The Differences of Education between China and America
After the human society has formed, a great enterprise was born. Different regions and cultures made different ways of education. Besides, competition has launched on a global scale. International competition is actually the competition of intelligence and talents which need education to boost. China and America have the extremely influence to the international society, and they have received the universal attention. China has had significant change since the founding of the nation in all respects. As well, America also has changed enormously since 1949 to 2010. With this background, many countries are trying on introspection of education, cross adoption and fusion. We can hardly ask ourselves that: can our current education system go along with the increasingly fierce international competition. What actually the differences of education between China and America are? The people are well educated not only by teacher but also by parents. Chinese education and American education have their own strong points. Apparently, the paper doesn’t mean to deny American education or Chinese education. Through the comparison, this paper puts forward some implications that suit for Chinese education.
Nowadays the society is developing fast. Comparing between different countries can make us have a clear opinion about what we should improve. It is essential for our Chinese to adopt some good education methods from other countries. It helps to educate our child to be a person with high IQ and EQ.
ⅠThe Definition of Education
Education is the entire process which raise newborn generation prepares to be engaged in social life, and is also the key link which the experience of human can be inherited and developed; mainly refer to the raising process of children of school age
and the youth. Broadly, everything that promotes people’s knowledge and the skill, affects people’s personal character can be called education. In a limited sense, education refers chiefly to school education whose meaning is that the educator exerts their influence on body and mind of the educated to train them into the people which a certain society needs. The basis problems of education are what kinds of talents we should raise and how to do. On this fundamental issue, different education value cause different training aim and different teaching mode. China and America’s education values are different. In the raising of human’s specific request, there also exist big differences.
Ⅱ The Causes of Education’s Differences between China and America
Why these two kinds of education have so many differences? To sum up, the causes of different education are:
2.1The Different History Backgrounds
It is known that American is an emigrant country whose people mostly come from Europe, just like a big melting pot with a short history and has less old culture. It is affected by multi-value and multi-culture. So compared with Chinese people, they own more adventure spirit and creation sprits. However, China had a long history which can be traced back to 5000 years ago. At the same time, it is bounded by much old culture and affected by feudal farmer’s idea. Its culture value is conservative. Chinese people are educated to be fictile followers, and lack of an environment to get new ideas on the whole.
2.2 The Different Economic Patterns
American commodity economy is highly developed and the productive force is advanced. One can get jobs in many ways. The pressures of living are smaller than Chinese. In China, there are many kinds of jobs for Americans to choose. In Americans’ opinions, anyone can get other’s respect, no matter what his job is. Besides, commodity economy is changing all the time; jobs are changing at the same time. By contrast, China is a developing country. The pressure of living is great. One person may do only one job in his whole life, so Chinese always put all their happiness on a job. They think having a stable job is fortunate.
2.3 The Different Traditional Cultures
The different traditional culture is the main reason for differences in education between China and America. Chinese emphasis the team sprit and comprehensive abilities of a child, they attach more attention to the behavior of normalization and self condition, they against the independent consciousness, the parents tell their children that they should take part in the group to adapt the society. In America culture, they emphasis people foremost and attach weight to individual potential and creativity.
Chinese pay more attention to general character while Americans attach attention to personality. In china’s traditional culture，the first educator is parent. The Chinese parents regard their children as their own private property. Therefore, the parents have a high opinion of shaping the child’s personality, affects the child’s personal construction. They pay attention to their own dream, has neglected the child’s habit and happiness, so it lead the child to be in the passive situation, ignore the child’s individual existence.
Whereas, the American civilization takes the child as the main subject, think highly of individual, emphasizes equality, and respects the individual right. The western parents regard the child as an equal member in the family not a child, have the right to offer suggestion, respect the child’s personality and dignity, they let the child think freely and choose independently. They respect the child’s self-respect and advocate child’s instinct development. In America education, the parents are not just child’s parents, but his friends.
2.4 Different Ways of Thinking
Americans encourage rationalism while Chinese encourage affection. America education praise rationalism highly. Most of American parents consider the responsibility of raising a child the same as the responsibility to the society. They stand not only in an individual position but the social position. Chinese parents consider the children as their own private property. From this point of view, we can understand why more Chinese parents expect their children to be talents than American parents do.
