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The state of Chinese international students

Tonyaod (824 posts) • 0


Here is an article on the problems facing US universities regarding the cottage industry of training/agency schools that help students study abroad. It specifically names New Oriental as being part of the problem.

I believe this is going to be the beginning of the next stage of the arms race as US universities clamp down on fraudulent applications and Chinese business' ever more creative ways to circumvent the process; it's a lose-lose situation for all involved.

As someone who firmly believes in education, it is a sad situation as cram schools are really nothing more than a drug dealer, promising you a good time without caring about the crash that will inevitably come. I really, really hope this is the beginning of a new era where Chinese students and their parents begin to realize that studying abroad is more than just the application process, you actually have to be prepared for the rigors of academic study. The irony of it all is, parents and students cite the quality of education of western universities for wanting to study abroad while using all possible ways to dilute that quality by seeking entrance when they are obviously not up to standard.

On a side-note. I had dealings with New Oriental teaching one of their prep programs for a western university. The curriculum and standards outlined by the university is very clear cut, the students must submit their own work, the work must be adequate; if the students completes all courses with passing grades, they are accepted into that university. The program managers had other ideas. They marketed it as pay us the money and we will make sure you pass.

When the students began submitting unacceptable work, I was told I must give them the answers so thy can pass. After I refused, I was told I must give unlimited chances to resubmit the work after I have graded them (in essence, keep changing the wrong answers until they get it right). After I refused again, I started receiving work that I know they were not capable of. Needless to say, New Oriental gave me bad reviews, trumped up some charges and I'm no longer teaching that program. And good riddance because the program will not last 2 years I will still have my integrity.

nnoble (889 posts) • 0

At the university I work at we set up a preparation course to overcome the difficulties students experienced after they arrived in Europe. Ex New Oriental students in particular struggled with productive skills in English. Many students were unable to communicate easily and effectively with foreign lecturers and they lacked research skills. The in-house preparation course largely overcame these problems. Minimum band-scores in all four English skills were imposed, research assignments were set by the receiving university and at some point in the latter stages of the two year process, students took their English tests. The students and receiving universities now proceed with confidence and the graduation failure rate has been all but eliminated. We just need more qualified foreign teachers to maintain the momentum.

It's often foreign university greed that's to blame, students take the quick (much too quick) and easy option and organisations like New Oriental make a fortune out of the whole sorry process. In the end, students and their families suffer most and it's heart-breaking to see ambitions destroyed due to this murky business.

Being refused work by New Oriental on the grounds you mentioned is something that should only enhance your CV (resume).

fixitwithahammer (165 posts) • 0

True, all you are saying, so true.

The problem is that Chinese parents don't have the capacity to understand the idea. Too much cultural noise, and the nonsense they grow up with.

They just plainly don't understand. They may understand the concept, but they are too lazy, or not brave enough, to take the risk to prepare for that (mental) leap over the pond.

I have a private student, her English is fantastic, speaks fluent, reads like a master, her test are always good but never best in class, she says she doesn't even study for it.

Obviously, it's not just my good work and merit, but mostly her parents.
So, a few weeks back a Canadian primary school scout came by, to select, kids to go over there for a 5 month exchange program.

The parents go nuts, right?

Money waved in their hands, all sort of tests and grades are shown to the recruiter, in the good old Chinese fashion.

Chinese school sets up a testing system for the recruiting team, only kids the Chinese school selected, are pushed in front of the recruiter.

It reminded me a little bit like the Cinderella story, bad stepmother pushing her daughters in front of the royal servant.

So at last, the recruiter thanks the school for being such sweet and selfless, helpers. He tells them in the nicest way possible, that he knows about the Chinese dynamics of test results, that he doesn't care about any of the former, compliments how cute the students are, and that he is very good at his job, you know? -being a recruiter, and what not.

He went on, established interviews with all the students, as good or as bad, if they may seem, to determine who might be a candidate for the program.

And surprise, none of the best-of-the-best- students made it?

After the tapping sound of all the parent's and teacher's jaws and faces, dropping on the neatly cleaned fancy Dali marble floor.

He goes on, interviews the kids, according to what is required for a 5 month life in an English speaking country. He hands out a few multiple choice tests. Even then, they (the school) is still trying to get hold of the test material, so they can let the students memorize the test and interview questions.

You guys know what I am talkin' about.

So the recruiter finishes his job announces the kids that can actually handle THEE ABROAD, he has a beer at wenhuaxiang, and gets on his plane at the next day.
While the school still tries to figure out what just happened.

That is how the Chinese system will change. People only recruiting people being able to handle the real world, tested by real life.

I have met loads of friends that bought their credits, to apply for school abroad, more than 80 percent came back and said they had no chance of catching up with the pace and difficulty, overseas.

One friend told me, she thinks ; that 4 years studying in China equals about 2 year into oversea schools.

She is not a science major. Science majors are pretty up to date here, from what I hear.

The problem, as some posters mentioned before. There is no national united urge, to bring the country forward.

Everyone stands for himself, trying to cash in as much as they can. Well, plus the graft problem.

Dog eat dog world may work for survival but it won't build a good society.

In short, the dragon will never fly, because it is sitting on it's own tail.

fixitwithahammer (165 posts) • 0

I don't think it's greed from overseas universities, at least not away from U.S. and U.K., is the problem.

Even at greedy schools and countries, failure rates are not looked upon, happily.
They look bad, especially when the review board is flying in.

In other European countries, you can study for free or at least for cheap.

But even there Chinese students often struggle.

As you said they have no or little concept of problem solving skills or critical thinking.

Most teachers have the skill to teach or introduce the concept of it, but there is no demand for it in China. Quite opposite.

I was told to stop teaching critical thinking and problem solving initiatives in my classes.
So, I had to hide it and give those skills a nice and shiny socialist name. That worked for a while.

Tonyaod (824 posts) • 0

Arms race as in Chinese schools are going to find a way to circumvent the verification process which leads to more stringent vetting process which leads to more creative ways to game the system, etc.

tigertiger - moderator (5096 posts) • 0

The biggest problem with Chinese students is ... the parents.
If the student is lazy, try to tell the parents and see what happens.
If you student is not a natural genius, fit for MIT/Harvard, try to tell the parents.
If you want to teach the children in a way the student does not like, does not understand (read creative thinking, learning by doing), try to tell some parents.

mike4g_air (788 posts) • 0

Hammer, you got .

This explains China's international business dealings.
There is no national united urge, to bring the country forward.

Everyone stands for himself, trying to cash in as much as they can. Well, plus the graft problem.

Dog eat dog world may work for survival but it won't build a good society.

In short, the dragon will never fly, because it is sitting on it's own tail.

Alien (3819 posts) • 0

Commoditisation of education has always missed the point - on purpose.

@MikeL sounds like a lot of places.

Tonyaod (824 posts) • 0

Please explain why education shouldn't be a commodity? Are you suggesting it should only belong to the elites? Or that it should be specifically tailored to each individual.

Any Alienese speaker in the house?

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