Chinese Teacher Draws World Map on Chalkboard From Memory

Chinese teacher freehand draws world map on chalkboard in class.

From Sina Weibo:

@微博搞笑排行榜: Saw this on a blog, too niu! At the end, the teacher even gives himself a thumbs up!!! [赞]





Chinese teacher freehand draws world map on chalkboard in class.





Comments from Sina Weibo:


This is a history teacher at our high school, currently teaching my younger brother. [挤眼] This blackboard takes at most a minute [to draw], probably because he’s been drawing this for half his life. [good]


I’m a student this semester. I want to meekly say something: he’s a history teacher, thanks everyone. [呵呵]


This is so normal [common]. Our high school teacher also freehand draws the world map, and has done so for all three years of high school. When having class, the teacher never has to bring the textbook. With an empty desk, the teacher just tells us what page to flip to and what it says. Then to turn to some other page and what it says there. Just like this, the teacher taught us throughout high school…


The student who erases this blackboard commits a great sin…


Northeast Normal University-Affiliated Middle School. [爱你]


Jilin province Changchun city Northeast Normal University Affiliated Middle School!! My alma mater [心][心]


Not only is he dedicated to his work, he’s also passionate about it.


I dedicate this post to those teachers who are devoted to geography.


I hear it was drawn by a history teacher. [爱你] [爱你] [爱你]


This has already become one of the most popular microblog posts [at time of its original posting]. Looks like my Dongbei [Northeast] Normal University Affiliated Middle School’s Teacher Zhao Dengming has become famous! He taught me, so would I make this up? Would I lie about personally seeing him draw the map in class? This old man is very adorable, teaching class with his loud, northwest accent. May he have good health! Also, again, I will always be proud of having been a part of Dongbei Normal University Affiliated Middle School!

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  • death_by_ivory

    I love it,congratulations! Meanwhile in good old USA the common core nightmare takes over and geography is “incorporated” into English.In other words they don’t teach the kids geography in elementary.Gotta keep the masses dumb.

    • bossel

      Ask any of his students (or perhaps even himself) to pin-point a particular country on this map (except PRC & its direct neighbours) & you’ll see how much drawing this world map is worth.

      • 白色纯棉小裤裤

        This aint no America bro. If someone could not answer such a question he is going to get a zero on the Gaokao geography exam.

        • bossel

          Don’t know about the Gaokao, but when they enter university there doesn’t seem much geography knowledge left (judging from the experience with my students here).

          • 白色纯棉小裤裤

            If you where not using their first language while asking them questions, you can’t really say they lack knowlege of anything.
            Give you a Gaokao geo exam paper and I am sure you could not even answer the first question.

          • bossel

            Guess what: we live in modern times. Virtually all the students have dictionaries. (& – gasp – all of my students know how to use them)
            Funny, how you try to defend Chinese students by trying to make them look stupider than they are.

          • tomoe723

            Most Americans easily assume that since you don’t speak their language, you must be dumber than they are. I get this a lot of times. It’s like you’re “barbaric” or something.

            As for Chinese students, the average student who goes to uni is very smart. I just didn’t understand them at first (coz I don’t speak Chinese). But after sharing notes/scribbles and distinguishable characters made a lot more sense than the American professor’s lecture. Haha.

          • “It’s like you’re ‘barbaric’ or something.”

            I don’t disagree, but your use of the term “barbaric” is interesting as the word used to refer literally to others who didn’t speak the local language. All their speech sounded like “bar bar bar bar.” :D

            Maybe you were referring to that but I haven’t met even many Americans who do.

        • Dax

          One of the teachers that worked at my University asked his students if they knew where Mongolia was. They said “no” and he said “its the country above China.”

          They all looked at the ceiling. True story.

          • 白色纯棉小裤裤

            Its because most of them don’t know what the f is “Mongolia”. If he said “外蒙” it would had been a different story.

        • donscarletti

          Sure they know it on the day the sit the exam, but see how much they recall in two years.

          Students from developed cities in China tends to do extremely well in comparative tests against students from other countries, especially in maths and science. But my coworkers come to me to solve their basic algebra, geometry and trigonometry problems. Basic stuff like finding the distance between a line and a point, or the angle of this line (specified by two points) from due east, etc.

