From Materialism to Nukes, My Students Have a Fascinating View of China’s Ever Expanding Growth and Power
Recently on a test I asked my students an opinion question. Most of them have their own opinion about many things: sneakers, Nikki Minaj, the 2012 election results and a plethora of other pressing issues of today. But some of their answers to the opinion question I posed were too priceless to pass up. The names have been changed to protect the ignorant or innocent. But the answers do reflect education or lack thereof and it’s interesting to get a real middle school response from American kids who have lived their entire life post 9/11 not knowing the whole story of 9/11. Not that I’m into conspiracies (I’m not) but children today post 9/11 still have a similar view of American strength as I did growing up pre-9/11. Here is the question and some answers:
China will one day rule the world! Do you agree or disagree?
1. “Yes, I agree because China makes most of the stuff we buy.”
Susan’s answer is the cynical American’s view. China rules us because they make everything that we use. Besides the inherent untruth to that, imagine if that were actually true! Take a second today and count just how many things you buy on a daily basis that are “Made in China” and you’d be surprised how few there are.
2. “I disagree with this statement. I disagree because I believe in my country.”
Sam’s answer begs the question, “Does America rule the world?” To which I would surmise his answer to be yes. Another further question should be posited to be “what exactly do you believe your country should be able to do?”
3. “No, I disagree because China and USA have gone to war before and USA has won.”
So true, Greg. But that resulted in the creation of North and South Korea, and too many deaths on both sides. We don’t want that to happen again right?
4. “No, every country and state has its own rights. One place can’t control the whole world. There are many differences between everyone’s religion.”
Arianna has the jack of all trades answer. It tries to be everything to everybody. Yes, there are rights and yes, not one place can control the whole world, but why was religion brought into the picture?
5. “Agree. China is our enemy and lots of people to kill us! Shiver Shiver.”
Perhaps it’s a good reason why this student forgot his name on the test. Mx and I had a good laugh at this one. Especially the “shiver shiver” part.
6. “I don’t agree because in America we have more stuff than China and China’s technology is not as fast as our technology in America. I don’t even think they have cellphones.”
Interesting Gary. Very interesting. So materialism will save America, right? And what exactly do you mean by China’s tech isn’t as fast as US tech? Are we talking fast computers or the rate of growth? But you’re 100% wrong about the whole cellphone thing.
7. “I disagree because so we’ll all have peace.”
Well, Justin, just because you disagree that China will rule us all one day, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be peace. I guess one could look at the Cold War as a period of peace but what a tenuous peace.
8. “I disagree because we will nuke them if they try to take over because they will try to eliminate us.”
Manuel’s answer might take the “video game answer award!” We’ll just nuke ‘em! Nice. Too bad China’s a nuclear power too (since the 60s) and they won’t take it so lightly that we’ve fired a nuke at them and most likely they’ll retaliate. Nice. Back to the Cold War.
For more experiences in Teaching Chinese in America go here.