Ⅲ The Comparison of Chinese Education and American Education
3.1 Examination-oriented vs. Quality-oriented
American education can be called “quality-oriented education” which tells the students that studying is their own matter, cares more about how students use knowledge in the society and they give students chances to decide what they want to learn, so the students in America are initiative, nimble and happy. Compared with American education, Chinese style of education is quite different. Chinese education is called “exam-oriented education” which the educators always formulate many kinds of rule beforehand to impose restrictions on what to do, how much one should learn, when to learn and so on. Chinese students have nothing to do but follow. Chinese students regard the study utility and all go for high scores not enjoying the process of success. They look at the study as their parents and teachers’ matter, and study is only the method which helps them win promotion and earn money to live rich life. So the Chinese students are passive, compelled and dogma. Chinese education is for basic education; their knowledge is profound but far away from the application of daily life. American education is for the students’ creativity and ability, so in America, a white-collar doesn’t know how much 10 plus 6 is is not shameful. They believe that training children’s creative thinking when the children are young is fundamental. But China is completely contradicted. They lay too much stress on foundation education and neglect the training of creative thinking. So American students have low score but high energy, China's student have high-grades but low ability. In fortune 500 companies don’t want to employ Chinese student, to them, Chinese education raise only servants of knowledge and can’t called as “nurture the human”, on the contrary, American education nurtures the master of knowledge. The test of America is always open book exam, and the students can be hand in the paper in a week. The answer is not one and only. Chinese schools are exam-oriented which is strict, the result of which is one and only. Even though, we are trying a lot to improve our schools to quality-oriented education, the Chinese education is still essentially exam-oriented education. But Americans say that they are learning from us to prepare their students for exams. Maybe, the two extremes of education are going together.
3.2 Teacher-centered vs. Student-centered
In China, the teacher is superior while the American teacher is friendly approachable person, even the professor in university carries little weight in class, and everybody is equal. American refuses to accept any authority. Chinese students put blind faith in their teacher. American teachers are always have a great passion and humorous. On the contrary, most Chinese teachers are stern throughout the class. Chinese education’s purpose is to teach students to have no
question, but American education’s aim is teaching students to find questions, ask questions, and solve question. Chinese usually show a child how to do something, or teach by holding their hands and give great priority to train skills at their early age rather than foster creativity. The Chinese parents want to see their children be succeeding in life, insist on private tuition for them and in some cases, for almost every subject. Many parents believe that additional educational activities have many advantages. By extra studies, their children are able to grasp many kinds of practical skills and knowledge, which will put them in a high position in the future job markets when they grow up. Many parents hope that their children become a rich man when they grow up, because these rich people are regarded as the symbol of success and can win respect of others. As an instance, a Yale law school professor, Amy Chua’ s current book, Battle Hymn of Tiger Mother, which gives society plenty to debate about raising kids, was proved to be a high-pitched debate about Chinese education and American education which is superior. She said that she believe that her daughters can be “the best” student, academic achievement reflect successful parenting education, and that if they didn’t stand out in school then there was a problem in her parenting. So she made ten cast-iron rules for her two daughters, such as never allowed to have a play date, never be in school play, never watch TV or play computer games and so on. So in China, the education is teacher-centered, but in America, it is student-centered. When we talk of teaching methods, American teachers barely specify content. On the other hand, Chinese teachers, pay more attention to the content. The only work the student should do is to listen. American teachers have a great passion and are always humorous. On the contrary, most Chinese teachers are always grave throughout the class.
3.3 Different Approaches to Learning:
Memory-based vs. Understanding-based
Most of China students have been taught that they should have the good attitude of studying towards goals. They must remember the knowledge the teacher taught. When the children are 3 or 4 years old, most of Chinese parents start teaching children the simple calculating skill and writing their own names and also the family members’ names. Almost every Chinese have the memory of being obliged to repetition Chinese ancient poems in their childhood. So the Chinese education is memory-based. In America, people more value children’s ability of practical application. They just need understanding the knowledge and can use it.
To sum up, Chinese Education System and American Education System have their own advantages and disadvantages. Chinese think highly of foundational knowledge whereas Western pay more attention on creativeness. If we could join two systems together, there is going be more Chinese performers on the 21st century stage.
