補： 補充supplimentary 補強reinforce
習： 學習learning 複習reviewing
補習is a word that every student in Taiwan needs to know. As you may have guessed from my word-breakdown, the term means something similar to after school tuition classes, but 補習 usually refers to large or medium scale classes instead of one-on-one lessons. 補習 can be a noun or a verb, and the place we go to 補習 is called 補習班bu-shee-ban. Because this is a large part of our education culture, someone cunningly translated the term into English as "cram school". (I suspect we only have this translation because we need it for our English journals) "Cram" refers to how these schools' main purpose is to cram "knowledge" into the students' heads to prepare them for tests. It might sound inhumane or ridiculous, but it is a by-product of our test-driven educational system. I always assumed cram schools is a very Chinese thing, since Chinese people are known to value grades and school performance over everything, but talking to friends from Other countries, I realized that none of them have any idea what a cram school is, maybe it has different forms and names in different places? I would love to know if you have cram schools in your country!
I could write a whole essay on cram schools, but I'll just leave it at that for now, let me know if there is any particular aspect you are interested in.
I have been in cram school several times myself, for high school entrance exam, high school math and high school social studies ( I just can't memorize the dates and names in history!) currently I am in cram school for a very important exam I'll take next August, and it's one of the contributing factors of my not-so-active blog life, as it consumes much of my time. I understand that daily updates is life to a good blog, and it's all just a matter of time management, so hopefully I'll do a better job at that and update more frequently! I already have a lot of blog ideas lined up :)
This is Lenny, reporting from Taiwan.