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February 25, 2010

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Home » Metro » Education

Teacher tries to reach students with video games

HIP-HOP, online video games and drama - students from a local vocational school will no longer feel anxious about lacking time to cultivate their hobbies.

They'll be able to pursue them in class.

Zhonghua Vocational School, which arranges classes according to the students' interests, is becoming the first in the city to introduce online games as one of its 20-odd extracurricular courses this new semester.

School officials said the controversial lessons are being introduced to help build up students' confidence, as most of them are poor at studies, often scolded by their parents and barely accepted by society. But they excel in computer games.

"You can do as you like during those classes," said Tang Wei, the principal of the school, "Maybe playing World of Warcraft with your friends and gank the monsters together."

"Gank," for the uninitiated, means joining a group of people to gang up on the monsters.

The course is a headache for some parents, however, who worry it will feed young people's obsession with online worlds.

Tang argues that even when parents ban the games at home, "the students are still playing it secretly."

"But in my classes they can play the game freely with the guidance of the instructors, and most importantly, they play to have a sense of achievement."

According to Tang, the traditional teaching pattern is not suitable for vocational schools as the students often get bored of the lessons, thus wasting time in class. With online games, they can learn the valuable skill of working in a group, he said.

The classes will be held every Monday afternoon as a trial run, starting next week, and Tang is expecting to promote his idea citywide.

The idea has sparked debate among young people, with some saying it could be an advance. But others doubt the educational value.

"The students at that school are enviable as they have more time to cultivate their hobbies and to realize their childhood dreams," said Chen Zhe, a 22-year-old student at Shanghai International Studies University. "While we are here to take boring lessons everyday, for what purpose?"

One of his schoolmates, Fang Yuan, disagreed with him.

"Many young students are lacking self-control when playing online video games, especially playing together, and may lose themselves in the virtual world," said Fang.


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