The differences between the Chinese education and the American education are more obvious in people’s mind, not only to the international students, but also to the native students and some people who study on this. As more and more Chinese students come to America to have better education, we should think about why the American education system is better and how could we change our system to have a new education system in China. These differences have some deeply reason, like the American is the nation which loves freedom.
It took long time to make such a big difference between the two education systems, and we need longer time to change it. An undeniable fact is that American high level education system is great, it has more freedom, let students make their own choice by themselves, the grade is not everything, students don’t have to study just for the grade, and in American education, they emphasize use their own skill which they have learned to solve the problem, not only use the way which the teacher told you.
In one word, the education system in American is more open and useful for the student. As a college student in China, I have the experience for one year, the advantages in American I have mentioned is not exist in my college, and our classes are chosen by the school, you have to learn it, pass it, even you hate it. For example, if your major is marketing and your hobby is literature,” sorry, we can’t let you take that class, it’s for the literature major’s student, our suggestion is go back to your math class which you hate and learn it”.
The deeply problem it caused is that many students don’t have their own view, even if they have, they may not express it out whatever in the college life or after the college they go in to the social. Once you take a class, you have to pass it , it’s undeniable, but if you learn the course only for the grade, it may take you more time on book to remember the knowledge in paper, and ignore or give up to use these knowledge to solve problem, make it your own skill not just the credits in test. Like Dr. Jones’ two students Jill and Jack, he meet them one by one,
Jill said:” I had some trouble and couldn’t keep up ,so I got a F. But I want you to know that that book we were discussing, really got me thinking. I finished reading it after the semester was over” that is what’s she got, she got the knowledge for thinking but got a F grade. Another student Jack said:”I had your class last fall, got an A. I really need that A and a studied really hard. I’m glad i don’t have to take your final today, because I don’t think i’d get a single answer right” look at what’s he got, it’s just an A and nothing.
For me, if I want to pass the physical class, only I need is just work out the question in book and remember the answer and method, I don’t have to know how the established law of physical work in our life. I do know the law in paper but I can’t use it. Which one is successful for the teacher? not me or Jack, is Jill. She” learning experience in the class and continued after the class was over, changed her understanding”, what she got is the skill of learning but not the knowledge or some grade.
Another simple example for the teacher’s teach in class, there is an apple in front of you with an axe, a knife and a mace, they will tell you direct the knife is the most easier tool for cut the apple, but not let you to try out it by yourself. What you learn is just the knowledge and the method but we don’t learn the skill to solve the problem, if we meet a new problem like a pear or peach whatever, you may don’t know how to cut it isn’t it? The reasons I have learned for these three differences are multiplex, included the history, background and situation of the country.
For the biggest question that why the American system is better, the most deeply answer is that American nation love freedom, as we all know, China is a feudal country in history, the chains in mind was broken just for few hundred years, people have new mind but some old rules are continued, like the test system. What we called that is exam-oriented education which means student learn knowledge just for test, for the access of your work or for the higher level education.
For this reason, before we get into college in our high school, we have huge pressure about our study and our parents and teachers compel us learn the knowledge in book for the college entrance test even the knowledge is useless. It cause once the pressure and other people’s force disappearance, we don’t know how to learn by ourselves, that’s why Chinese college arrangement all the class for the student, we don’t know how to chose by ourselves.
Like I said at beginning, college student study just for pass the test, and most of tests are very easy, it doesn’t mean the tests should be very hard, at least doesn’t just take the question form the book to the test paper, change it to some useful and flexible question or let student to practice, that’s why test in college is just a process for graduation, it can’t test if you learn something from the class, “Eric Mazur, a professor of physics at Harvard University…
He had begun to see evidence that his students in introductory physics were not really getting it, even though they were doing well enough on his examinations. ” so students don’t have to learn knowledge for themselves but the test. And when he asked a question to his students, one of them asked, “Professor Mazur. how should I answer these question? According to what you taught us or by the way I thinking about these things? ” What we should do? learning recipes or problem solving strategies as they called in book?
To make the knowledge become your own price, not just for the grade, problem solving skill is better obviously. Because the colleges’ arrangement and student’s mind, the teachers in Chinese college are not very responsible, what they did is just help students pass the exam and get graduation, so they will not try their hard to teach student how to learn or how to solve problem by themselves, the knowledge in book is enough. “Education must begin with the solution of the teacher-student contradiction, by reconciling the poles of the contradiction so that both are simultaneously teachers and students. To have better students, have better teacher is necessary. One other reason is the population, as we know, China has the most population in the world, so it’s a huge number for the students grandaunt from high school to get into college, college entrance test is necessary, because we don’t have enough college to take all the students and even those students who pass the college entrance test is a huge number still, the teachers in college can’t take care all of them is normal, but what we need, the skill of learn by ourselves is just we lack of.
That’s why I said the American education system is better, not only the differences between the system, history or the country’s satiation, but also the difference between the sense of worth, you not learn for the test, you learn for yourself. To change these disadvantages, we need not only the methods but also long time. First of all, we need to reform the exam-oriented education, make student take study as a hobby, not just for deal with test or deal with their parent.
To make this change, the college entrance exam must be cancel, free high school students from the pressure of enter the next higher level education, let them choose what they like to learn. It’s easy to say but hard to do, problem is that we don’t have enough colleges, that’s why I said it will take long time. Another reason is that some old rules or mind still have today, like test is the only way to consider a person or grade is the only standard of a student. These notion must be break. Also pay more attention on the train the teachers which have the new mind. If we do so, the future of the Chinese education will be fine.