          Though in the case of the geography, I think bossel probably just used the wrong language to ask. Chinese are really good at finding countries on maps, they just don’t know shit about them.

      • Sum Ting Wong

        lol. so you think students in other countries are as dumb as the Americans when it comes to geography?

  • Joe

    China disproportionally huge as expected

    • ClausRasmussen

      Russia and Canada are also disproportional huge, and Europe is the most enlarged region of them all. Conversely, Africa and South America are disproportional small.

      Did you expect that too ?

      • AbC

        I think Africa is about the right size if you already consider Europe and Asia to be disproportionately large.

        What’s small is Australia…

      • Guang Xiang

        b-b-but.. the circle-jerk…

      • Donald Med

        Yes this map shows China bigger than actual size but the standard world maps we have have all grown up with are also disproportionate . In reality Africa should be much bigger than usually depicted. Europe should be much smaller. So before you go pointing fingers….

    • KenjiAd

      And it looks like he forgot Hawaii.

    • Andrew

      Earth as a 2-manifold needs at least two charts to be projected to Euclidean space. Otherwise in most cases of modern maps, angles, area and lengths cannot be perserved altogether in the same mapping. You anti-intellectual retard just can’t help irritating mathematicians can you. You only remind me of the saying:”If one dies, it’s not terrible for him/her at all since he’s already dead. It’s instead for the people around that it might be terrible. Same goes when one’s stupid”. Arrgh

      • donscarletti

        Euclidean space is 3 dimensional, so a compact 2-manifold projected into it would remain a compact 2-manifold. What you meant to say is it cannot be projected onto an Euclidean plane so that the whole set is covered.

        But luckily cartography allows non-linear projections, so you can have functions like Lambert equal area, which through the sin function gives an injective mapping between world points to map points and surjective one from map points to world points.

        Also what is wrong with your punctuation?

        • Alex Dương

          What’s your math background like?

          • donscarletti

            I just do a lot of linear algebra and analytic geometry in my job and a little bit of calculus now and then. Related to programming 3D rendering engines mostly.

            While I didn’t particularly learn any more math than most other engineering graduates (equivalent to about 3 or 4 semesters full time I suppose), I probably didn’t forget it as casually.

          • Alex Dương

            Very nice. My linear algebra sucks, argh.

        • Andrew

          Euclidean space can broadly mean any R^n like spaces with standard metric, but sure, I was obviously referring to the Euclidean PLANE.
          Lambert equal area is not angle preserving, and is thus not ideal for geologists, occeanologists etc. But then again good for nationalists all over the world

    • Insomnicide

      It’s actually pretty big in the Gall-Peters projection.

  • Ken Morgan

    And that is what I call lesson time padding! ;)

  • SongYii

    This is odd… Chinese world maps typically place the Pacific Ocean in the center (which I always found patently retarded.)

    • Sum Ting Wong

      Retarded? How is it retarded when it places most western countries in the west except the US and Canada?

      • SongYii

        Because it places a vast ocean at the center and all the major landmasses at the periphery, while distorting those landmasses more than the Pacific.

        Moreover, it places the western hemisphere in the east (right side of map), and the eastern hemisphere in the west (left side of map.)

        • Sum Ting Wong

          Aha. I see what you mean. I guess the Chinese world map visually makes more sense to the Chinese because the it places China and East Asia near the centre and most western countries in the west. Also China is called Middle Kingdom in Chinese.

          • SongYii

            I guess its just a bit closer to the center, but most of the center of the map is dominated by blue nothingness. Tried to upload an example, but Disqus is being stubborn.

            Should probably leave world map making to the people who discovered the world.

    • IsurvivedChina

      Actually most countries have their own version of the world map.

      • SongYii

        Thats ok, if they make sense.

        People whine about American maps putting America at the center. Never understood it…. China and America are on pretty much equal footing on our maps. Africa dominates the center of the map. In any case, it makes sense to place the Prime Meridian at the center, since it is, after all, the goddamn Prime Meridian.

        • Jahar

          watch the big block of cheese episode of west wing. explains maps quite well.

          • SongYii

            I absolutely fucking hate that bullshit scene. Explains nothing of any use. Aaron Sorkin’s crack habit really shines through there.

          • Mushroom habit.

    • donscarletti

      Patently retarded?

      The two choices are to cut it at the Pacific Ocean or the Atlantic Ocean so as to avoid dividing landmasses.

