills from college but also liberal arts such as, communication skills, to be “ well-rounded“ (216)“. Jackson
agrees with Wayne Both and Marshall Gregory, in “What Is an Idea”, “a liberal
education is a principle of ideas. Moreover, a liberal education helps to develop students’ thinking skills and writing skills. (216)” For students, Jackson think school
has to let student know how liberal arts are so important for their future instead of telling to be “well-rounded” students without good explanation.
I agree with what Jackson said. I know liberal arts are as important as vocational skills. Liberal arts could make a student liberate his/ her creativity and thoughts. However, Taiwanese compulsory Education system has been made up for every student. Taiwanese students do not have any liberal arts’ “options”. All the options are
made from government. I understand liberal arts are important, no doubt. However, I think it is better to give students some options for their liberal arts not everything is built from governmental education system.
Both authors have their own opinions in education. However, there are some points that could suggest a better education from both of their argument. In “The
Liberal Arts: A Practical View”, Jackson says “Many students question the reasoning
behind a liberal arts education. But even though they may have been forced to swallow liberal arts propaganda since junior high, students seldom receive a good explanation for why they should strive to be well-rounded (216).” Being
“well-rounded” person in Taiwan means that the person must be a genius in all the
subjects and will make a fortune in the future (216). If you are good at school in Taiwan, then you will become rich. Is that true? Most of Taiwanese parents will say yes, but I will say No. Gatto refers to “George Washington, Benjamin Franklin,
Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln as they were not formally schooled and yet were very successful (24)”. Although not all Americans from 1750 to 1850 were as
successful as these 4 men. However, there is a famous person in Taiwan, Wang Yongqing. “He is the CEO of Formosa Plastics Group. Moreover, he did not go to school. He just helped his father’s business as a mechanics on fixing all the machines like heaters and refrigerators. But, he is the top 5 richest man in Taiwan “ (Wikipedia,
1). Who care whether he went to school or not?
Moreover, In “Against School: How Public Education Cripples Our Kids, and Why”, John Gatto claims that “both students and teachers feel the boredom in school
education (23)”. “Gatto told us his experience with students and teachers who were both bored in the classroom (23)”. Gatto thought that “the students were not interested
in what was being taught because they felt that what they were being asked to learn were the things they already knew, and the teachers were not more knowledgeable as they were (23) “. I can support his point by telling you that there are many of students who fall into sleep in class. I was sleeping in different classes because I do not have any interest in teachers’ literature. One reason is that teachers just treat their teaching
as a “job” and read the textbooks directly. Another reason is that a student may like music better than writing. He may falls into sleep because no interest at all. I know Gatto’s grandfather said if a person was bored it was their own fault (Gatto, 24). I
disagree with what his grandfather’s opinion. Children are not mature enough to manage theirselves.For my personal experience, I still remembered that one teacher force me to sing out loudly to whole class when I was in music class. However, I was nervous and sang poorly. Therefore, everyone laughed at me because my bad voice at that time. It just made me hate being in that class.
Next, Jackson had same kind of experience when he was in high school. “He hated Spanish class, but his councilor wanted him to take Spanish. And his counselor, Mr. Gallivan, told him that he needed a third year of foreign language to be a “well-rounded” student (217).” However, the “well- rounded “students in Taiwan are
those students who get high grade on majored classes—English, Math, Chinese,
Physic, and Chemistry (Jackson,216). For example, if a Taiwanese student who gets Music, Physical Education, and Civil classes—a class teaches the respectability of
society and government— an A, the student is not in the “well-rounded” group
(Jackson, 216). A “well-rounded” student must be good at majored classes in Taiwan. If a Taiwanese student is good at majored classes without other liberal arts, he is still a “well-rounded” student in Taiwan (Jackson, 216). That is not fair at all. That is why
Gatto says “Who wouldn’t get bored teaching students who are rude and interested only in grades? ( Gatto, 23). Although Taiwanese education seems to value liberal arts, it is not actually. I suggest that it is better to give more freedom for Taiwanese students for their compulsory Educations and schools have to treat liberal arts as important as majored classes. Therefore, Taiwanese compulsory education really needs a big change.
Moreover, I have experience with the importance of school education. When I was in Taiwanese junior high school, my English teacher wanted us to read a great person’s biography. I chose Thomas Edison’s biography. At first, I thought that this
was just some boring homework in a boring course because the class was boring and I felt this biography was also boring. Nevertheless, after I read it, I found that
Edison’s spirit is very great. Without Edison’s bulb, we might still live in a dark world.
What’s more, he invented many things that change human’s life. Therefore, it was one of the reasons why I choose engineering to be my major in the university. I want to do some research and program new software that can help the world progressive. I think the junior high school’s teacher help me to find my interest and make my future aspiration.
Though I concede that school system must have to be changed, I still insist that school is important. Therefore, I disagree with Gatto’s view schools are not
important (Gatto, 25), as my experience of Taiwan high school has shown, schools are important for children and children should go to school. However, I do not want to
take some classes but I have to. Moreover, there are big exams when you are in 8 grade and 12 grade. I really do not like this kind of education I think students should have an opportunity to choose what they like or school may need to add more liberal arts classes to students and let students know the meaning of learning. I hate everything is based on scores in Taiwan education. Every student does not care what they have learned and students only care about what the score they have got. Even though, they guess the question right, they do not want to know the truly explanation often. This is Taiwanese education’s phenomenon.
I have another experience that I choose a liberal art education class which is about applied psychology when I was in Seattle University. Psychology is the study of mind, behavior, and interaction of people. We can know what people are thinking about when we see their actions, gestures, and tones. When I was visiting my friend in the military of Taiwan, a friend, Kevin, who took the same class with me, he told me that he used the knowledge which he had learned from this class to observe his superiors, and fellows. Therefore, he could understand their thoughts and try to satisfy their needs. From his story, I realize that vocational and professional classes are not useless at all .Both of us are not willing to be a psychologist, but what he took in
psychology help him to survive in Taiwanese military. Moreover, I chose to take communication class in Seattle University, 2008. In this class, teacher trained us to be a professional public speaker. Because of the practical interview skills in this class, I got hired for mechanical assistance when I was in Seattle University. The liberal arts education does help for my career life. Consequently, I agree that liberal arts education have some values certainly because my experienced life confirms it. I think liberal arts education can help students to create a better future.
To sum up, Taiwanese school system is too traditional that is to say Taiwan should change the compulsory school system to give more freedom for students. Taiwanese education has to insert a new blood—a balanced liberal courses and
freedom. School is really good for people who want to learn “things”. However, Taiwanese Schools just want every student to be the same. It is obvious that schools make students feel bored according my experience, but this problem can be solved if schools change the system. School is a place where we learn practical knowledge and teach us how to achieve our goal and what our future lives are. The need of improving school system observed by Gatto, Jackson, and my experiences in the Taiwanese high school shows that we should change school system into a finer and more fit system for students. Furthermore, my friend experience in the military and my working experience in Seattle University demonstrate that liberal art education can benefit
students’ career or work. As school systems become more useful for students, student will be more successful at work. I really recommend Taiwanese education could think about the renovation. Schools can give more freedom of selecting classes and treat liberal arts as important as majored classes.