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Students' Writing Paper in China

Discussion in 'Teaching overseas' started by missmuon, Feb 7, 2011.

  1. missmuon

    missmuon New commenter

    Hi All,
    This has been a problem for me since September.
    I teach IGCSE Maths in a regional international school in China, and was surprised to see that students don't use files or folders to organise or keep records of their work. The worse thing is, they don't use any standard writing paper or exercise books (which they have to buy themselves). They use the textbook itself or scrap pieces of paper to do sums. This practice was allowed by the inexperienced administrators (who never studied or taught International Courses) before I joined. I am starting a new course in February. Now exams are round the corner, I am wondering if I should impose some standards for the new semester. A4 lined paper seems to be scarce/unusual in this part of China. What sized paper is standard?
    Did you have same or similar problems ? How did you solve it?
     
  2. missmuon

    missmuon New commenter

    Hi All,
    This has been a problem for me since September.
    I teach IGCSE Maths in a regional international school in China, and was surprised to see that students don't use files or folders to organise or keep records of their work. The worse thing is, they don't use any standard writing paper or exercise books (which they have to buy themselves). They use the textbook itself or scrap pieces of paper to do sums. This practice was allowed by the inexperienced administrators (who never studied or taught International Courses) before I joined. I am starting a new course in February. Now exams are round the corner, I am wondering if I should impose some standards for the new semester. A4 lined paper seems to be scarce/unusual in this part of China. What sized paper is standard?
    Did you have same or similar problems ? How did you solve it?
     
  3. If it bothers you then sure, impose standards. Personally I don't care what type of records students keep (notebooks, looseleaf etc) but I certainly wouldn't allow them to keep none at all or to use the textbook. I can't see that it matters what exactly they use.
    I don't really see that this issue has anything to do with administrators. Surely it is up to teachers to set the standards they want for their own classes.
     
  4. I think someone from my school (also in China) brought some A4 lined paper from the UK, then had a local printer copy it. That way we have a supply of lined paper for our students, but it is very expensive (relative to the cost of other supplies in China). Graph paper is even more expensive and we use it sparingly.
    I appreciate that this doesn't help you, but I understand how it feels when you realize that the ring binders, school supplies etc that we buy in Europe, that is made in China, can't be purchased here.
     
  5. missmunchie

    missmunchie New commenter

    That sounds so annoying!
    I found a good site where you can print your own graph paper. I assume you have access to plain A4 and a printer though!
    http://www.waterproofpaper.com/graph-paper/
    Maybe you can do the same for lined paper too?
     
  6. missmunchie

    missmunchie New commenter

    http://www.printablepaper.net/
    For lined paper, which is very hard to get in A4 size even in Spain!
    They like to write on grid paper here for every subject.
    Hope this helps.
     
  7. I used to buy folders at the local Carrefour. Do you have one there?
     
  8. Thanks everyone. I'll look for folders in Carrefour. I am thinking of taking from UK samples of folders, ring binders, papers etc. and hand them to admin to look for similar stuff and buy these for students, but there is a strange organisation here in my school - a profit oriented one: students are not given anything free as in England. As a quick, temporary solution I'll ask students to buy a ream of any printing paper they can find and give my own pocket folders to keep their work together. I'll consider myself lucky if I get my money back.

    Btw, what things would you take to China apart from tea, coffee and right sized clothes! ? I haven't seen fresh milk yet (where I live) in China. Did you?
     
  9. At the end of my tenure just about every bit of food I bought was imported, inc UHT milk from NZ. There were just too many reports of dodgy food standards going on and was one of the main reasons we left. Even now we still look at food packaging to see if it was produced in China.
    We arrived with three suitcases and left with a 20' container many years later!
     
  10. I don't think it is strange not to give students anything for free. The only place I've ever seen things given to students (in terms of stationery) was the UK and I found that strange!
    Fresh milk was easy to buy in big cities in China (thinking Beijing/Shanghai type big) but I have no idea about smaller places. Tea, coffee and right sized clothes (and I'm fat) were also easy enough to get (or to get made). Maybe you just need to visit Beijing or Shanghai once a year and stock up.
    Personally I took moisturiser (because so much of it there had whitener), deodorant and my favourite snacks. The longer I lived there the less I missed but those were my staple buys.

     
  11. Lennoc, it would be a bit worrying if it wasn't 'easy enough' to get tea in China (!) Fresh milk may be easy to get in the big cities but maybe not the smaller ones. Powdered milk is best avoided as there was a recent scare about it being unsuitable for babies, and we're not much bigger, really.
    I also heard that industrious Chinese entrepreneurs had recently figured out a way of copying eggs, and they were even selling them as regular foodstuff too. Recommend the hard-boiled option always out there.
    Bread was pretty easy to get, but they sweeten it with either raisins or purple rashes of sugar for some reason, oh, and there's no such thing as brown bread! If you really want to eat proper Chinese food, like you're used to eating in the West, then it's probably best to take it with you, too. Chinese 'China food' on the mainland just isn't up to much, unless you like your chicken or duck or whatever 'with bones' for no additional charge.
    A local 'chicken and rice' meal, after you'd managed to work out that the restaurant sold it, and that that's what you wanted - several hours later maybe - tends to consist of 90% white rice, and 9% bones and 1% chicken, roughly, and it is a bit rough.

    But in regards to the original poster, yes, asking your pupils to buy an A4 lined and margin pad of paper is like asking them to prove relativity. What's wrong with writing all their notes in the little margin of the textbook, they will ask? The truth is that this concept hasn't reached china yet; A4 pads of paper. Weird, huh? But sure, if you take them a sample, they will copy it exactly instantly!

    I also couldn't buy Attendance Registers in Guangzhou, or Teacher Planners, or Wall Planners or Tipex or silly stupid other things that you take for granted in the West. I don't think I had Post-It notes, but I could be wrong. Or, yes, I had them, but they were copies, and they'd forgotten that the original idea of Post-it notes was that they stuck to things, and these had no 'sticky' bit - seriously! I had post-it notes flying away like the post under the aircon! Like yellow little fishes dancing all over the place on my desk, trying to tramp them down with non-existent hole-puncher!

    [Have I mentioned there's no facebook in China? And you still can't talk about the three T's - Tianamen Square, Thaiwan or Tibet? And the students have never been taught the truth about the cultural revolution of Chairman Mao?? And you can't mention it either?]

    In conclusion, my advice is take everything you need with you to China, including Freedom, Democracy and Fair Play because you won't find them there... Without wishing to dismiss the world's largest population entirely out of hand so lightly.

    I will leave it to someone else far more experienced with China than I to explain how ugly the architecture is, and the total lack of taste in architectural design, amounting to wearing your underwear over your pants, when it comes to drying your laundry on the balcony outside. Errrrrrr..... I could go on, but I doubt anyone would be interested!

    Enjoy your trip!


    Without wishing to be too cruel, you are not long in China before you realise why so many Chinese decide to emmigrate.
     

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