Discipline within Chinese Schools: Is it About Strict Timetables and Caning?
Discipline within Chinese Schools: Is it About Strict Timetables and Caning?
Chinese schools are growing in popularity in Malaysia with the Chinese education system making major inroads as many Malaysian parents opt to enrol their children within the system. There are huge pockets of Chinese population and culture within Malaysia and this has helped the schools to retain the Confucianism teachings and cultural heritage on education today.
The education generally focuses on 5 key aspects which include morality, physical, intellectual, social and aesthetic. These are very key when it comes to Confucianism teachings and there is no denying that they have a major impact on learners while in school and long afterward. The level of discipline in the Chinese schools is particularly amazing and this has left many wondering whether it is due to their strict timetables or caning which remains as a popular mode of disciplining within the system.
A growing number of non-Chinese parents in Malaysia are now choosing to send their kids to these Chinese schools, both the independent and Vernacular institutions. This rush in enrolment and interest can be ascribed to the fact that Mandarin is largely used both in Malaysia and in the schools thus driving many parents to have their own children master this language as well since it is considered to be the main language of the future.
In addition, the Chinese schools have an academic focused approach towards education and this provides many parents with a substitute for the traditional National-type of schools that are common throughout Malaysia. Some of the states including Kelantan have embraced these schools at a very high rate with non-Chinese students accounting for over 50 percent of students enrolled in the Chinese Schools. It is surprising to note that the surge has resulted in a high demand that is making many schools feel the weight thus finding it hard for them to cope.
With this in mind, it is good to look at the aspect of discipline which has left many people marvelled and wondering how the Chinese schools have managed to keep things cool in such a successful way. First, we will look at the key styles used in the schools to see whether they have any role to play in instilling discipline among the students.
There is a widespread belief that regulation enforcement within the Chinese schools is more stern and at an uncompromised levels of discipline. In fact, some parents cite images of angry teachers walking around the school compound with a cane in their hand in readiness to strike students who are unable to rehearse the multiplication tables.
Despite the fact that most parents might wonder about this style and consider it to be more military styled, a big number of other parents are said to be very much okay with this kind of strict discipline. Of course it would be understandable for a parent to think of his or her child enduring the pain of caning and some point might sympathise with his or her child. However, there is no doubt that the discipline instilled through the cane is always overflowing into the homes and the positive effects are obvious even to those parents who consider caning to be military styled.
One parent who spoke in support of caning said, “I also cane my children at home but I always make sure that I have explained to them why I am disciplining them and where they have gone wrong to warrant the caning”
“If caning done rightly without causing physical injuries to the kids or doing it in anger, i believe it is alright since it helps instil discipline in children”
“I am very much okay with caning as long as it is not done excessively and also if it is done with good reason”
This is one side of the coin. There is also a good percentage of parents who are against caning or any other form of corporal punishment and these too have their own reasons for opposing it.
“I think in my own opinion, teachers have a tendency of caning boys more than they do girls’
“A teacher was caning my son simply because he could not achieve a higher grade than C in mathematics. To me, this was absolutely unnecessary and does not help the child improve his grades. It is unnecessarily harsh to say the least”
“Some studies have shown that in most cases, there are long-term harms associated with corporal punishment”
This notwithstanding, a big number of parents are now saying the Chinese schools are slowly doing away with the cane and instead embracing one-on-one style of discipline more and more including counselling.
“If my son had some good reasons for not completing his work on time, the teacher easily understands and instead of caning gives her some more time to complete it.”
“Although teachers still carry the cane around, it is only a matter of tradition and for a show but mostly they don’t use it.”
“There are different types of teachers in the schools; some are playful and kind while others just look scary although in the real sense, they are jovial and amusing.”
School hours are a bit strict in the Chinese schools than in the traditional national schools. School hours normally begin early in the morning and are divided into different categories or activities. The academic hours normally begin from 7:25am and run all the way up to 1:25pm. However, a big majority of the Chinese schools have optional tuition hours after the usual school program and these run up to 3:30pm although some also have night classes. A comparison of the different school timetables shows a clear distinction between Chinese schools, national schools and private schools.
When it comes to the time allocated to the subjects, these schools apportion different hours to different subjects and there is clear cut dissimilarities. For example, a Chinese school gives 5 hours for Mandarin; National school gives Mandarin (Elective) 1.5 hours while a private school gives 1 hour to visual art. On the other hand, a Chinese school apportions 4.5 hours to Bahasa Malaysia while both national and private schools give the same subject 6 hours each.
English in Chinese schools is given 1 hour while national schools will normally give it 5 hours. In private schools, students learn speech and drama as opposed to learning English as such as this is given 1 hour. This is just a tip of the iceberg. All other subjects are handled differently and given different durations apart from gym which is given 1 hour all across the schools.
It is very clear that the three different schools have very huge differences when it comes to the hours assigned for different subjects. In case a school is more learning oriented and allocates much of the student’s time to homework, then you can easily balance thing at home by choosing to play and relax more. With the support of their parents, children can adapt very well and are increasingly enjoying as they advance their knowledge in the Chinese schools.
One thing is true though, the level of discipline in these schools is very high and there is a clear distinction between the Chinese schools going children and those who attend other schools especially where learning programmes are not very academic.
The tide is quickly turning and more parents are choosing to take their kids in Chinese schools and the decision is largely informed by a number of factors. While there are many politics surrounding the presence of Chinese schools in Malaysia, there is no doubt that they are taking root and quickly becoming an important part of the society. China is at the moment promising to be a major economic block and an important player in the global market. As a result, many parents in Malaysia still believe that taking their children to the Chinese schools could prove helpful in the future as it could help the integrate easily in the competitive world especially where much influence is likely to come from the Chinese.
Chinese schools are at some level funded by the government at the primary level but once the students reach the secondary level, things change and the funding has to be done privately. Bahasa Malaysia has also been increasing in proficiency among the Chinese students contrary to the claims floated by many who have felt that these schools are not putting the required effort to teach the language to the children. Parents wishing to enrol their children in Chinese schools are encouraged to start them early in Mandarin at the preschool level. This is to help avoid any cultural disconnect and shock especially when they start learning using this language in their primary school level.
All said and done, many parents are considering the Chinese schools as the first choice especially those interested in academic performance. Sending the children to Chinese schools also exposes them to more languages in addition to Malay and English. It would be good to consider all the merits and demerits when making a choice as to where the parent would want to enrol his/her children for learning.