One of things teaching here has done is made me a believer in same sex schooling. I've noticed that as the sex ratio in my courses approaches 50-50, the behavior of students in the class declines mightily. My single sex classes, male or female, appear to be better behaved and easier to handle. Fewer stupid jokes and giggling, more attention to the front where the teacher is. Better overall performance in assignments too.
Another interesting thing I've noticed over the years, since I've taught at two universities where nursing students play a prominent role, is the high quality of the nursing students. Not only do they outperform my other students, they also have better attitudes, are more willing to interact, and are interesting and fun to teach. They seem to want to get more out of their education. They tend to be overwhelmingly female, so this may have something to do with the way females are socialized in educational settings in Taiwan. It may also be related to the fact that nursing in Taiwan is highly competive -- the island produces more nurses than it needs -- and the requirements for getting into a nursing program are strict, meaning that the human material is often outstanding. I always look forward to my nursing classes. Students in medical programs here generally tend to be excellent, doctoring being the most popular career parents pressure their children to enter.
This leads to another thing I suspect many teachers at medical universities here have noted: the number of students in medical programs who don't want to be there. Most of the nurses seem to want to be nurses, but I keep running into people in the pre-med programs who don't want to be doctors, but explain that their parents have pushed them into it. Several students have told me that they switch to Chinese medicine programs because they are easier -- and the health system covers traditional Chinese medicine, meaning that there are jobs out there for traditional Chinese docs. Interestingly, the traditional medicine and western medicine programs have considerable overlap -- a smart student once argued to me that traditional Chinese medicine has become so extensively westernized that it has lost much of its "tradition."
- The Big Issue launches in Taipei
- AFP says Taiwan government, which already pretty much subsidizes the production of most stuff, may subsidize the production of children. Because our sinking birth rate threatens productivity. But the problem isn't the sinking birthrate, but the unwillingness of nations to permit immigration. Look how well it has worked for the US.
- Ma focuses on Taiwan's isolation in ECFA debate. Note the way the KMT's argument works -- first they isolate Taiwan by claiming it is part of China, and then they use that isolation as an excuse to sell the island to China. Right.
- Great article on Costco's booming success in Taiwan.
- ECFA talks fail to produce "early harvest" list. Good.
- Reuters reports on political risks for investors in Taiwan.
- Yo-yo Ma will hold outdoor concert in late April in Taichung
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