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Is Western Education Better Than Eastern Education?



Is Western Education Better Than Eastern Education?


A wonderful article here in ChinaDaily said that spending for education increases annually by about 20%. As a foreign teacher here, I'm wondering how it is spent and what are the results. You can spend more money without being effective.  


One of my biggest questions is this: Why do children in the USA go to school 2-3 hours less each day, have very little homework, no weekend classes and still excel in education in comparison to most Chinese students?


Now, in my humble opinion, Chinese students are smart. Very intelligent. I know. I teach them. More than 1,000 so far. They know how to study hard and for long hours. They know how to endure long classes (I've witnessed classes as along as 3 hours for primary school students). Children in the USA wouldn't sit through a class of over an hour. 40-50 minutes for most classes at most in the USA.


When Chinese students attend college/university in the USA, their success rate is nearly 100%. Very, very rare does a Chinese child fail in the USA. Why? The answer is the same. 'They know how to study hard.' 

So, compared to Chinese children, American children get far less classroom instruction and far less homework at night. Yet there are over 200,000 Chinese college students attending schools in the U.S. and that number is growing by 25% annually.  In 3 years, there will likely be over 400,000 Chinese students studying in the USA.

Now, I can reason and reconcile why Chinese students want to attend college in the USA. But, in my year and half here (I've taught more than 1,200 classes and over 1,000 students in 4 separate schools including every grade from primary grade 1 through the MBA program at the university), I've met parents whose children are in middle school and the parent is wanting to send them to the USA. (By the way, I discourage them from doing this. It is a waste of money in my opinion. Parents in China sacrifice too much for their children's education needlessly. Again, only my opinion.)


It seems to me that in China, long hours, extra hours and extra days of classes is perceived as better education. Schools I've taught at here, take pride in adding classes and oftentimes, longer classes. In the West, parents, teachers and students would never tolerate this. They wouldn't think of sending their children to school on Saturday or Sunday. However, in China, it is very common.

Given these observations, am I to conclude that Western education is really that much better? Can we teach more in 6.5 hours of school per day in the U.S. versus 9 hours a day in China? Can we accomplish more (in the USA) in education with less school hours?


I honestly and sincerely don't know the answers to these questions. IF Western Education is THAT much better, then, shouldn't Western styles of teaching be adopted in China? Again, I'm seeking reasonable and intelligent objective answers. Welcome your opinions and feedback.
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Michael Murphy - - Mo Wen-Long





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23 05, 13 17:13

posted by: Stephen


Great article Michael,
I agree with the sentiments and suggest that the emphasis on education at all costs is greatly influenced by the fact that China has emerged on recently from economic and social deprivation for many of its inhabitants. But, over time, I feel the attitudes of education at all costs will soften, although it may take some time for this to happen.
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