Eric Hu


Thad Niles

Oct 7th

What I discovered about the difference between College education

1. Different teaching method

Chinese education focuses on the knowledge of accumulation, on how students manage and use the knowledge they learned in school, and on understandings of knowledge systems and structures. Americans are interested in how students use their knowledge in society. The American system lets students criticize ideas, and challenge as well as create concepts.

Using math as an example, Chinese students are not allowed to use calculators. Chinese education focuses on strictness and precision, which improves retention. American education focuses on improving student assuredness, self-determination, and independence, which aids in comprehensive thinking.

2.The ways that students receive knowledge

Chinese students just take notes and memorize the facts in textbooks. American teachers also assess students’ creativity, leadership, and cooperation skills. Emphasizing these skills encourages American students to take part in extracurricular activities. There are many ways for American students to become involved with their society. They believe that education is a part of life, not just part of school.

3.Difference to the philosophy of learning.

China: this opportunity comes once in a lifetime

US: if you fail, just try again later

The highly-populated China is about “level playing field” competition where social status and class barriers can be overcome by studying hard and well. Education is a factory line process, even more so than the US. The US is a society that values creativity and the feelings of students: everything is “very good”, no matter what efforts you actually put in. All children are special.
 For Chinese, their future is basically decided by nationwide entrance examinations, with one to get into the best middle schools, followed by one to get into the best high schools, and then the one to get into the best universities. The competition is brutal. If they screw up, they are pretty much done.

For the US, the struggle begins in late high school. The competition for university is intense, but the SAT is nowhere near the intensity of the Gaokao. Failing to get into a desirable university isn’t the end of the world (unless you’re Chinese). The Victory lap is not the most desirable choice, but it’s not the worse either. Some students take hiatus and work for a year or two if they want to advance later. And it is socially acceptable. Learning in university continues becoming more intense, especially for technical degrees like math, engineering, and science.
 In other words, most of East Asia’s elites peaked as late teenagers, while most of North America’s elites peaked in their early 20s. Note that teenagers and twenties youth are very different. Maturity cannot be taught in an education system, and this is the fundamental difference between China and the US.

3. Study attitude

Students in China care about the grades but American students care more. In China, students never argue with professors on their grades unless it is an F. In US, I’ve seen dozens of students make efforts to get a lift from B- to B. Studying at a half-A-half-B business school, I do think it is ridiculous to do so.

4. The importance of the test score

Chinese education produces excellent test scores, a short-term outcome that can be achieved by rote memorization and hard work. But like the Chinese government itself, it does not produce a citizenry of diverse, creative, and innovative talent. The Chinese educational system excels at transmitting a narrow amount of content and prescribed skills that its students must master. Chinese students put an outsize amount of time into mastering these skills. They have an average of 14 hours of homework a week. The US, for comparison, had an average of six hours per week. Chinese always use every way to get a high score in the test. However, many of the methods cannot have any good effect on students except getting a high score. In the US, Teachers more concern about the learning process. Things other than test scores matter in the final evaluation.

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