Chinese parents from the wealthy demographic are spending hundreds of US dollars to enroll their kids as young as six in western etiquette classes believing that this could give them a good start in life.
These lessons are being provided by Guillaume de Bernadac, a self-styled French doyen of etiquette in Shanghai, according to AFP via South China Morning Post
. De Bernadac arrived in China as a student and founded his company, Academie de Bernadac, in 2014.
In the lesson, which costs around 2,688 yuan ($389) for four hours, the kids are taught etiquette, manners, and deportment including how to walk properly, sit, eat, and talk to people to name a few.
They are shown how to walk nicely with a book placed on top of their heads while maintaining their balance and posture so that the book wouldn’t fall on the floor.
And in another lesson, they are taught to keep their elbows off the table by having napkins tucked under their armpits. Red ribbons were also tied behind the children’s shoulders to prevent them from slouching. If they fail, the kids would gently get chastised by the English or Chinese staff of the school or by de Barnadac himself.
In other exercises, the instructors teach them how to properly introduce themselves and how to greet people, which includes “air kisses,” as well as the type of topics that are considered appropriate at the dinner table.
However, de Barnadac said that he is not trying to make the children more Western. He was just giving them pointers on how to adapt when a situation comes.
“Our point is really to say if you go abroad, or even within China if you move to an international environment where you may be facing other cultures, we give you the keys to adapt,” de Barnadac told AFP.
Authorities in Shanghai have recently approached de Barnadac and asked him to design programs for the city’s schools and offer the same classes to adults as well as private firms.