Taiwan’s High School Education:
High School Students’ Performances in Their
Study Plans and Interviews
Cecilia H. C. Liu 劉雪珍
English Department, Fu Jen University
To share a few reflections from reviewing the application
materials submitted to the Fu Jen English Department and
my impression from conducting interviews with high
school students. Students’ performances in their study
plans and oral interviews reflect
The practices, attitudes and interests of teachers at the
high school education
Parental attitudes toward their children
Students’ attitudes toward learning, school, and the
education system at large
Education System
A nation’s education system involves a general
structure handed down from a national education
agency, the organizational particulars of a local or
municipal education bureaucracy and the
administration and curriculum of individual schools.
Culture implies common belief systems, common
practices and a shared world-view within a society.
Thus, analysing education culture takes us beyond
the political and municipal to a study of teachers,
students, parents, government logic and institutional
logic as they impact the process and function of
education in Taiwan.
Examination system
The examination system in Taiwan controls the
curriculum in lower education by defining what is
important to study by what is to be examined. In
addition, the MOE provides compulsory
textbooks based on the requirements of the
examination system. The examination system in
Taiwan promotes an education culture devoted to
rote memorization that requires harsh discipline
and a rigid routine.
Study Plan
The purpose and value of studying in the
The purpose and value of majoring in English
language and literature
Specific reasons for choosing the FJED
Specific courses the applicant is interested in
Future plans
Any questions the applicant may have
Purpose and value of studying
in the university
“..to increase my ability that can help me qualified for
my work in the future. Meanwhile, it can also enrich my
experiences, because I will meet kinds of people and join
many activities in the university. The value of studying in
the university is to be a useful person and to contribute
my ability to the society, by using my professional ability
to help people who need assistance.”
“Nowadays in junior and senior high school, students just
learn basic knowledge for daily lives. On this ground, I
have to study in the university to become more informed
and gifted. That is, I will have more job opportunities
than others who don’t study in university.” ”
Purpose and value of studying
in the university
“During the university days, I should leave home
for my studies. Therefore, I must learn to be
independent, take the responsibility of everything by
myself, and even face the difficulties alone.”
“I hope what I learn in university is not only the
acquisition of knowledge but the skills to develop
better human relationships and a broad view of the
world. I want to join several clubs; of course, the
premise is that it would not affect my academic work.”
“Motivation”--the purpose and value of
majoring in English language and literature
“I have a great interest in learning English.
Undeniably, English is an international
language. Through English, I can acquire and
exchange information and experience with
people from other countries, and above all,
understand the cultural differences of every
“English has been an international contact
vernacular. I hope to master it.”
“We can learn to appreciate a lot of good
works through majoring in English
literature. As to my purpose of learning
English is to deeply understand English
literature and be professional in English.”
“In my senior high school, Father sent me
to a one-to-one English class to learn from
foreigners. That really stimulates my
further interests in the English language.”
Specific Reasons for choosing the FJED
“..if I really have the chance to study in Fu Jen
English Department, I want to explore all fields of
English, and literature in particular.”
“I know that English Department in Fu Jen
University focuses especially on the listening,
speaking, reading, and writing ability, so I am
convinced that it is the best choice for me.”
“I like Fu Jen and I’ve been dreaming of how
brilliant my college life will be if I am lucky
enough to be one of your students.”
Specific Reasons for choosing the FJED
“I have always placed Fu Jen English
Department as my first goal, not only because
my uncle and aunt were graduated from there,
who have always praised and recommended it,
but also because it enjoys great international
“I have heard about the good reputation of Fu
Jen English Department, and my English
teacher is a graduate of the Fu Jen, who I think
is really good at English.”
Specific Reasons for choosing the FJED
“I have looked up in your website about the
introduction of your department. Your equipment and
resources of learning English are very adequate. I
know most of your class use English instead of
Chinese. I feel it’s really a practical and basic way to
improve English. ”
“I have a liking for English and I am fond of talking
to foreigners, too. I know that you have a lot of
foreign teachers in your department. I would like to
choose a wonderful, well-known and the most
suitable university for me.”
Future plans
“I will study deeper about English language and
understand the Western culture through its literature.
Learning how to use computer will also be my subject,
because computer knowledge is very helpful to my
study in the future.”
“In my future, I plan to go abroad to study English if
my economy allowed. If not, I will find an
international restaurant in which I can use English all
the time and meet many foreigners to work in.”
Future plans
“My first choice is to go abroad. I believe it can
broaden my horizon, and I also can experience
different cultures and customs. I want to major in
translating, and become a translator some day, using
my professional abilities to serve Taiwan.”
“I will learn another foreign language, which may be
Japanese because one foreign language is not enough
now. I want to have a career that needs English after I
graduate from the university.”
Future plans
Going abroad 25%
Interpreter/translator 20%
English teacher 15%
Mass Media 15%
Correspondent/reporter 10%
Other 15%
Students’ performance in
oral interviews
Traveling experiences
Many talents in languages, arts, music …
Busy with senior high subjects & exams
No clear motivation
General statements
No clear idea about the dept.
My reflections on senior high education:
First, the examination system in Taiwan controls
the curriculum in lower education by defining what
is important to study by what is to be examined.
Rote memorization is still very much practiced in
the senior high.
The educational methods embedded in the
Taiwanese examination system limits students’
cognitive development of creative thought.
High school teachers are forced to develop a
teaching style dependant on the examination
My reflections on senior high education:
This administrative logic rooted in the examination
system robs most teachers of creativity and active,
dynamic interactive teaching methods. Moreover,
the examination culture places the onus of success
or failure in the lap of the students rather than the
teachers or in the education system itself.
The Diversified College Enrollment Scheme
requires teachers to teach a more diversified
curriculum designed to prepare students to enter
universities. But with the introduction of new
teaching methods, high school teachers’
responsibility and burden increased. Students also
expect more from their teachers.
My reflections on senior high education:
Students do not really know what they study or
why they study a certain subject. There is a
lack of general knowledge related to even
Taiwan itself. They had learned certain things
once but have since forgotten them, a
consequence it seems of the technique of rote
cramming for tests.
Parental attitudes
Parents compel their children to study hard and make it
clear that they are willing to make great sacrifices to
support their children’s education. Thus, the student
must make sacrifices such as long hours of study,
limited or no extra-curricular activities, no dating and
enrollment in cram schools to prepare for the exams
that determine their future success.
As most students have already invested much of their
academic history in the previous system, it is natural
that parents, who have also invested time, effort and
money, expect their children to benefit from those past
Students’ attitudes toward learning, school,
and the education system at large
Most of students claimed that they had to go to cram
schools because the education reforms have failed to
release academic pressure.
Students in Taiwan feel powerless against the various
interests that create their education culture. Students’
response to the pressure of education in Taiwan is a
passive adherence to the education culture. This passive
adherence results in a diminished respect for learning, a
study strategy focused on performance on multiple
choice examinations, a diminished retention of
knowledge and a diminished ability for creative
thinking and problem solving.
Oral interviews: Five tips
Your motivation/ Specific Reasons for choosing the
Department : 認識自己要甄試的科系特色及教學研
Good reading habit:平時多閱讀書報雜誌和此科系
To know the department well: 最好多蒐集此學系
Oral interviews: Five tips
4. Be pertinent: 要清楚面試委員問的是什
5. No show-off:要知道面試委員很可能會根
Thank you for your ATTENTION and …
Have a nice day!

Taiwan’s High School Education: High School Students