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A story behind a family tree (3)

by Paul A Hodge

So what started out as a basic oral English class about "families" extended into the realm of the social structure of parenting in China and my own contemplation over what will the future hold for the students in my class if China persists with its existing family planning policy of restricting married couples to having only one child.

Another point I need to mention is that the ratio to male and female primary school students at my school is approximately 5:1.

The reader will be left gasping at the enormous scale of socio-economic issues China is attempting to resolve. However, some of the policies and penalties for regulating and controlling family planning make for startling reading. Based on the new laws prohibiting retaliation against those couples who, in the past, did mistakenly have a second pregnancy, I can only guess what cruelty, shame and stress that became the unbearable burden of a man and woman who simply made a misjudgement regarding a woman's fertility cycle. Another law that has to be introduced was to prevent the abortion of unborn children once the parents had tests and found out that it was not the preferred sex. However, when you read into the Family Planning Law there are obvious "loop-holes" to allow such an abortion.

Another point I would like to raise briefly is child behavioural problems, in particular aggressive and potential violent misdemeanours amongst primary school children at the Chinese school where I teach. I can see signs of aggression present in kindergarten children who are left to board at the school Monday - Friday. They are virtually confined to the classrooms and dormitory and have no contact with their parents unless they become sick or injured. The amount of unprovoked punching, hitting and verbal attacks is starting to be more noticeable the more times I spend with the children and as the school term progresses.

On a more serious level one senior student was expelled for threatening to kill another foreign teacher at the school. The teacher took action after discovering that he carried a pocket knife as did other students.

I suggest the reader take the time to digest the following article: Moral education for millions of minors highlighted as priority in China - "Widespread moral problems facing China's 367 million minors under 18, including growing crimes involving juveniles, has become a focal point for Chinese society and political leaders".

The material in the above article could become the research basis for further investigation. A posting of the findings as they relate to ESL teachers in China would be of special interest to this forum.

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