Topic: "105 Minute Workday"(9)
Frodo is a great fan of Tom Friedman. In addition to the depth of his understanding as it relates to world affairs, Friedman actually goes to the places he writes about. He does more than interview world leaders when he walks the streets of the West Bank, or, in this case, visits an elementary school in China.
Friedman discovered that the school systems with the highest level of achievement also have the teachers with the greatest amount of time devoted to classroom preparation. Recently, he reported that his viewing of several courses in "foreign" studies were conducted by teachers in 35 minute segments, thrice daily. That's right, dear reader, you read that correctly, the teachers spend 105 minutes of each day in the classroom; the rest of the day is preparation for the following day. The process is universal, be it math, science, languages, or whatever, 35 minutes facing one teacher, then off you go to another.
Can you imagine, dear reader, your local school board, elected by people who are most concerned about property tax rates? Could you imagine their reaction to teachers engaged in a classroom less than two hours out of an eight-hour workday? The Tea Party would burn blackboards and back packs rather than admit that anything less than eight hours multiplying times four would enhance the performance of their little (minded) darlings.
Frodo will stay away from any value judgments on the Chinese educational system, or any behavioral comparisons with what is the experience in Middle Earth. He will however, offer one piece of rhetorical fact which should cause the engaged to expand an horizon, or two. Not long ago, at Georgia Tech, in the Freshman Introductory Course (first-year students only), in Physics, 9 of the top 10 students by GPA were Chinese. The other was an Israeli.
Frodo wonders how many were on the football team?