A critical examination of claims made by shadow schools and the Buxi Ban in China




Chen, Yishan

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Shadow schools are paid, private tutoring institutions that offer training to students after regular school hours. The intended purpose of the majority of these schools is to improve student test scores while attending school and also to help students prepare for university entrance exams. In China, shadow schools are called, Buxi Ban, which literally means, “private tutoring, [after] class.” With the development of the economy in China over the past three decades, enrolment in shadow schools has surged. Parents certainly expect positive results when investing time and finances to send their children to shadow schools. In order to attract more clients, shadow schools compete with each other and make advertising claims, such as lower tuition fees, shorter terms but intensive courses, and employment of star tutors. However, the claims they make may not be as valid as indicated. This Project examines, through the framework of persuasive communication techniques, whether the most popular and common claims made by top shadow schools in Shanghai, China and examines whether these claims are valid or not. The project will also present research-based considerations for parents when choosing a shadow school.



Shadow education, private tutoring, Buxiban, effectiveness, determinants, persuasive communication