Readers’ Blog

Comparing Chinese and US education

Popularity 3Viewed 6298 times 2013-6-29 07:32 |Personal category:change|System category:Life| Chinese, Education

     If you are from the USA and were educated there you should appreciate that there only 26 letters in the alphabet and that you can sound out the spelling and even if misspelled it might be recognized.
     If you are to be educated in China you have several thousand characters to learn before you can read a newspaper.
     I am always amassed at my wife's ability to read all those characters. (She is Chinese with a high school degree and she taught dancing) Besides the original characters they have to learn the simplified characters and now have an alphabet similar but slightly different from ours.
I have never seen any figures showing how many words are necessary at the completion of each grade, but it seems logical that the Chines student has to memorize each character while the US student, once he has the alphabet in hand and can pronounce the words has a much simpler time. 
The argument that Chinese education places to much emphasis on memory may be true but I can see where it is just an extension of what was necessary in the lower grades.
Having spent the first 15 years of my life in China and having attended American schools, I did have an opportunity to wrestle with Chinese Characters and knew several hundred but could hardly say I could read Chinese. 
From 1940 to 1980 I had no contact with China and very little opportunity to use my Chinese. When I returned to China I found I could speak Chinese and be understood but I had lost all recognition of all but a very few characters.
Since 1980 I have returned to China many times and my speaking ability has improved, due to my wife not speaking very much English yet, but I have given up on learning characters.
China in the 1920, 30 and 40 did not believe in educating women. Although I had a Chinese sister who became the first woman lawyer in China, she really was the exception to the rule. Even in Nanjing, most of the girl's schools were run by missionaries. Gingling College, was one of the very few Universities for Women in all of China and was Missionary supported.
Watching my Chinese family push my grandchildren. I believe the Chinese middle class, which is a very much larger part of the Chinese population than it has ever been before, have realized that education is the only answer to an improved level of living. ( It always helps in any country to know someone who might help you along.) Of my three Chinese grandchildren two of the three are college graduates and the third is the smartest of the three, but only 11. 
I do not feel I can criticize Chinese education because after teaching Chinese students for over 30 years, I found them very smart, hardworking and the only fault I found was that their technical English was usually not what it needed to be.  

J.M. Trimmer DBA, 
Professor Emeritus
University of Florida

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


Passing

Eggs

Flowers
1

Shake hands

Ray

Friends who just made a statement (1 Person)

Like 0 Share
8.03K

Report

Comment Comment (2 comments)

Reply Report Eva_Ouyang 2013-6-29 10:59
different country different education, but we have to admit that there have so much we need study from USA.
Reply Report RonJaDa 2013-6-29 12:18
Thanks JMTrim

Your story is very interesting, and I am sure have lots more you could tell.  I look forward to following your blog.

Thanks for the English lesson too I had to look up the word Emeritus to be sure what it meant (though I guessed correctly.)
Emeritus is a Latin past participle that means "having served one's time" or "having merited one's discharge by service" (Latin ē-, "out", and meritus, "merited").

facelist doodle Doodle board

You need to login to comment Login | register


Album

Friends

    Recent comments

    • A TWO MONEY SYSTEM 2013-7-9 10:41

      Thanks for sharing your story with our readers here. If you come over China right now, I guess you would like to exchange dollar into renminbi

    • Comparing Chinese and US education 2013-6-29 12:18

      Thanks JMTrim

      Your story is very interesting, and I am sure have lots more you could tell.  I look forward to following your blog.

      Thanks for the English lesson too I had to look up the word Emeritus to be sure what it meant (though I guessed correctly.)
      Emeritus is a Latin past participle that means "having served one's time" or "having merited one's discharge by service" (Latin ē-, "out", and meritus, "merited").

    Star blogger

    Anming

    4124

    views

    Maierwei

    2603

    views

    财神

    4580

    views

    BACK TO THE TOP
    Contact us:Tel: (86)010-84883548, Email: blog@chinadaily.com.cn
    Blog announcement:| We reserve the right, and you authorize us, to use content, including words, photos and videos, which you provide to our blog
    platform, for non-profit purposes on China Daily media, comprising newspaper, website, iPad and other social media accounts.