Account for differences & similarities in learning and teaching by comparing & contrasting aspects of the educational context in two different contexts.

Account for differences & similarities in learning and teaching by comparing & contrasting aspects of the educational context in two different contexts.


Differences and similarities between Chinese and American Education systems

Two competing world political powers, America and China, have always had a competition for who leads in the field of economics, commerce and politics as long as the Second World War. The two world economies have so many variations like their historical background, the political formations, cultural heritage and many other differences.  Conversely, they have had many similarities in different aspects to one other. Both USA and China are in a tight competition seeking the leading of the world economically, social-politically and also gaining the biggest military power and machinery over the rest of the world. The United States of America has a total population of almost three hundred and seventeen million citizens and has shown a leading commerce, political and military superpower since the Second World War, as the other European countries lacked strength to take responsibility and take care of the war. On the other hand, China is a large country and it poses a long history and typical cultural habits, which is reserved by almost 1.4 billion residents. The deep-rooted principled tradition, high opinion, conformity and the subject of competition between such big numbers of people resulted in the rising cost-effective supremacy of the China. The aim of the paper is to weigh against and distinguish educational systems of both economies with an authority of history and well-built social-family setting resulting in the speedy reasonable growth of China. Education being inclusive in any success of an economy, a thought of better educational methods and their comparisons between different states and their aspects is necessary.

System of education in China and USA

A structure of education can be apparent as a mirror image of values, habits and purpose of a certain traditions. All the educational systems gives students with a varied assortment of possibilities, giving different rules and regulations, and also all the classifications of education focuses on various fields of studies.

The Chinese system of education is consists of four parts. These parts include basic education, technical education, higher level education and adult education. According to research by Kao et al, the schools system of education is different in different Chinese provinces. In some provinces, a six-plus-three model was adopted, while is the other low economy provinces, the five-plus-four model was being implemented. Primary education, a schooling time of 6 or 5 years, is a must for children at the age of seven or six years. Mandatory education continue in junior secondary education for a least of three years and it is followed by a voluntary schooling presented in secondary education for a potential period of 4 years. One of the Chinese Education center Ltd stated that by compulsory education, learners are required to take end-of-term assessments or periodical check-ups at the end of every term, school year examinations and or before their graduation. Moreover, Lauren Mack the author of school article called schools in China stated that Chinese citizens between ages of six and fifteen are provided with required and free education opportunities. However, the parents are required to provide learning materials and school uniforms to their schooling children. After joining the middle schools, the parents are further required to pay school fees for the public high schools despite the fact of vast majority of citizens being at a position of affording the modest school fees in the cities. As a sign of disparity, many Chinese who are from the rural parts of China terminate their education at tender ages of fifteen years. According to an online article called China’s Education System and also the foreign English Teacher, there is an indication of an academic year designed as a two-term system, fall and spring. The school year begins during the early September known as the spring semester, and this semester is dedicated to the solar calendar. The semester ends in late February or early march. The total duration of the period lasts to around 20 to 22 weeks. The period incorporates a winter break for the spring festivals and summer break containing July and August. Contrastingly, the vacation period for both primary and secondary education is only three weeks.  In addition to Mark’s article, Chinese education system demands morning classes to contain science and math classes during Saturday mornings. Many learners attend lessons or master school in the evenings and during weekends or other subjects. The Chinese schools also offer classes of additional Chinese, English and math that have a similarity to the West tutorials.  According to Chinese Students and the Foreign English teacher article, the students generally wakes up at around 6:30 to 7: 00 early morning and their classes begins by 8:00 am. They attend four to five classes each of 40 minutes in the morning. In the afternoon, the students attend three to four periods each of around 45 minutes on average per period. Typically, there is a ten minute break between the learning periods. Secondary and primary school level students end their day studies at around 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm as some of these learners attend various extracurricular activities like music lessons after school before returning home and starting their homework. The learners are assigned massive homework as many have reported sleeping until 11.00pm so that they can complete their assignments. Children in China get severely punished by their parents when they are seen reading anything recreational other than the school assignments as this is seen as a waste of time by children (Chunhua & Y.A.N.G., 2007 pg 568-578). In contrast, the American parents are very happy when their children are reading recreation materials than when they watch a TV program. Chinese system of schooling, especially within the primary and secondary period of schooling, has many demands to the students. Consequently, learners spend the big majority of their day studying or revising for the upcoming lesson. When the students are not much engaged in their studies, they are most likely going to be engaged in other art or sport activities. The activities children are engaged in are presented by guardians as a way of balancing the requests by the school. However, playing the piano less than three hours in a day is considered to be inadequately completed.

On the other economy of the United States of America, formal education is compulsory from the age of six years up to sixteen years with slight differences in each state. The schooling period begins in most times with the primary elementary schools. After the primary education, the learners start the middle or junior schools later followed by high school.  The whole education system ends with universities and colleges (Foster, 2017).  The schooling academic year mostly starts from September to June. The education system is in contrast to the Chinese education system one more variable and its structure is dependent on each state’s policy. Antonella Corsi-Bunker in his article known as the Guide to the US Education System, lays claims that each state has their section of learning and law that govern investment, the placements of school employees, students daily turnout and curriculum. The US centralized government contribute almost ten percent to the countrywide education resources, thus schooling is merely the responsibility of the state and confined government education departments. In regard to the USA education system, Corsi- Bunker implies that formal students schooling in America lasts for a total period of 12 years, until the age one is 18 years old. However, obligatory education is in most of the states completed at the age of sixteen years. In the other states, students are obligated to attend compulsory education until they reach the ages of seventeen or eighteen years. There is an opportunity of free public education in the United States of America. There is vast use of the term K-12 which refers to all primary and secondary education from the levels of kindergarten resulting from the first years of formally being in school, up to the secondary graduation.  There are four types of educational patterns which are; primary school, middle school and high school used in America.  These educational patterns are five-three-four, six-three-three, eight-four and six-six.

Primary Education

Going by the in sequence acquired from the piece of writing referred to as the Overview of the Education in China, primary education is based on a dissection of the Chinese system into two sections: pre-school education and elementary education. The period spent in kindergartens can go up to a period of three years, until the age of six years (ZIKLOVÁ 2014). After the Kindergarten, the child joins the elementary school. In regard to the Chinese system of education, elementary education starts with the first grade and the learner proceeds up to grade five or six. Every academic year is based on two semesters and the semesters have a total duration of 19 weeks each. The total academic year goes up to 38 weeks of learning and teaching sections and interactions for that whole year. In addition to this, there is a one week kept in reserve if some additional schooling period is required. The remaining weeks in the calendar year are allocated for vacations and the holidays for the learners.

In USA primary education, primary education comprises of kindergartens, where the children at the age of three starts to attend as well as the primary schools. The ages of joining the school are different in different states starting from the ages of five to seven years. Mostly, the children start their formal schooling at the age of six years. Going as per the article known as the United States of America, the term grade is usually used referring to a school year. The period of primary education varies from four to seven years (Zhang et al 2009 pp.286-297). The different states determine what the grade grade range constituting the primary education is called the elementary schooling. