Rice or wrong: Chinese student’s homework stirs online uproar

Photo courtesy of Sanook

A Chinese primary school student was given an unusual homework assignment, sparking a heated online debate. The task required him to count 10,000 grains of rice, a task that kept his family up all night. The incident took a surprising turn when the teacher revealed the true aim of the exercise.

The assignment, given by a teacher in Liaoning province, China, attracted significant attention from the Chinese mainland’s online community. It’s part of a growing trend in the country where teachers are adding unconventional exercises to traditional textbook knowledge.

Instead of simply completing workbook exercises, students are also given practical tasks such as washing their parents’ feet or helping their parents cook. After children have completed these tasks, they share their experiences in class. These exercises aim to help children appreciate and understand their parents’ struggles, and know how to express their feelings towards their loved ones.

One such exercise, the duckling count, has drawn considerable interest. It challenges students to develop patience, and meticulousness and helps hone their character. However, one family in Liaoning Province recently questioned the teacher’s teaching skills and the unreasonable homework assignment that required counting 10,000 grains of rice.

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Frustrated by the unreasonable assignment, the student’s parents questioned the teacher, leading to a surprising explanation. The family recounted how they sat up all night counting but didn’t reach 10,000 grains of rice by 2am. The strenuous task greatly affected the family’s rest, causing the student’s parents to complain to the school about the teacher’s teaching methods. They also questioned her teaching capabilities.

The parents were taken aback by the teacher’s explanation. She calmly explained that the exercise was not intended for the students to count 10,000 grains of rice directly. Instead, it was designed to encourage children and parents to find an easier way to complete the task, strengthening their bond while developing the child’s thinking and creativity skills when faced with challenging situations.

Better solution

The teacher suggested that the parents could assist their child by counting 200 grains of rice and weighing it to determine how many grains it contains. They could then repeat the weighing process 50 times to quickly estimate approximately 10,000 grains.

The main purpose of the exercise was to test the flexibility of thought, improving the student’s logical analysis abilities. Not only does this method help students reduce the stress of studying day and night but it also helps them develop vital skills.

The explanation left the parents surprised and revealed that the family had not been informed about this counting method, leading to confusion and misunderstanding about the teacher’s homework assignment, reported Sanook.

After being posted on social networks, the incident received diverse opinions. While some supported this new teaching method to help children learn and practice various skills beyond textbook reading, others believed that such homework assignments were for the parents as the child could not complete the task on their own.

The teachers need to inform the parents in advance and should not leave the students’ parents unaware of such teaching methods. Therefore, it’s not wrong for the student’s family to say that the teacher’s teaching skills are not good.

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Samantha Rose

Samantha was a successful freelance journalist who worked with international news organisations before joining Thaiger. With a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from London, her global perspective on news and current affairs is influenced by her days in the UK, Singapore, and across Thailand. She now covers general stories related to Thailand.

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