Chinese vs. US Educational Systems

Read the following two articles.

Article 1:
by Angela Fang | June 03, 2016 |

Article 2:
There is a new call for Americans to embrace Chinese-style education.
That’s a huge mistake
Read online.
by Valerie Strauss | September 19, 2017 |

Based on your reading of the Strauss (and class discussions), write an opinion piece or a letter to the editor, expressing your view:

Letters to the editor and opinion pieces are very powerful advocacy tools. In your letter or opinion piece, you can bring up information not addressed in the news article (particular the Strauss piece), and can create the impression of widespread support or opposition to an issue.

In your writing, be sure to do the following:

Adhere to word count requirements–at least 250 words, but no more than 300. Please list your word count. 

Open with a strong statement, and be sure to place the most important information at the beginning.

Use a personal story or illustration to make your point in plain language.

Post your opinion piece or letter under the comments below.

34 thoughts on “Chinese vs. US Educational Systems

  1. I hate how your future is dependent on how you act as a child. Who’s idea was it to have adolescent children determine their futures based on limited life experiences? Why do you need to know what you’re doing for the rest of your life before you hit age 16? We need to find whoever made the education system in the U.S. and slap that person. In China, it’s even worse. There’s no such thing as individuality in China. There’s no award for being decent in school, there’s only the best of the best, and everyone else. Kids in America keep complaining that they have the stuffiest parents who don’t let them express themselves and how stressful the education system is; those kids wouldn’t last a day in a Chinese school. We’re pampered here in the U.S. and that’s fine with me. Here’s the thing about time and stress: everyone wants more time. More hours in their days, more days in their years, more years in their lives. They act as if that a extra time would be able to rectify any mistake, but if you’re that willing to waste time, you don’t deserve it in the first place. Time is a finite resource, and people don’t seem to understand that here in the U.S. In China, every second in school have to be utilized perfectly, or you’re dead set for failure. A fair balance between the two is probably the best way of utilizing time, because it’s not about how much time you have, it’s how you use it.

  2. The differences between the Chinese and American systems of education are many, and the debate about which is superior is significant for the future of education around the world. While the weaknesses of both styles are apparent, I agree with Lenora Chu that some combination of the two systems seems to be ideal.
    The primary point of strength of the style of education practiced in China is the emphasis on the importance of hard work as opposed to merit in learning. Although Yong Zhao may be correct that stressing hard work as the only necessary ingredient to academic success is unfair to students with learning disabilities or other similar challenges, the current idea in American education that a student’s ability to succeed in any given subject is pre-determined by their genetics is one that I believe to be profoundly harmful. The narrative that a student must have innate talent in a certain area of study in order to successfully learn it is one that leads to a total lack of effort in that subject, therefore reinforcing the preconception that the student is incapable of learning it.
    Growing up, one of my closest friends struggled immensely in math. The reaction of the instructors responsible for teaching him the subject was to adapt the material as well as style of instruction for him. However, because he continued to experience difficulty, he was told from a young age, implicitly and out right, that math was not his strong suit. As such, he never truly worked hard to gain a better understanding of the subject and never did. In a situation such as this one, I think that had my friend been instilled with the belief that hard work would ultimately pay off, he would have fared better in his study of mathematics.
    On the other hand, this does expose one of the conspicuous weaknesses of the Chinese style of education. While I do believe that my friend could have done better in math than he did if he worked hard, the fact remains that the dude was just plain bad at it. Consequently, had he been held to the exact same standard as every other student in regards to mathematic achievement, he likely would have suffered in a way very similar to the way in which many Chinese students suffer.
    In all, I think that the rigor of the Chinese style of education is a positive attribute that American schools could benefit from, but that it also needs to come with an understanding of context- disability, background, and countless other factors- that are all disregarded in the Chinese educational model.

  3. I personally value individualism and creativity very highly, so I think an education system centered around those aspects is more effective than a highly rigorous one. We’re very fortunate to have the ability to express ourselves as individuals in America and that’s definitely evident in the education system. We are allowed to take electives, play sports, join clubs, and more so that we can be ourselves at our school. Often, we meet others like us because of the common interests we share. Then, in the actual classroom setting, each student is unique. They all have different learning techniques, and as society progresses, teachers and administrators work with the individuals so that they are able to obtain an education. This is not the case in China. They focus on hard work and dedication to all subjects, especially core ones. It’s important what your rank is as that’s basically what defines you as a student and academic. I would argue that their education system is more focused on producing a coherent collective of a generation as compared to America’s focus on each person being special, and using their talents to obtain success.
    However, I still think that students must learn academic material and be able to work with it, analyse it, solve it, recall it, etc. American schools that focus too much on the individual are usually regarded as “hippie” schools, something I agree with. Learning crafting skills and basic academic information with no consequences is fun, however those students will be highly unprepared for either the world of high school, college, or beyond. A nice balance of rigor and creativity would be the ideal education system.

  4. Education is an extremely important aspect of a community, culture, or society that has a great impact on our values, ideologies, habits, relationships with others, and the development of the environment we contribute to. This correlation between education its impact on individuals is one I think is overlooked. I think prior to thinking deeper about the connect, I saw culture as impacting the way we teach and learn, but perhaps it can also be viewed as the other way around. When reading these articles and watching the videos about Lenora Chu I can see the differences between Western and Chinese education and its correlation to culture and society. Western education is characterized by student-lead discovery and problem-solving, creative outlets, and more individualized schedules starting as early as middle school. The success of a student in the west can be measured in more specified subjects, crediting weakness or strengths in certain areas with inherent ability, described as “talent”. Students involvement in sports or volunteering can make up for poor standardized test scores, and a moving essay about a personal experience can tip the scale in ones favor when applying to institutions of higher education. In juxtaposition, the Chinese ideology champions the idea that success is only correlated with hard work and not talent, and the value of a student is primarily based on the test scores they receive. Strict expectations to adhere to habits of respect, consistency, and response to authority all enforce the hierarchy of success in school based on test scores and ranking. While the Chinese model for education is criticized for its harshness and fostering, “robot students,” I find myself agreeing with Lenora Chu, that there are favorable aspects to both systems, and both Western and Chinese education could benefit from borrowing tactics from one another.
    The element of Chinese education that I find most valuable is the belief that hard work is what improves one’s skills and success. While there is something to be said for innate ability or individualized differences in the reception of information, I think that the idea of talent or lack thereof is too often used as a crutch in the U.S. to excuse lack of interest or unwillingness to face challenge. Not to say that hard-working students don’t’ exist, just that Western education and ideology don’t encourage tenacity and diligence the way that Chinese education does. One thing the west does well is encouraging individuality and personal interest. By allowing or more well-rounded introduction to a variety of topics students are able to explore and focus on subjects that interest them. Motivation for learning can then rely on interest and self-motivation, fostering creativity and exploration. I think both systems face issues of equality. While the more standardized nature of Chinese schooling can be said to provide more consistent and equal education, the necessity to test into high school education and the value of ranking students reduces the opportunities available to those who don’t perform as well. In addition, it also undermines the value of an individual to there academic success, not taking into account other valuable aspects of identity recognized in the west like art, athletics, speaking, community involvement, leadership skills, or individual skillsets and interests. Overall I think that both systems carry there own strengths and weaknesses, impacting those and each system and their contributions to their own communities and the development of society.

  5. Word Count – 1,596

    To preface my thoughts: Ethnocentrism, the idea of evaluating another culture by one’s own which devalues other cultures and privileges one’s own and cultural relativism, the idea of a person’s ideas, values, and practices should be understood in that person’s culture, rather than it being judged by some other criteria. I say these two because it’s a bit tough for me to draw a line between “oh, it’s their culture” and trying to understand it within their cultural context, and judging the culture. I often result in being empathic and understanding around “it’s their culture. Who am I, someone who’s external to the culture – an outsider – to come in and automatically judge and bash another culture?” However, I’m left with questions such as: how delicate should we be when talking about cultures outside our own? How can be cultural relativists? And should being cultural relativists be the end goal for us discussing culture? Or is it important to sometimes judge a culture by some outside criteria, rather than understanding in that person’s culture? What is the idealized way of talking about cultures outside our own?

    My thoughts on applying for higher education: It seems that there is A LOT of pressure imposed on each individual student. Given that surnames in Chinese culture are extremely important, I can see how the pressure imposed onto each student is beyond that individual student: it can be reflective of one’s family, therefore I can see how there’s a pressure imposed into the student to keep the family name honorable and well-respected. However, with this culture, I’m curious what Chinese people think of using a standardized national exam as a main source for getting a seat into higher education. I know here, or at least in my highschool, there is a lot of critical talk and studies talking about how exams aren’t efficient for truly learning. I’m also reminded of Paulo Freire’s “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, when Freire talks about the ‘Banking System of Education’, which is when educators view students as “empty and must be filled with knowledge”, therefore, they ‘store’ information into the students so the student can have it regurgitated back into them via exams, tests, etc. I’ve been in a lot of spaces which educators critique this model of education, and talk more about a collaborative form of education. I’ve been exposed to this before, and my question is, have Chinese people/students been exposed to this critique of education in a larger, national scale? Is there movements, organizations, groups, a rising number of students and educators, challenging this standardized national exam? I feel like this question assumes there’s something wrong with it, now that I think of it, and truth is, I probably shouldn’t be working under such assumptions, however, has this standardized national exam ever been described as a ‘Banking System of Education’? I know that the video we viewed in class described Chinese education as very polarized, with the views of “world’s best students’ or ‘grunt learning robots’ or something like that. Which view is more dominant? Is the ‘banking system of education’ a tool to produce “grunt learning robots”?

    My thoughts on “world-class experts at fear-based motivation”: Damn. I mean, it seems like a very disciplined environment. I can recall many instances in my educational experience where students, including myself when I didn’t care about school, simply didn’t want to be there. Students hated it. It will be clear that the school environment was one student’s didn’t want to be in. I can remember there being actual fights in classrooms, having teachers break them up, having teachers call security a lot, having students throw stuff around the classroom, have their feet on the desks while being on their phones. I can visually picture these memories and when I think them in contrast to Chinese education, I feel like there would be no such thing there. In fact, I think it’s better that they can be more disciplined and not have educational experiences similar to mine when the classroom is just completely out of control. However, I think their form of discipline definitely comes at a cost. To me, it kind of reminds me of the Model Minority Myth, in which asian people, particularly those from East Asia, are depicted as the “Model Minority”, out of all other racial minorities, which they should all aspire to be. This, of course, places a lot of pressure onto asian people, especially when internalized, so I think the polarized camp that is all about “world’s best students” doesn’t justify the “Model Minority Myth”, well in a way kinda, but I feel like it makes it easier for the Model Minority Myth to be played out. Back when I studied the MMM, I would read a lot of studies of high suicide rates, connections to stereotypes such as “tiger mom’s” and a lot of narratives around pressure. I remember when I went to China for an international debate tournament, I made a good friend which I still keep in contact with and I remember him telling me about the pressure he faces for his future, and how his fate is locked on tests he had to take, and how he’s scared of what’s going to happen and of disappointing his family. At the time, I only knew a little bit of context, but now knowing more, I can definitely see where it’s coming from. I remember him telling me that fear drives a lot of his actions, which for me, makes me wonder if that’s effective. It makes me question what should be at the forefront of one’s actions: should our actions be driven out of fear, or should it be driven out of aspiration? Does aspiration lead to fear or does fear lead to aspirations?

    My thoughts on the “authoritative education”: Similar to above, I can see how this is a good thing in terms of a well managed class, however, I can totally see how this comes at a cost of not questioning. I think questioning can be very important; questioning can lead one to a lot of insight. We don’t know what we don’t know, and the more we know, the more we realize we don’t know. I believe through questions, we can actively discover and uncover what we don’t know. However, it seems like they don’t like it when they question authority. I feel like I’m making it seem like not questioning authority spills over to not questioning in general. I’m not trying to say that. If that’s the case, then I would disagree for what I mentioned earlier, but if it’s not questioning authority alone, then I think people can internalize that and not question their government, especially in times like now with Hong Kong, China’s firewall, historical and present-day repression and erasure of history which I think, as an outsider who has access to all this information, is worth questioning. It seems like one should question, but chinese education reduces one to question authority.

    Conclusion/I’m left with these questions:

    I like the language of “window” in the video. I also really liked what you said in class Sun Laoshi about learning about other cultures and help you learn more about your own. In my AFAM 310 class, Dr.Brackett tells us to use the language of “windows” and “mirrors” when reading our novels in class. She says windows occur when you look at something from another culture that’s outside your own and mirrors is a reflection of another culture that’s similar to your own. I totally agree with you Sun Laoshi. I totally think learning more about other cultures can help one learn more about their own culture, in the same way that learning more about other individual people helps us learn more about ourselves as individuals. Overall, I think there’s pros and cons to both American and Chinese education, generally speaking. I will conclude with this: I want to be an educator at my old highschool and teach Ethnic Studies in the long term. Not many students from my background have the same opportunities as me to be here, take wonderful classes with supportive professors, have the ability to study abroad, and go out of state for college, so I’d like to return to my highschool to help any way I can. I will leave this video here:

    “you want kids to come into your class and get em excited for this? You gotta come in here and you gotta make em excited. You want a kid to change and start doin better? You gotta touch his their frickin’ heart. Can’t expect a kid to change if all you do is just tell em”.

    I’m left with the following questions: On the first article, under the “required education” section, it says “all students in China are required to complete at least nine years of education. Students can either opt to enter Upper-Secondary School, Vocational Secondary School, or enter the workforce directly afterwards.” What’s the percentage of students who choose to go into Upper-Secondary, Vocational Secondary School, or the workforce directly? How does going into the workforce directly limit one’s options of jobs, if any? Is there any prejudices and/or stigmas that exist for people who choose Vocational Secondary or enter the workforce directly? How do students learn best? What’s the most optimal form of learning? Given that everybody is different and has different learning accommodations/needs, what are popular ways for students can learn? And how can educators touch the hearts of their students, initiating a tug within the gut’s of students, inviting them to proclaim and take responsibility for their own education?

  6. Reflection Essay: Chinese vs. US Educational Systems
    Zachary Werner 王建仁
    Word Count: 275

    I believe that the way schools are run within the United States is very beneficial for students compared to the way that schools are run in China. These US schools allow students to make their own decisions and can focus on more than just intelligence. I think that, in order to allow for young men and women to achieve things that they want in their life, they should be given the opportunity to follow along their own path to success and decide what courses and educational routes they would like to take. In China, it is a lot more common for students to follow along with the route that their parents would like them to be on and they aren’t always able to explore things that interest them more. In my high school years, I took classes that I found to be interesting. Though I didn’t think that I would want to end up doing that subject in the future as a profession, I enjoyed getting the experience. In China, it is more of a one-track road and there is not nearly as much room for personal improvement and exploration. Personal decisions aside, students in the US are also allowed to focus on things that have to do with more than just education and personal experience. There are lots of parts of schools in the US that allow students to expand their minds in social aspects as well. Clubs and groups are examples of social experiences that Chinese schools don’t offer to their students. All in all, I believe that the United States education system is better for the students both education wise and socially.

  7. Tess Goldstone
    Lotus Perry
    October 27,2019
    Chinese 101

    Dear Angela Fang and Valarie Strauss,
    The most important part of a students education is their ability to have creative representation in a classroom. According to your articles some of the Chinese systems are implementing some type of creative expression into school, but it is not like the education systems we see in the US. For example, in the US school systems kids are allowed to pick electives that they are interested in. The US system doesn’t have a ranking system that induces fear into their students but, they do have a grading system with letters. I think that they both induce some kind of fear in both the education systems. I think that a Chinese education system works to a point. I think they do very well with getting the kids to study and work hard, but I think that the kids are not having as much as they would have if they were in the U.S education system. I think the good thing about Chinese schools is that they have a long period for lunch. I think that most of the learning in school happens outside of the classroom. I think to me it feels like no one in China is having that much fun because they are studying all the time to try to get a better rank. Chinese schools are also test based. For me I am not good at taking tests and I think that there are other ways to determine a students intelligence than taking a test. Overall I would rather go to a US school than a Chinese school.
    Tess Jinna Goldstone
    Word Count: 273

  8. The Chinese education system promotes rigid authority and discipline and restricts student-led discovery learning. Authoritarian methods of teaching are beneficial because they encourage students to take their education very seriously and push students to succeed and appreciate the value of hard work.
    However embedding discipline into students can lead to damage in the future and in other areas of life. Students who associate learning and presenting new information with stress and anxiety due to schooling experiences may find it difficult to relax and relieve feelings of pressure when learning and performing tasks for recreational purposes. For example, when I was in middle school, I had a soccer coach who was very strict and yelled at me when I failed to perform a given task. Those experiences caused me to harshly critique myself and now when I play soccer with my friends, I feel the pressure to play the best I can.
    The US educational system encourages both structure and individualism. During kindergarten to middle school, American schools enforce authority but not to the extent of Chinese schools. The biggest difference between the two systems is that US schooling supports individualism while Chinese schooling does not. Allowing and encouraging students to explore and understand themselves leads to more diversity which is promoted in the US. American schools also encourage students to learn through student-led discovery. This method of learning may allow students to better understand information rather hearing it explained from a teacher, however it can also be inefficient and cause students to not take learning seriously.
    Education systems should consist of teaching methods from both the Chinese and US. It is important for students to receive regiment to an extent so that they can experience success from working hard and appreciate discipline, but not feel pressured to further their education after secondary school. Students should be allowed to learn on their own and find what method of learning best fits them.

    Word count: 321

  9. While the Chinese educational system has its advantages compared to the American system, there are major drawbacks. Neither system is better than the other, they are just vastly different. If the best qualities from either system were combined, it would be ideal. The best system would balance academics and leisure (sports, arts, etc.) On international standardized tests, China is the most successful. It also maintains low government spending on education, which makes Chinese education seem like a system that others should aspire to replicate. However, the Chinese system is rigid, authoritarian, and encourages competition. It is very rigorous in its teaching style which is one of the main problems of Chinese education. Students are rewarded for sitting quietly, they are trained to compete against their classmates, they are not allowed to ask questions, and they are trained to not question authority. Life as a student is dominated by work and study. The advantage that the American system has versus the Chinese system is that it encourages individuality and creativity. While the U.S. may have lower standardized test scores, the system arguably produces a higher number of creative free-thinkers and innovators because children are encouraged to do so from an early age. While academically, the Chinese system may be better, the American system is better creatively. Additionally, it may actually be more healthy for the students because there is less fear involved. At times, in the Chinese system, children can be threatened with negative action by the teacher in order to encourage “good behavior,” or submission to authority. This is obviously not allowed in the American system, so while students may misbehave more than Chinese students, they are not afraid to speak up or ask questions as a Chinese student might be.

  10. NAME ?????
    Overall, from what I have read, I do not like Chinese academic systems. The concept of fear-based motivation to me sounds like it would be traumatizing and mentally unhealthy to the students as well as it is invalidating the emotional development the children may need regarding their mental health. I feel like these kids are losing passion for the things they could love from academics.
    The article mentioned that the she needed to hire a tutor for her son and that they would do stuff at home with him for school before breakfast. Obviously, the child’s parents have money and time to devote to their son. Not every parent has the money to hire a tutor and make sure their kid is following along in class nor the time to try and help. And the fear-based incorporation reduces the chance a child will raise their hand to get help in something they are struggling with thus resulting in a tutor being the only way the child can keep up with the class. this creates an economic divide between the students resulting in lower class students to have a higher chance of falling behind and not placing as highly in their class.
    Although I do agree that the American education system is flawed, and we could follow Chinese grit I do not think we should create that grit from being afraid in the class room. I think if maybe parents tried to take a little bit more time into teaching their children to be passionate about school and to enjoy learning than the United States could have a better chance of getting kids to succeed in school to the extent that the Chinese do.

  11. The Chinese and American school districts put too much importance into one test. In china that test being the test kids have to take to get into school so these tests are more regular, whereas the test that could be used in the U.S. is the SAT. Personally, I believe putting so much weight on one test is completely absurd. A kid’s life should not be determined by how they do on a particular day on a particular test, there are so many aspects that could ruin the chances for a kid with tremendous potential to not have adequate opportunities. Along with that, there are way too many aspects that could affect a kid from getting their optimal score and thus making it unfair some of these instances might be having a bad day and you mind isn’t in it, some people just aren’t good at taking tests, and there are always people who need specialized attention or personalized procedures but they don’t always get it. This aspect of one test holding so much importance can also extremely push a person mentally and drain them or even lead them to have anxiety or depression. One example of the test being so draining was that in both times I took the SAT when I was done and went home and take in mind it was still early in the day I would get home and wouldn’t even finish eating because I would lay down and be asleep for the rest of the day. This is a good example because anyone who knows me knows I’m extremely energetic and for anything to get me that exhausted is surprising and even more so that it was a test where I was sitting for four hours. (293 Words)

  12. The school systems in China and America are drastically different when compared to one another. The Chinese school system is good at promoting students to focus on academics and work hard to become successful. The American school system on the other hand, encourages students to have individual expression and to get involved with their peers and community to feel achieved with any task at hand.
    I remember the main tip that I was told when applying to colleges; get involved by volunteering and participating in clubs and sports. Test scores are important when it comes to college acceptance but there is heavy emphasis on the activities that the students have participated in their last four years of high school. Since community involvement is seen as important, community service is requirement, at least at my high school, since being able to help within the community creates a leader within society.
    After reading the articles, it has become evident how much the Chinese school system focuses on academics. Schools in China are meant for just academics and not a place to learn how to contribute to community and explore hobbies with peers. Continuing to higher education is mainly dependent on test scores, lacking individual expression of students but promoting a competitive nature when it comes to academics.
    Both schooling systems are very different, but they have aspects that are important to becoming successful students. I believe that it is important to have a heavy focus on academics but to still connect with peers through hobbies provided by the school (i.e. sports and clubs). The focus on academics helps students to be more prepared for a future for higher education or even long-term careers and individual expression allows students to be able to make their own decisions and to find connections with others through interests.

    Word Count: 302

  13. Nathaniel Chusid

    While the Chinese education system produces great looking results, it tends to put too much pressure on students and creates a lack of ability to think independently. The first article gave a good overview of the system as a whole, how the grade levels are split up, the emphasis on test scores and so on. The second article on the other hand was highly opinionated but gave more of the dirty details about the system than the first piece. While I agreed with a lot of what the author, Yong Zhao, I thought he was a little harsh and didn’t account for some of the beneficial aspects of Chinese schools. The article is in response to a book written by an American woman who moved to ShangHai with her son and had a difficult experience adjusting to the style of teaching. Even though she had many problems with the way her son was being taught, Zhao finds even the things she said they did well to be false. In one section he attacks the “force fed learning” he claims makes Chinese students do better on tests but takes all the joy out of learning the subject and makes it feel like a chore. He cites a point in the book where the boy didn’t want there to be any Chinese children at his birthday party because he didn’t want to have to speak Chinese on his birthday. He points out how the boy learns Chinese at school and is therefore unwilling to do it in his personal life because the style of chinese teaching has made it tedious. I can relate to this on a personal note since I feel as though many things have been made to feel like chores due to school.

    296 words

  14. The educational systems of America and China are built on vastly different structures but this doesn’t make either one perfect. Both countries could learn a lot from each other when it comes to building an optimal education. As far as structure is concerned however I do tend to favor the American education system even though it is far from ideal. This is because the American system allows the students far more flexibility and ability to discover their individuality. From reading the articles it seems that the Chinese system is structured around test scores and ranks. They don’t have as much freedom when it comes to taking elective courses, nor do they typically have physical education.
    It is hard as an American to picture schools where the teachers are the absolute authority. How they are given license to use fear and humiliation as tools to achieve compliance. This may result in high test scores and students with strong discipline, but as Strauss writes, these don’t necessarily translate to success in the real world. This system also lacks accessibility, as it doesn’t take into account the wide variety of interests and talents of its students. Although I share the belief that anyone can be successful if they work hard, It can not be ignored that people have their strengths and weaknesses. Not only that but if someone is pursuing something they are interested in they tend to excel much more easily.
    That being said there is much we could take from China’s education here in America. We may be too easy on our students early on, leaving them unprepared for higher education. Also America’s ideal of producing strong independent thinkers is not always the reality. On top of that the costs for higher education in America are outrageous!

  15. I strongly believe that there are flaws and benefits to both systems of education, but I believe that in the long run the American education system is more beneficial for students. The Chinese educational system is extremely impressive and standardized and has some great benefits over an American system. The standardization and the influence on hard work are some of the benefits of the system, the emphasis that all students are equal, and it is just the matter of effort put in I think is an amazing belief to emphasize. I also believe that the Chinese educational system is more emphasized on test and due to that their students probably are smarter when it comes to testable subjects like math and sciences. Where I personally see a massive flaw in the Chinese educational system is the lack of personal identity and believes that the students develop. Another issue is the test placement system in China where one bad test can completely dash your hopes of a higher education or even going to a good high school. Being raised in America and going to public schools I believe I have developed more of a personal identity and learned a lot about myself throughout my education. I also have some friends that spent a semester of high school in China and talking to them about their experiences of the education system I am glad I have gone to American schools. Overall I believe it all comes down to what you believe is better a society of individuals with their own beliefs, perspectives, and knowledge, or a society of book smart individuals with less personal identity but more of a national one.

    Word Count: 279

    Wiley Seckinger

  16. There are both advantages and disadvantages the Chinese form of education. Chinese students traditionally test higher than students around the globe in standardized testing, ranking highest in Math, Literature, Science, and Foreign Languages. They are disciplined in classrooms and at home, and strive to be the best in everything they do. This may sound like a utopian form of education based on statistics and rankings. However, the drawbacks of this system can be seen in social behavior and psychological analysis. While they rank highest, Chinese students are rarely given the opportunity to explore personal interests/talents as their individualism is forfeited in favor of a single-track learning environment. All students are also required to take the same classes at the same level as everyone else which immediately puts students with learning disabilities into a precarious situation as no alternatives are provided. The system of ranking students against each other not only creates a more stressful environment for the kids within school, but also pressures parents into punishing their child if they are not ranked as high as the family thinks is appropriate. This is not to say that American education doesn’t also have its faults. Americans (while given a notion of individual choice) are so pressured by a capitalistic society that teenagers are told to forego personal interests in favor of careers with financial stability and/or wealth. We also base much of our futures on standardized testing such as the SAT, ACT, and AP scores (also run by the College Board, a for-profit company which essentially controls higher education). The lack of funding towards public schools within disenfranchised communities in the US creates a large disparity between job opportunities for lower, middle, and higher classes. Here a person’s upbringing can affect their future more than their work ethic can whereas in China (because of their dependance on standardized testing and a core curriculum that is unchanging), a student’s grades may be able to bring them out of a lower class and into a higher one as hard work is rewarded.
    (word count = 343)

  17. Reid Schulz
    Chinese 101
    October 27, 2019

    I have worked at three different early education and preschool establishments, inturn different methods of teaching are very important and interesting to me. Even within these few schools, I saw a difference in teaching style and how that really affected the students in and out of the classroom. I have a close friend, Minyang, who was born and raised in Nanjing, China. He attended Chinese school until his (American) Sophmore year of Highschool when he came to study in the United States. I have had very in-depth conversations with him about the difference in schooling and his opinions were very interesting to me. He would often tell me that he felt his classes in the States were sometimes harder than in China. He said that it was because of the creative problem-solving and opinion-based style. From the readings, I got a better understanding as to why this was the case for him. Even the smallest thing, as staying in the room as your teacher comes to you, can change the way a student learns. Minyang shared a story with me that growing up he was always told that American students are lazy, cheaters, who take for granted their easy homework load and relaxed educational system. So it came as quite a shock when he came to America and realized that the workload is quite similar and the students care just as much as students in China about their education. I feel like this shows that both styles of teaching are valid, they just raise different ways of thinking. And brings light to the fact that the media misrepresents these educational systems leading people to form very strong opinions against one or the other. I appreciate the fact that China has a different culture that leads to contrasting morals than ones that I was raised with, creating a learning environment I am not used to and would not be comfortable with. I personally would not want to be taught in that style or manner but I respect others’ opinions and preferences.

  18. The Chinese education system is problematic as it creates railroads for children that are impossible to come back from. Rather than try to help students who are struggling, it just leads them to worse schools overall, which then land them worse jobs. This forces Chinese students to have to prioritize school work over anything else, for fear of getting on the wrong track. This leads to a lack of imagination and creates a society of people that find it harder to think for themselves, as following the school leads to results. This also causes less individuality; in America, our extracurriculars and personal experiences can be beneficial to our high school/college applications, while in China they are not. In my opinion, being well rounded is far more beneficial to a person than being extremely specialized, in this case being superb students at the cost of everything else. I do believe that having a ranking system could be helpful in improving scores, as everyone hates being judged or being seen as dumb, but it can also lead to students having self esteem problems or extreme stress relating to schooling. I think that for this idea to work, the ranking should be a private number that only the recipient can see, as it would cause people who don’t realize they are doing poorly to try to do better. I think that both systems put an abnormally high emphasis on schooling and book smarts, and that it is unhealthy for it to be so highly sought after in both societies.

    Word Count: 257

  19. I don’t think you can really value the American or Chinese style of education system over each other. They’re almost too different to compare. Both have their benefits and their drawbacks. I do think that criticisms of the Chinese education system are valid, but some of the criticisms from Yong Zhao are a bit harsh. For example, Yong Zhao makes the point that fear-based obedience tactics are not sustainable and can lead to long term emotional consequences. However, I wouldn’t go so far as to call fear-based behaviors “cheating”. Children do need to be disciplined to an extent. Without punishments for bad/undesirable behaviors, there can be no rewards. I’m sure that Chu’s son left the Chinese educational system much better behaved than when he entered. Having high standards for a child’s behavior isn’t unheard of. God forbid parents don’t want their children misbehaving and constantly fidgeting. I also don’t agree with Yong Zhao’s point about “misplaced grit”. They make it sound like kids don’t know when to stop trying. In the U.S., having raw talent in a subject is emphasized over hard work. In China, the opposite is true. Anyone can become good enough with hard work and practice. I don’t think that Yong Zhao’s point about hard work sometimes never being enough is valid. Sure, talent is nice, but working hard is also important. Obviously, both is nice, but sometimes you have to work with what you have. And I’d like to think that even people in China know when to quit if there’s something they absolutely can’t do. I think Chinese education just has different priorities than American schools do, and that’s okay.
    Words: 275

  20. Word Count 410.
    Neither system is perfect, and we cannot create a perfect education system, or it would at least be extremely difficult. Now, I personally am not a big fan of the Chinese education system, but looking at it from different perspectives, I can see why it can be good.
    Having such a big population means that there are plenty of kids that go to school, which after the mandatory nine years of education decide if they want/can continue to upper-secondary school. This “sorting process” means that a significant amount of students do not continue, and pursue other careers that hold up the economy, while some others continue to higher education. This by itself does not sound too bad to me, and even logical in a sense, but where I see a problem is in the suppression of personality, which is crucial to the existence of an individual, unless like it is the case in China, there is not a big emphasis on individualism. This behavior is for all I know deeply rooted in the tradition and culture, and thus would only seem natural for people in the system, just how it is normal for us to have our education system. Now, from what I understand and have heard, there is a slow shift in the Chinese education system, so who knows what it will look like in the future.
    However, what the actual lessons in this education system look like now are something that I have no experience with, and thus cannot personally argue about, but I have attended a Japanese school before, which shares many similar aspects to the Chinese one. The overall structure is the same, and I would argue that the “selection process” is just as present in the Japanese one, along with the immense pressure on tests and performance, yet we do not criticize the Japanese education system as much. From what I can recall, there is no suppression of individualism, so I wonder if it is really only the suppression of individualism that causes us to criticize the Chinese one so much, since otherwise we also would have to criticize other education systems, or if there perhaps exist other non-related aspects that affect this criticism. Essentially what I just want to say is that everyone should do their own research and form their own opinion on the matter, mine being that neither is perfect and that we should perhaps also look at other education systems.

  21. While reading these articles, I found that a majority of students in the Chinese education system are scared into obeying classroom rules. Compared to the American education system, the schools in China are much more vigorous and strict. Throughout all of my years of school, it has always been a rule that when the bell rings, the class is over but in China, the teacher is the one who dismisses the class and they can hold their students for as long as needed in order to finish the lesson. I agree with Strauss’s article because going into an environment where you are scared to get a drink of water or are always on edge is no way to live. I do agree that American schools need to improve but I do not think we should embrace the Chinese education system. Even though they are very effective, Chinese schools cause too much anxiety and pressure on the children. While hard work does pay off, it makes it harder for students to find what they are truly passionate about which is one thing that the American schools are helping with. As mentioned in class, class sizes in China are much larger than ours. This makes it very difficult for students to get help from their teachers and have an intimate relationship with their class. I have had very small classes for all of my life and I have received help when I needed it and without the help of my teachers and classmates, I would not be where I am today and I am extremely grateful that I was able to receive that kind of education. Overall, the Chinese education system is very effective but it is not what America needs right now. Word count: 293

  22. It was very interesting to see the differences between the Chinese education system and the American education system, and especially through Strauss disagreeing with many of Chu’s interpretation of her son’s behaviors in her book. While I appreciate the Amercian education system, there are definitely areas it could be improved. When I was younger, I was decent in every subject except for math. To make me more competitive with my peers, my mom put me in a course that drilled me in the problems I was having trouble with until I was able to do them quickly and with ease. I didn’t enjoy it, but it did teach me that repetition is effective when establishing the basics of something. In her article, Stauss discusses the importance of students making connections on their own to create deeper understandings of the content. Though I agree with this for the more subjective parts of various subjects, schools do need to place more emphasis on repetition and rigor in the foundation of those subjects. For example, math such as geometry may need to be a more individualistic experience, because they’ll only retain the information if they really understand it. However, basic addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division should be a little more rigorous, as these basic skills carry into all upper levels of math. Having students make initial connections on their own is incredibly important, but once those connections and understandings form, repetition and drilling is helpful for maintaining and practicing what has been learned.

  23. Cecelia Wulff
    Sun Laoshi
    Word Count 377

    American and Chinese education institutions hold many similarities though their most notable distinctions lie in their differences of rigidity. There are vast criticisms of the Chinese education system, yes it’s not a perfect system and there are many factors to take into consideration when analyzing it. First you have to acknowledge the contrast in culture between America and China. Secondly, you must keep in mind the population size and distribution of people in China. China has roughly four times the population of the US and over 40% live in rural areas. Many elements of their system aim to close the education gap between urban and rural students.

    I went to a Chinese immersion school kindergarten through almost the end of third grade then transferred to a traditional public school. Looking back on the experience there are only a few main differences I noticed between the schools. First obviously being that all my classes were no longer being taught in Chinese and there was a bigger emphasis on learning how to read and write in English. Secondly, before classes started every morning everyone would gather in the gym and we would line up in rows and do various stretches, dances and sing a variety of songs. My older sister and mom visited China in 2011 and they witnessed a similar activity taking place in the morning at a school they visited. China is primarily criticized for how black and white and rigid their school system is. They are said to be producing robots rather than independent or creative individuals. I never remember the immersion school being incredibly intense or demanding and I only went to elementary school there. The only more intense learning experience I can remember was memorizing my multiplication tables up to 12×12. Although it was stressful at the time its been immensely helpful overall. The US and China share very different values across the board on a variety of subjects and education is no different. Thus their system was designed differently.

    No system is perfect and although China’s current system has some negative elements that can overshadow the positive ones, their system and procedures within the system will change as their economy and globalization force them to adapt to standards that are more globally accepted.

  24. 邢浴貴/Jacob Singer
    Chinese education reflection

    In my opinion, Chinese education is a system that makes ours in America look easier. I think this because of the level of material that a Chinese student learns in 2nd grade is more difficult than what an American student learns in 2nd grade. Basically a 2nd grader in China can be as educated as a 3rd or even 4th grader in America and that says a lot. I believe that if slightly more complex material was taught in our American educational system like in China. Then we would probably see some improvement in educational standards for students in America. So, our students can comprehend and attain the same higher-level education Chinese students get. I think our educational system can be improved with some slight changes drawn from the educational system in China.
    I also think that the whole ranking system in each subject is harsh. I think this because if you are not the best in certain subjects which can lead to you getting a rank that doesn’t look too good then it wouldn’t really be an encouragement if it shows how bad you do in certain subjects you struggle in. I think that it can be an obstacle and deter students that aren’t the number one in their class in English or mathematics. But the ranking system is cool since it can give you a precise ranking in your understanding of the subject in your class. I think that is better and more accurate then giving a letter grade with no comparison to other students. The ranking system can be a good idea or a bad one.

    word count 276

  25. Max Kusel
    Chinese 101
    Word Count: 296
    After reading the various articles on the differences between the education systems in China and the U.S, I came to the conclusion that the rift in teaching methods can be attributed to the tense relationship that the U.S has with China. To many Americans, the idea of limited self expression in the classroom and a rank based non-confidential grading system is baffling , while many Chinese students are perplexed by the American ideas of being able to choose what classes you want to take and being able to challenge the authority of a teacher. From kindergarten to 12th grade, I was enrolled in a school district in an affluent New Jersey suburb of New York City that had a 25% Asian population with some being Chinese Americans. Throughout my schooling, I witnessed the many stereotypes of Asian students many times. I remember being told that Asian students were supposed to be good at math and that Asian students were supposed to play the violin and that they’re parents made them study during all of their free time. While I did witness some Asian students who had overbearing parents that pushed them to succeed academically, I also saw some Asian students who disproved many of the stereotypes that were targeted at them.American parents and students that are wary of Asian students fail to recognize that both sets of parents have the same goal of wanting their kids to succeed and live a comfortable life, it is only that Asian parents were targeted as more overbearing because many of them are immigrants who left their home countries for a better life. Unless there is a fundamental understanding on both sides, the cultural divide between both education systems will remain.

  26. Chinese Education Reflection Essay
    Kieran Berryman 班建斌
    Word Count: 285
    I think both Chinese and American education systems have flaws. China is too strict and doesn’t supply any support for individual expression. America, however, doesn’t nurture feelings of need for achievement. I know personally, I have problems getting myself motivated and I question why I need to achieve. I believe a balance between the two styles of education is needed for a successful life. China supplies a good work ethic and a want or perhaps need to succeed, and America provides multiple outlets in which individuals can apply that ethic. In the American education system, individuals are left to figure out that work ethic themselves.
    I personally have had experience with not the Chinese education system, but a similar one. I started learning Karate when I was eight and the system in which material is learned is stricter than the American education system. There isn’t much room for individual expression, and the material being taught is very specific. The goal is to teach people how to defend themselves, so what they learn has to be correct. My experience in this stricter system taught me the work ethic found in the Chinese education system. However, I only learned how to apply that work ethic to karate, for the material I was learning was something I liked. I think a strict system does work and that’s why Chinese students succeed. Quite a few people quit Karate because of the work required to succeed, and I think more people would stick to it if it was more fun. However, the material being taught does not allow for freedom of expression, at least not until the higher levels of skill.

  27. From an objective standpoint, Chinese schools are more successful than that of American schools. Chinese schools produce high achieving academic students however many argue that they do not nurture the holistic child, instead they teach obedience through fear. In Valerie Strauss’s article, she discusses the recent appeal of the Chinese education system and the increase in articles about bringing it to America. Though Chinese schools are getting results, is that worth being at the expense of the children’s wellbeing?

    I have personally experienced some the different education styles of China versus “Western” countries especially during my time living in Hong Kong. In Hong Kong most of the Mandarin teachers were from Mainland China and they seemed stricter than our other teachers. With this being said, these teachers had been working in the international community so they altered their teaching styles to be more compliant with western teaching, however knowing educational and teaching backgrounds in China, hints of it could still be seen including their expectations on our behavior.

    Strauss also discusses how Chinese homes are similar to Chinese schools with an emphasis on studying and getting good grades in comparison to “westernized” homes with an emphasis on nurturing creativity. While I was in the elevator in my apartment Hong Kong, I was carrying my stuff for a sleep over and the other family in the elevator had never really heard of the concept before.
    I personally believe that though Americans could see the Chinese education system as desirable due to the results that it gets, it should not adopt China’s teaching styles. I feel as though Chinese school systems puts a lot of pressure on kids to get good grades and teach coping strategies to get good grades rather than teaching enjoyment of learning and aspiring to gain knowledge.

    Word Count: 299

  28. I think that the differences between the US and Chinese education system can teach each other different ways to optimize their learning processes. It seems unreasonable to say that there aren’t benefits to the Chinese education system that produces such stellar individuals in the math and science fields, or any other field that lends itself to rote learning styles. In these areas where right and wrong answers truly exist, and one constantly builds upon learned principles, imparting these techniques quickly and effectively should be the priority. However, clearly these aren’t the best methods to producing students well-educated in the humanities disciplines like literature and artistic pursuits. Focusing on individualism and allowing for an unstructured flow and exchange of ideas seems necessary in these fields. For a liberalized learner (antithetical to the Chinese system in name and function) skill in both STEM and humanities fields is essential. Thus, why experts like Mark Cuban propound that philosophy majors (who also possess a STEM degree) will be the next leaders of the world; students versed in the ability to think, with broad experience to pull form, while also capable of performing technical tasks and the understanding of these functions will be best prepared to tackle major decisions and guide their organization (whether business, non-profit, or even a school itself). While the competitiveness aspect of Chinese education could be overly extreme, especially with the current zeitgeist of individualism and inspiring confidence in American children, in its effects on discouraging less competitively-inclined students, it isn’t unbelievable to think that this strategy could be used to motivate those students who enjoy competition to learn more and take more initiation. (273 words)

  29. When comparing the Chinese and American education systems, I think it is essential not to forget that the cultures in both countries are vastly different. This difference in cultures is the main reason why the Chinese education system would not work in America and vice versa. However, I think some aspects of the Chinese system could be implemented in the American system. For instance, it is widely known that the Chinese system is based on testing, where your scores place you into a certain class and rank. In American schools, everyone gets placed into a class together regardless of grades or test scores, which can create an unequal balance. American schools strive for equity, which can be hard to achieve when everyone in a single class is on different levels. I think that learning would be a lot easier for American students if they were put into a class with other students at a similar level to them like in Chinese Schools. In my experience, I have seen my friends struggle in a class where others feel like the class is too easy for them. I feel like this problem would be solved if the classes were catered more to your level specifically. One downside to the ranking system is that it can negatively impact students due to its highly competitive nature. This can be seen in China as well as in most Asian countries where the ranking system exists. Additionally, I do not think that a ranking system would work well in America, where education is more relax and free. I think Yong Zhao makes valid points on why adopting the Chinese system in America would not work. Still, I also feel like he excluded a lot of cultural aspects of why China has such a strict and authoritative education system.

