Teacher Flower

Teacher Flower

Chinese students

In the early 1980s, a young woman called Kathy Flower went to China to teach English in the world's largest classroom.

With China's education system wrecked by the cultural revolution, the only way to teach hundreds of millions of students was via the television.

And so, she became "Teacher Flower" to a nation, unable to walk down the streets without people greeting her and practising phrases from the show.

An estimated 500 million Chinese tuned in every evening to watch the beginners' English language programme Follow Me.

But the programme's popularity wasn't just due to its humorous, light-hearted approach.

For many Chinese people, Follow Me offered a window to a contemporary world beyond China's borders.

"To the millions of Chinese, Follow Me wasn't just an educational programme. It was our first peek at a colourful and believeable, contemporary world, contrasting so dramatically with the dull, depressing one we were living in"

Twenty-five yeas on, "Teacher Flower" returns to a vastly different country, to discover how much the attitude to the world outside the middle kingdom has moved on.

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