3.4 Expectation on Children
In China, there is an idiom which is ‘望子成龙’. It means that the parents hope their children have a bright future whether they are happy or not. But in America, the American parents only want their children to have a happy life and to be a useful person to the society. Education in China makes children dependent while the western one makes children independent. When Chinese teach their babies to walk, they always hold their babies’ hands until they can walk and stand. So when we face difficult, we would think of finding someone to help us firstly, not to solve it by ourselves. But American parents always watch their babies standing up and falling down again and again, leaving their babies crying aloud, and never come to help. So American students are more independent, when there is a Chinese student and an American student, American students will tell their parents: I have enough money to have a trip. Whereas Chinese will say: dad and mom, I want to travel, please give me some money.
American people pay more attention to children’s originality and independence more than the Chinese do. And they think self-reliance is a principal value of child. They also think that creativity should be acquired early. On the other hand, skills can be picked up later; American parents think much of developing their children's creativity which I think is more important than Chinese parents teaching their children by their hand. Teaching by hand is to make children have less ingenuity. America, they teach children that they should depend on themselves for correct solutions to problems. Besides, they put more emphasis on promote creativity in children. Americans let their children solve the problem by themselves. For instance, they let the children know the value of labor, repair the motorcycle themselves at an early age, in China, that work is seen as the adults’ work. In the American family, children can call their parents’ name just like adult and friend, and the children can express their views and participate in family discussions which in china, parents’ decision is more important. The children can determine things themselves and parents won’t intervene their children if they do not have legitimate reasons. They tend to give their children opportunities to learn and correct by themselves, if they did in a wrong way, the parents would advice them in a euphemistic way. This independent personality makes their children have more individual abilities and efforts.
By comparison, we can't say which is better, because every coin has two sides. Everything may be different in different places. We live on the same earth, but the differences of family education are so great that it demand us to do some research and we can get something useful from American education to consummate our family education system.
Ⅳ The Comparison of the Education's Aim and Results between China and America
4.1 The Comparison of the Aims of Education
Now people become more and more realize the importance and significance of education. Education’s aims determine what kind of people they educated will be. So the aims of education are the nucleus, which is the primary reason of the different education between Chinese and American. Once the aim is constructed, education contents and material must be formulated according to the aims.
To train the child into a social man is American education’s aims which make students can deal with all kinds of problems and independent ability. To accomplish it is not a high expectation. “Social man” is not an implementable idea, and easy to achieve. So American parents have an easeful attitude to educate their children. They are good at finding out the strong suit of their children. And also the children can find their passion and value from education. They can experience the joy of studying. As a matter of fact, this kind of education can get good results. Let’s see the process of growth of American children. When they are still a baby, they sleep in their own room; When they should learn walk, they learn it by themselves, they seldom ask parents for help; When they grow up, they should clean the rooms by themselves; They do what they can do to earn money from childhood. For example, they do house cleaning, be a delivery boy; when they go to senior middle school or university, they do part-time jobs to make money for tuition.
By comparison, Chinese education’s aim is to train children into talents. A glorious future means to get an ideal job and to live a rich. First, this aim is high and utility. It is hard to make it come true, because “having a glorious future” is not an easy work. Because of the aim, Chinese parents especially care for children’s achievements in study. Their only requirement is that their children can turn all the attentions on their study. Nevertheless, they ignore their children’s extraordinary abilities, damage their ability to innovate and imaginations. It turns out that parents would kill the talents of the children. Although, Chinese children study very hard and get good achievements, they lack of abilities to cater to this society. Sometimes, parents’ hope would be all over. For example, the Australia-Chinese, WeiLi, who is a high flier in music field, a month ago, he killed his mother, and then he left Australia by international flight. His father is a businessman, and his mother is a housewife, so her main work is keeping WeiLi at hard study and requires his son do everything successfully. WeiLi couldn’t bear the pressure, so killed his mother. This is a tragedy.
The aim of education is not only making children know something but also making them can do something. Based on the common sense of world, student should have the courage to question the authority and raise their own opinions. If some people disagree each other in some respects, they can discuss it with each other until they can have a single voice. We know that two heads are better than one, and all of them could hold their own opinions but all of them could better understand the problem. By this mean, students develop their critical spirit and cater to the development of the society.