  30. Word count: 312
    Education, whether it’s from China or the United States, is guaranteed and required up to certain age or grade. All students in China are required to complete at least nine years of education and then can choose whether to apply for upper-secondary school, apply for vocational secondary school, or enter the workforce directly. This is different than the US’s legal requirement to provide education through high school.
    Although the years required by law to provide education in China is much less than the years provided in the US, the content and teaching style in China opens a path to learning subjects at a faster rate. Regardless of the subject or lesson, the most important skills that the child must learn is perseverance regardless of the circumstance and the ability to work hard. Teachers in China also expect that the students and their families do not question their authority and follow their lessons. The combination of the expectation for success, teaching style, and attitude in school may result in an academically well educated student, but may negatively impact the student in other ways.
    However, the way to apply and get into higher education in China, places high pressure and stress on the student. Because the system emphasizes the ranking of how a student does on tests and exams, students are under an immense pressures to do well. I believe that competitive nature and stress is not a good environment for students. Although the competitive nature of this system can motivate students to work hard, I don’t think that students should not be defined by just their class rank. The stress associated with exams and testing can result in psychological detriments and negative responses in the student. Although students in China are learning subjects earlier and testing better than students in the US, there are other factors to consider when analyzing the education systems.

  31. 譚旭岩
    Word Count: 367

    Just like most anything in life, the education systems in America and China both have many positives and negatives. I believe that while a system combined with the positives from both would be an ideal learning system, that is ambitious and likely impossible to implement. In China, students are taught that it isn’t talent or intelligence that will get you far, but rather hard work and dedication. In contrast, teachers, parents, and students themselves in America often believe that what can take you far is talent. Additionally, students may not think of themselves as “smart” in a specific subject because it doesn’t come as easily to them as another one. However, I think that with a strong work ethic like what exists in China, students could realize more of their potential in something they might not be as good at through realizing that hard work can pay off when done right. However, I think that the work ethic in China is made to be so rigorous that students often lose sight of what is important, which is the learning, while instead, they believe that if they study, memorize, and cram enough, they can be the smartest. Another significant part of American education is promoting the creative side of the student’s brain, which is pushed away by the Chinese education system. I think that one of the most important parts of learning is being creative because creativity is what leads to innovation and new ideas and opinions. I don’t think I could learn in an environment like the one in China because I thrive on discussion and being able to bring my own ideas to the table, as well as hear what my classmates have to say. I feel like China’s education system has perpetuated for so long because people raised in that system don’t have the opportunity to explore other ideas or possibilities, thus leading to the system never changing. I think that the American education system could learn about hard work ethic and responsibility from the Chinese education system, but that the America has a much better modern-day education system than China. But soon enough, China will evolve to create a better, more well-rounded learning environment.

  32. The Chinese education system is quite different from American schooling in a number of ways. Most notably, Chinese schooling is significantly more standardized and test-based than its American counterpart, and culturally hard work more valued than innate talent. Some argue that these approaches smother the individual voices and creativity of students as well as pushes them to work hard in subjects that they either feel no passion for or have difficulty learning. I personally think that the standardization of education is not effective in accommodating different learning types and speeds, but is understandable to use since it means that education is more easily brought to more of the population. I do think though that the Chinese have it right to prioritize hard work.
    I think the primary quality of Chinese education I wish I grew up with was a mentality of hard work being what to strive for rather than emphasizing individual genius. I find myself often giving up if I’m not good at something right off the bat, which means I’m denying myself the chance to enjoy something if I put the work in. I don’t think this mentality is unique to me. I think many of my collegiate peers were praised growing up for their natural aptitudes and subsequently disappointed in themselves when they didn’t succeed in something new. I see blending the American educational ideals of pursuing academic passions with an expectation of hard work would be optimal (eg. loving robotics but not pursuing it because you’re bad at math should be replaced with an ideal that through hard work at math, you WILL be able to do robotics)
    Although with its issues, I do think there are important qualities to Chinese education that can be applied to American education, but that not all of them mix well with American cultural values, such as the standardization of academic expectations, which doesn’t align with America’s priority on individualism.

  33. One main way that the Chinese educational system differs from the American system is the emphasis on standardized testing and the subsequent effects that has on its students. Firstly, students are organized into high schools based on their ranking and scores of the 中考. While at first this may seem like a logical way to place students of similar abilities together, it prevents students that may not be as good at test taking from succeeding to their full potential. A similar test, the 高考, is used to determine college placement. While American colleges take many things into consideration when deciding a student’s admission, in China placement is mostly decided by the student’s score on the test. Additionally, teachers are harsher with their younger students. Even though I look back fondly at my time in elementary school as a stress-free period of exploration and “fun learning,” I do think that the Chinese educational style is more efficient and effective in most ways. When I was in high school, I got the opportunity to travel to China and visit a few schools there as well as sit in on classes. One thing that I remember when we asked one girl to compare the Chinese to U.S. school systems was that she said that she thought students in China worked harder than students in the U.S. I think there is definitely truth to this, however, many argue that China’s education style produces “learning robots” as opposed to their more well-rounded American counterparts.

    word count: 251

  34. There are obviously differences in the American educational system and the Chinese educational system and there are apparent in how the different systems are viewed. These being that the American school system is too lenient while the Chinese school system is too strict. And as it might be true that many American schools lack rigor they do not need to become the quiet compliant schools that the rigorous Chinese schools implement. However, the students of Chinese education show competitiveness and drive that should be valued, but these traits should not stem from fear. I believe that all students should be able to have a choice of passion for which they want to study and master rigorously without fear of not being able to get to a college that will make your family proud or being stomped on by students with higher grades.
    However, the way in which American schools implement exploration of passion is still limited and in a way too supportive. Not every child can be the next best mathematician or greatest artist in history and no one wants a future of a lazy society so competition is not only helpful but important in school settings. This in itself pushes peers to rely and push each other to new heights which can cause extraordinary things to happen. If there could be an education system that implements respect and rigor as well as an exploration of self that isn’t stunted by grades and fear, that would be ideal I think. And in my opinion, I think if both education systems took pointers from each other, both systems would flourish over time.

    Word count: 271

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