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Are Chinese Students Cleverer Than Other Students?

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For this question, nearly all of people including foreigners told me "yes". The reasons are: 1. Chinese students have a high mark in any types of examinations; 2. Chinese students can learn every thing by heart quickly; 3. Chinese students are good at math, physics, chemistry and other scientific subjects at school. It seems they're reasonable. However, the following facts are also to be reckoned: No Chinese has become the candidate of Nobel Prize in scientific knowledge area; less than 0.01% of the recognized creative products are created by Chinese while most of Chinese "creativity" are based on simulation; After Mr. Hua Luogeng, no Chinese mathematician has come to the stage of globe in the past 30 years. And please notice, in term of population, Chinese account for 25% of the total population of the world. Since Chinese students are so "genius", why those "genius" disappear after decades? As a local Chinese, I'm really afraid that I'll be the common target of my fellows after publishing this article. Chinese dare not to ask questions about the nation itself. To be honest, I think that Chinese lack the courage to reflect.

To define a student, educators, kids and parents like to use the standard of examinations. Chinese students is the type who are professional in dealing with examinations. In Chinese mainland, the method used by students are practicing the previous exam papers over and over again and recite the knowledge spots which should be examined. And the spots of each time of examination are similar to each time. Thus, we shall determine that Chinese students are more skilful than any other nation's students. That is not a symbol of clever, much less intelligence. Because once the exam passes, all knowledge is forgotten by students. And the students mostly never know, exatly never be willing to know, the logic connection of the knowledge or the application of the knowledge.

This phenomenon is most apparent in Olympic Science Competitions. Every year thousands of Chinese kids are forced to take part in and trained like prisoners in jails. I once participated in one time a few years ago. The teachers training the kids just let them do previous questions repeatedly, without allowing students ask why or why not. And when the kids step inside the exam classrooms, they've been alive machines and only know what to write when meet the certain form of questions. As for math quality, I can assert that none of them obtain the quality after training. I once had a chance to meet a first-prize-winner of Olympic Physics Competition. He almost knew all methods to solve all types of competition questions. But he failed to make the exposition of why the setting sun is red. The reason is just that when sun is setting the atmosphere the light should pass through is thicker and only red light has the long wavelength to do it. Is it hard to know? He was just a skilful person in solving competitions but an idiot in studying physics. Perhaps most Chinese students are in this mode: skilful in reciting and exam but rather stupid in studying actually.
Summarizing the opinions above, I'd like to say that Chinese students are really on the petty tricks. As for substantial academic quality, it is always impossible to most Chinese students to acquire. The characteristics fostered in student era then become the cause of national tragedy in national economic situation. Chinese students are really "clever", regarding tricks and skills as signs of clever or high IQ. And when they go to society and join economic production, Chinese become a group of skilled labor, without a bit ability to create or arrange value chains. Because they've been buried by their cleverness, which is skilful indeed. Students from other countries, though not so skilful, not so "clever", has the spare time to try to explore in science because they don't have to squeeze time to make themselves skilful.

I want to exemplify the idea above with the suffer of my friend. He was admitted to Tsinghua University, the No.1 university in Chinese mainland (It is not very pretty compared with the ones in western world because good university in China indicates a huge collection of those skilful men). After entering the college, he has been awared with numerous levels of scholarships and then praised by professors and fellows as genius in science. Consequently the university sent him to University of Edinburgh, a top university in the UK and the world, far more advanced than Tsinghua. But that was the initial of his adversity. In the first month, the professor asked the class to make an experiment about rocks in order to confirm a statement on textbook. Experiment in the UK and the one in China is different. In China, the teacher tell you every steps of the experiment beforehand and the one who are most skilful to it earns the highest grades. Of course this guy is a profession in Chinese experiments. But things are changed in Edinburgh. The teacher only told them the instruments they can use and then give them a deadline. What was the steps? The teacher said nothing about it. The deadline to hand in the report was only two weeks. My friend was only a skilful man but without any ability to come up with a method to deal with it by himself! He devoted himself in the lab for over 14 hours a day while those British students only worked 8 hours. Because they know the methods to solve problems. It is sure my friend failed the report at last. In the next month, the professor asked the student to pose a statement and then write a paper to interprete it. As a pretty student in China, my friend can recite every formula and master the most advanced and speedy calculation. Nevertheless, things changed. He attempted to copy a paper from internet, just like he did in China. But the professor denied all of the content and found his action. Having no alternative, he joined another group made up by British students. He had no ability to carry out his own opinion because in China he was forced to do those skills without considering new opinions. He was marginalized by his mates. But one thing he could show off: Those British boys could ask him what the formula is! His fast reflection really shocked them. But his calculation was useless: In the UK, students use calculator, only Chinese kids are trained to calculate without modern device!

I consider that the reason Chinese are treated as low-income labor in global industrial chain lies in the common sense that Chinese students should be clever. And Chinese students are even proud of their "cleverness". I appeal that the petty tricks should stop! When a type of people seem to be quick-mind just according to the surface phenomena, they're the most stupid indeed!



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