Premier gives top priority to education, teachers

09:32, October 12, 2009      

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If education is the cornerstone for the nation's development, teachers are the cornerstone for education, said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in a speech during a visit to a high school in Beijing on Sept. 4 this year.

Xinhua News Agency published the 8,000-character speech, entitled "Teachers are Fundamental to the Great Cause of Education", on Sunday.

Wen listened five classes and had lunch with students at the No. 35 Middle School, and attended a workshop with teachers of the school.

It was a way to show his tribute to teachers ahead of the Teachers Day, which falls on Sept. 10 every year, and also a way to find out the actual situation of teaching, said the outspoken premier who then gave his own comments on what he saw in class.

Wen first attended a math class focusing on triangular congruence. He praised the math teacher for her heuristic teaching method when she tried to guide the students to find out the solution by themselves. Being a geologist himself, Wen suggested that students be taught a little bit more in a 40-minute class.

After listening a Chinese Language lesson, the premier advised that the teacher should give an introduction on the author of "The Reeds Marshes", one of the works of Sun Li, a well-known Chinese writer.

"The teacher was wise to let her students go through the 3,300-character a story on Anti-Japanese War silently in four minutes, in an attempt to train their fast-reading skill," said Wen, who described it a "surprise" to him, because he was never told to do so in his school days.

It also a surprise to the State leader that most of the students completed the fast reading and some students were asked to summarize the story by their own. It trained the skills of their logic thinking and summarizing ability, said the premier. He also praised the teacher for her effort in teaching his students about patriotism.

The third class was about the method of research, which is unfamiliar with the premier. "After the class, I realized that the class was designed to help students broaden their view," he said.

What the teacher and students discussed at the class was the concept of "teaching room". The teacher asked the students to figure out what composes a "teaching room".

The premier was a little critical about this class as both the teacher and the students failed to mention the issue of safety of a "classroom", such as the occurrence of earthquake, for instance.

At the class, the teacher shunned away from a student's question about ore. The premier once again showed his geological background by suggesting that students be taught something more about the nature. "A teacher is unlikely to know everything, but he can think over the question and give a reply next time," Wen said.

After the fourth class on geography, the premier was once again surprised to learn that many of the students had traveled a lot, at home and abroad.

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