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7 Surprising Facts You Didn't Know About Chinese Schools

作者:纽带中文

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The summer ends and I still haven't learnt how to let go... But the kids are back to school? What a relief!

Today I decided to share with you 7 facts about Chinese schools that can be quite surprising for westerners!

1.Not just 1 class leader, we got a leader for everything!

In school you might used to have a class leader and that’s all. But in China, there’s not only a class leader, but also a cleaning leader, a sports leader, a literature and art leader, a discipline leader, and it goes on and on! Being in a Chinese school is like being part of a community and the experience might be completely different from most western countries.

2. The "forced" noon naps become lifelong habits...

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In many countries, if you fall asleep during the day, your boss or your teacher might think you're less disciplined. But if you're in China, or you work with Chinese people, believe me, WE UNDERSTAND!! You just need a nap!!!!

So what is the ubiquitous nap culture? Chinese students have grown a nap habit from kindergarten.ᅠIf you visit Chinese schools at noon, you might see a whole class of students sleeping on their desks, in a very uncomfortable position...

Funny thing is that most Chinese children refused to take a nap in kindergartens, but after initial resistance, we eventually develop a life-long noon nap habit. What’s important is that after 20 to 30 minutes of rest (even on desk...), we could feel less tired and more productive during afternoon classes.

By the way, a discipline leader is usually in charge of noon nap period. So even if you don’t have the habit, try to fake it well!


3. Forget about janitors, we got a cleaning duty

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It is common for Chinese students to take care of the environment they are studying in, and it’s called a duty 值日. Cleaning tasks include swiping, mopping, wiping, inside or outside classrooms, leaves cleaning in autumn, and snow cleaning in winter. A cleaning leader or a labor leader will organize regular group cleaning activities as well.


4.   Recess or organized morning exercises

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Recess (课间休息) is a short daily period, usually 30 to 45 minutes, after the second class in the morning. Chinese students can’t do whatever they want do, instead, they must head to the playground and do morning group exercises (课间操), usually 广播体操 in spring, summer, and autumn, but jogging in winter. Most schools may do the same set of exercises, however, some schools across the country also adopted innovative group activities.

If you ask Chinese teachers for their opinions, you might hear the words 团结 or 集体 or 凝聚力(instead of putting individuals first, we highlight the concept of a group). What do you think?


5. Bittersweet self-study sessions

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Classes tend to last longer on a daily basis than 8 hours, which means most of us must actually be in classroom before our first class, and stay after the last class of the day. Chinese schools call these morning self-study sessions 早自习/早自修, and evening self-study sessions 晚自习/晚自修. Usually, 45 minutes for早自习, 45 to 90 minutes for 晚自习, depending on your age, school requirements, etc.

Funny thing is that though it’s “self-study session”, the period is usually occupied by test preps or some mini tests. But when there’s no test, you can do homework, or study according to your own plan. Some students also quite enjoy the evening session so that they could hang out with their classmates, share boxed dinner, exchange gossips, or secretly play some games.


6. Hands up, stand up, show your respect

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Have you wondered, why Chinese people are polite to almost everyone around them? As Chinese culture places a high value on respect, politeness and harmony in social interactions. Chinese students know how to do well from a very young age.

When a class begins, they stand up and say 老师好. When a class ends, they stand up and say 老师再见. When you want to answer a question, raise your hand. When you hand in paper, use both hands. The respect lasts even after graduation for some Chinese students.

*Different from other countries, Chinese classrooms are fixed. Students do not need to move for different subjects, teachers move.


7. Apart from textbooks, where did learning materials come from?

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Remember we said that we got a leader for almost everything? Here comes one you probably never thought of -- a photocopy leader. When I was in middle school, the teachers usually picked a student every week to be in charge of copying exam paper, books, or other kind of learning materials for the whole class.

This is something completely illegal in many countries, but photocopy services are available almost everywhere in China. I mean, under the cloud of Chinese college entrance exam 高考, who would really ask “did you get the permission to copy this test paper?”

Remember we said that we got a leader for almost everything? Here comes one you probably never thought of -- a photocopy leader. When I was in middle school, the teachers usually picked a student every week to be in charge of copying exam paper, books, or other kind of learning materials for the whole class.

This is something completely illegal in many countries, but photocopy services are available almost everywhere in China. I mean, under the cloud of Chinese college entrance exam 高考, who would really ask “did you get the permission to copy this test paper?”


Have you heard of these fun facts about Chinese school life before? Follow the page NeuLingo纽带中文 or visit our website for more unexpected cultural secrets!

Book a free trial Chinese class with us and customize your learning plan here!




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纽带中文是美国知名教育传媒集团蟋蟀传媒旗下的中文在线教育平台,专注为5-16岁的海外青少年儿童提供高质量的一对一、一对多中文学习服务。从创立至今,纽带中文现已覆盖北美地区,并为北美多所中文及图书馆提供长期沉浸式在线中文课程。
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