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Differences Between Chinese Education and American Education——Tianxin Li

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Why there are differences between Chineseeducation and American Education?

Since China andthe United Stateshave diverse cultural contexts, value orientations, and nationalconditions, it is easy to havedifferences. I attended elementaryschool and middle school in Beijing. Now, I’m studying in a high school inAmerica I have discovered differences that influenced me a lot.

First of all, the core focuses aredifferent. In the US, the core focus of a school is the dream of the childwhile in China, most schools’ core focus is the expectation of parents. Inother words, students in the US study for themselves because they want to learnthings, but students in China are forced to study because their parents wantthem to learn.That pointsto the second difference: motivation. Albert Einstein oncesaid: ‘‘Interest is the best teacher.’’ However, extrinsic motivation drives Chinese students tolearn. The parents and teachers have always said that if you were a goodstudent, you could change your life and if you weren’t good at school you wouldbe a loser. The American students are drivenby intrinsic motivation. They do what they want to do. No one judgesthem and everyone supports others’ dreams, opinions, andinterests. Learning motivated by genuine interest will lastlonger than learning motivated by a utilitarian goal.

The reason for differences is in theway information is taught. In the US, personal expression is valued greatly.Many classes are based around discussion of the material, and teachers expectstudents to be engaged in conversation. Chinese classrooms do notplace the same emphasis on classroom participation. Class is based on theteacher lecturing and the students listening quietly. This means lessinteraction exists between the teacher and students. This difference extends tothe overall classroom attitude. In American classrooms, students are likely totalk not only when participating in classroom discussions, but also whentalking out of turn. As a result, the classroom can become noisy. In Chineseclassrooms, respect towards teachers is emphasized far more. Students are muchmore quiet and attentive than many American students, and when a student iscalled on to speak, he or she is expected to stand. This classroom atmosphereis more formal and respectful.

The differences between the educationalexperience in America and China are significant because they reflect a greatdeal about the broad differences between the two cultures. The educationstudents receive plays a big role in the way they act in society as adults. In manyways, the educational system reflect the society’s direction as awhole. The United States is operating under a democratic governmentthat values free speech. They follow an educational system thatencourages students to express their opinions freely. China is operatingunder an autocratic government, places more emphasis on obedience and respect.But no matter which type of education is used, it is best if the teacherspends time to find out more about each student’s individual needs, learningstyles and personality in order to provide the best learning experience theycan.

Tianxin Li

2016.02.01

   

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