New Research Paper: ‘TESOL’ Education in China


For this Sunday, I have posted a research paper here that discusses the cultural effects of English education in China.  Really thought-provoking stuff.

Have a great week, fam!


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One Side of the Story: Taiwan and China are Different

Another lovely weekend helping exchange students get acclimated to Fairfield University.

We have a new Taiwanese student, and I couldn’t help but to notice more Americans ask the same question:  “So you’re Chinese?”

A question followed by the same response each time:  “China and Taiwan are not the same thing!!”

Please view this…

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Kristin Lynch: China and the U.S. have DIFFERENT Education-styles

I recently emailed a few questions to Kristin Lynch, the program manager at EduBoston: an international organization that connects (F1) [0]    Chinese-exchange students with host families, education, and a whole bunch of other programs in America.  (You can read the full interview here).

Annually, the number of Chinese students studying in the U.S. has grown.[1]   Clearly, these students must see some value in American education, otherwise they would not be arriving in such large numbers.

Lynch points out, “Perhaps the main reason parents want their children to study here and students want to come, is the different educational philosophy. Education in the U.S. is interactive and student-centered.  It is designed to encourage student inquiry, curiosity, analytical thinking, and a love of learning.”  Meanwhile, China has a “more rigid, teacher-centered education system, the signals can be confusing” which emphasizes listening, memorization and formal exams.

These views run contrary to news headlines.

Popular criticism: the U.S. education system is “lagging” behind China’s.2

Those who rank the world’s top school systems each year have concluded that America’s school system has fallen behind those in other countries during the past few years.  This assessment has sparked education reform and Common Core policies throughout the U.S. [3]  

However, the ranking systems’ metrics do not measure self-esteem, self-efficacy, creative thinking capacity, and other qualitative types of “brains.”

When American news perpetuates the fear that China will “overtake” the United States with their superior education system, they neglect a crucial fact:  If a student fails the Gao’Kao, China’s college-entrance standardized tests, they will not receive their high school diploma.  The Gao’Kao does not allow for second-tries or do-overs, so students face intense pressure from a young age to succeed, as failure means “no degree, poor job prospects and a life full of regret.”  This system has some nasty side-effects on the psyche of young students. [4]   

Many parents in China view America’s holistic education favorably.

Lynch notes that U.S. education places more emphasis on the individuality of each student: “[In America], many assignments involve choice, exploration of one’s own interests, and expression of one’s own ideas.”  Also noteworthy, participation in Chinese classrooms is discouraged while in the U.S. participation and class discussions form a portion of a students’ overall grade.

According to Lynch, more and more teachers are also using project-based learning to get students using academic knowledge and skills to make real things and solve real problems, “creating a stimulating, memorable, and confidence-building learning experience.”

The focus on the well-being and self-esteem of students’ compels many to pursue American schooling, even if China’s schooling yields higher test scores. “Many Chinese parents also recognize the value of sports and clubs… and they want their children to can participate in them.”  She also adds in that “activities, such as sports, clubs, music, and volunteering, allow students to explore, discover, and develop their interests and talents.”

So, what do you think? Feel free to email me at or leave a comment.


If you are interested in EduBoston’s programs or hosting an international student, check out their website:

[0]  An F1 visa, which differentiates from a J1, allows for a fuller, more long-term educational experience in America.





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2017: Upcoming 8 EXCITING Chinese Cultural Experiences!

2017 is now in session.

This year is going to be pretty amazing for me because of the major plans that I have underway in all things Chinese.  In formulating these ideas, I picked up on a bit of superstition: I have 8 total plans.  See, Chinese culture views the number ‘8’ is of good luck due to its similar pronunciation to the word ‘fortune’ or ‘wealth.’

I want to share these plans with you today, but there’s also a catch:  In Chinese culture, the number ‘4’ represents bad luck due to its similar pronunciation with the world ‘death.’  In the name of not jinxing my supposed good luck, I’ll leave out the fourth item on my agenda.  Only time will reveal what other project I have underway, so if you’re at all interested then I suggest that you follow along with my weekly updates on this blog.

1.  From June to July, I will spend 4 weeks in Beijing tutoring a host family in the English language

I enrolled in China T’s World Explorers program, where low prices and student discounts can take me Beijing for 4 weeks.  Living in a Chinese household will immerse me in Chinese culture in a different way than dorm-life could.  (Plus, I’ll detour through India afterwards for two weeks to hang out with my friend, Sri: a whole separate adventure.).

2.  From June to August, I will complete a 120-hour program to receive a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) Certificate

Receiving a TEFL Certification has some unknown benefits.  Many English-teaching jobs around the world require only a TEFL certificate, where many of these positions are temporary.  These short-term positions means that I can travel the world inexpensively by teaching in one country, traveling throughout the region until my next job begins.  My inner-nomad may reveal itself, as this lifestyle is sustainable for a long time.

3.  In the Fall Semester, I will study abroad in Beijing and travel more extensively throughout China

After this summer’s “dry run,” I will return to the Chinese capital for a university experience.  This long-term, extensive language-immersion opportunity will allow me to rigorously study Mandarin.  During the semester, I’ll take a school trip through ancient Silk Road cities.  (After the semester ends, I’ll check out South Korea and backpack through Thailand before returning home. )

4. Shhh!

5.  In March, I will lead a team in establishing an advocacy group to specifically address the needs of Chinese-exchange students

This is an on-going, collaborative process which has already begun.  Working with professionals and campus-organizations, I am leading a team to establish greater representation of the particular needs and issues faced by Chinese-exchange students.  Few American universities– even state schools– have explored this territory.  Take note!

6.  By December 31st, I will take the HSK Chinese Proficiency Test to receive certification in Mandarin Chinese

My goal: receive an ‘Advanced C’ (professional) certification after studying abroad.  The past 5 interesting years in building up my language skills have fueled unexpected friendships and adventures, and this year I seek an official return on investment.

7.  Until May 2016, I now officially work as a ‘Peer Mentor’ for a new exchange student

This student may or may not be Chinese, and I will not know for another two weeks, but I will do my very best job to advocate for this individual anyhow.  My school has partnered with a Mentoring Collective (organization) called Sheerwater, a company which will match me up with the one.  Its like but for Mentors and Mentees (exchange students).

8. This January, I will help lead the Fairfield University international students’ Spring Orientation

In only 10 days, this adventure will commence.  Working with a super talented and fun team last August was a blast, and we will build off of those experiences to upgrade the process to provide more value than ever before.

Needless to say, the adventures in store for 2017 should ‘rock my socks off.’  As the pieces fall into place, I will keep WHOC updated with new discoveries and tid-bits.

If you’d like to keep up with my adventures, don’t forget to subscribe.

Happy New Years!

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