      Most if not all Asian countries as well as Australians and New Zealanders cut it at the Atlantic for the same reason an a satnav system will scroll as you drive. Simply put it is more useful to have one’s current location closer to the centre of a map than closer to the edge.

      • SongYii

        yeah, and cutting in the middle of the Atlantic puts nearly ALL the landmasses closer to the edge. If I were an alien, I would assume I was looking at a map made by humanoid fish people.

    • Guang Xiang

      Japanese world maps… take a look some time

    • Kai

      1. Not just Chinese world maps.

      2. Distortion of landmasses depends on the projection used.

      • SongYii

        Thanks, Captain Obvious. ;-)

  • ClausRasmussen


  • David

    In the U.S. Social Science teachers often teach across the field. I teach History as well as Political Science, Economics, Geography, Psychology and Sociology. I assume this history teacher does the same. Many of the things you study in history depend on Geography and Economics. This is taking nothing away from the teacher, just want to explain why a history teacher might know so much about geography. I think it is amazing, it would take me 20 minutes to draw this sort of map (and might be a little more accurate but probably not as PRETTY, since I suck at drawing lol) and half my class would be over. I think he does this to help inspire his students.and obviously it works. It is twice as amazing as very few of the Chinese people I have met seem to have any knowledge at all of maps. I mean they can’t even tell me if a particular shopping mall is in the north, south, east or western part of the city. Forget about getting directions from a Chinese person, I have never gotten more than a vague wave in some direction and told “over there” Anyway, I salute this obviously dedicated teacher.

  • IsurvivedChina

    slow news day?

  • diverdude7

    Mr. Luke made two fundamental errors:

    I. TEXAS is the Center of the world
    II. forgot the tortoise

  • Ken Morgan

    Wait a sec, Europeans normally draw a map of the earth with Europe in the middle, yanks draw it with the US in the middle. Yet this Chinese teacher draws the earth with Europe in the middle?

    Burn him!

    • Matt

      I’ve never seen a world map with the US in the middle. Here in the US, all the standard maps I’ve seen have Europe and Africa in the middle, with the Americas on the left and Asia on the right.

      The only other map convention I’m aware of is this:

      • Kai

        I have, plenty of times. Just search for them on Google. They’re obviously going to be more popular for those in the Americas than elsewhere, but still not as popular as a map that doesn’t cut up landmasses.

    • donscarletti

      Americans draw it with Europe/Africa in the middle too, probably to put the international date line at the edges.

      If you tried drawing it with America in the middle, you’d carve Eurasia in two.

      Edit: Well, apparently some do…

  • must touch brain

    Did he forget 钓鱼岛 and the nine dash line??? Off with his head!!!

  • Kai

    Apparently, it only takes him a minute:

    This is a history teacher at our high school, currently teaching my younger brother. This blackboard takes at most a minute [to draw], probably because he’s been drawing this for half his life.

  • Irvin

    He missed a dot on one of the caribbean islands.

  • Xio Gen

    This has made the rounds too on the western Internet. Reddit was also very impressed.

  • Kai

    I think the “at most a minute” is a bit of an exaggeration by the student but otherwise suggests the guy can do it quite quickly, quickly enough that it isn’t “so much class time”. I think it’s reasonable to assume that this teacher has some level of photographic memory and if he’s been doing this a long time, he’s got enough practice and muscle memory to do it rather quickly.

    I can imagine it being about 5 minutes start to finish with the class being glued to their chairs in relative amazement, and that 5 minutes being worth the amount of immediate respect earned from the students for the rest of the school year.

    There’s nothing to suggest he does this every time he needs a map, and since the school year just recently started in China, it’d be safe to assume he did this as a cool beginning-of-the-year trick for his new class.

    Also, I quoted one of the Chinese netizen comments that was translated, so it isn’t my little brother.

  • Satchan

    That’s the way to teach! I’m sick of Powerpoint slides that put you to sleep.

  • SongYii

    hi… just saw this comment.

    i dont care about whats in the west or east, i was responding directly to the commenter before me.

    ive read about it. its white guilt pablum. place africa dead center in the map, then complain it isnt big enough compared to greenland. and so on. snooze.

  • SongYii

    what nonsense. somebody really screwed up there.

  • SongYii

    was columbus columbusing when he columbused the west indies?

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