4.2 The Comparison of the Education’s Results between China and America
Different results of education are due to different aims, methods and concepts, the educational result show some obvious different.
Generally speaking, American children show us their distinguishing characters when they are in young age. For example, they have very strong ability of independence; they don’t depend on their parents after 18 years old. The bulk of them will do some part-time job to earn their own bread. They can keep a cool head when they face troubles. They have the ability to adapting the society and can get on well with other people easily. Because they are independent from family when they are 18 and have experience from their work, they have more courage and confidence. Although Chinese students’ schoolwork is better than American students, they can’t live well independently without the support of their parents. In short, the prominent characteristics of American children are their great capacity and the adaption to the society.
Although, Chinese children, teenagers, even university students, who get great achievements in their studies and receive satisfaction, they do things in passive ways, such as timid, relying on other people, lacking of the ability to adapting the environment and get along well with other people. Even worse, with poor independent viability, they can’t deal with money in a proper way. In short, they are lack of the sympathy and only want other people to care about them and the ability to help others. Supposing that if a person only cares about himself, what responsibilities can he take for the society? Chinese parents hope their children study hard in the school instead of taking part in the changing society.
Nowadays, what kind of the education fits for the society? The future of a nation depends on the young generation. Nation’s development needs man’s creativity, activity, knowledge and talent. As the civilization develops, more and more people need to pay attention to the education of the ability to do all kinds of things and humanity. So today’s society needs active talents and all-round. Obviously, American
education can bring a child full of creativity and ability; in modern society, parents attach more attention to education in American the same as those in China. By comparison, Chinese family education only can produce a “talent”, who is good at studying and never against the rules. It is the result of “examination-oriented education”, which not only do harm to children’s body but also the mind. So Chinese education needs a reform immediately.
Ⅴ Implications for Teaching and Learning
In my opinion, on the one hand, we need inherit and develop the fine educational tradition of ancient China; on the other hand, we need grasp the essence from American education, and promote the reforming of Chinese education.
5.1 Education Aims: Turn “Talent” Education into “Human” Education.
Through the comparison, we can find that American family education’s aim is more fitting the progress of the society than China’s. In the meantime, it can produce more persons with creative ability. That can’t be denying. In Chinese exam-oriented education, we mislead and kill a lot of talents. Generally speaking, a person’s comprehensive capacity becomes more and more important as the developing of social productive force, the society competition becomes more and more violently.
5.2 Education Contents: “Turn ‘One-sided’ Family Education into ‘All-round’ Family Education.
In China, the aim of education is to pass knowledge to the next generation. Because of the wrong purpose, they trained a large number of students with high score but low ability. This kind of education will make children’s quality development unbalanced, so that it can’t fit for this dynamic society. After setting up “human” education as our education’s aim, we should improve children’s comprehensive quality. We should turn one-sided education into all-round education to improve the comprehensive quality of children,.
5.3 To Turn Knowledge Education into Capability Education
In today’s society, as development of modern science and technology, people have put training ability in a core position than teaching knowledge. Its goal is to improve every aspect of quality which a person needs and fit the requirements of the society’s development. Education demands the parents and teacher not only to give children knowledge, food and money, but the skills to get them. Parents should teach the children playing, working and communicating which are the abilities a person should have in modern society. Chinese should turn knowledge-education into capability-education.
The education is a cultural phenomenon which can reflect a nation’s culture connotation. Chinese and the American education each have its own advantages. To make up for one's deficiency, one should learn from others' strong points, pick up good idea from the other, and push forward the educational modernization immediately. China should turn “talent” education into “human” education, turn “restrained” education into “loose and comfortable” education, and use scientific mode of education to boot the reforms of education. If we can follow these changing, Chinese education will go to a rosy future. American also can get something they lack of from our education. Every child grows up under his parents and teachers’ educate, so children’s destinies are closely related to education. For the children, for the family, for the society, we should change our wrong way of education. America and China are two great nations. One is the largest developed country and the other is the largest developing country. More and more Chinese people go to the America to study further or advanced knowledge, or just having visits. And more and more American people come to China for jobs and joys. Cultural exchanges have played an important role in friendship and promoting mutual understanding between the two countries.
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