Recognizing Different Perspectives in the Classroom

Unlike individualist culturesuch as the USA, collective cultures stress the importance of community over individual needs. This means in Taiwan that there is an assigned classroom leader who is responsible for taking attendance and for relaying homework and test assignment dates to his or her classmates. Additionally, students treat the classroom like their homes, which is to say, with respect. For instance,the first thing that students must do when arriving at school is to sweep and clean the campus. Students also eat and nap together in their classrooms.

Co-teaching in a Taiwanese classroom meant that I had to adjust to a different teaching schedule to the one I am used to living in America. Unlike the 8:45-2:45 school schedule in San Francisco, the Taiwanese schools that I worked in ran from 8:00-3:45pm. Despite experiencing the longer school-day, Taiwanese students have more break time in between classes. Students get 10 minutes of break between every 40-minute class. The best part is after lunch, when both students and teachers have half an hour of nap time in order to rest physically and mentally. When I first began teaching, I was not used to napping, but after a while, I found these quick power naps to be quite refreshing and a good way of energizing me for late-afternoon classes. But perhaps the biggest difference in schedule, here, is after school. Instead of participating in extracurriculars or going home, most students go to 补习班, otherwise known as cram schools, where the students take more private English classes. Usually, students attend cram schools until 9pm at night.

What do you think? What type of schedule do you prefer? Would you want to attend school in Taiwan?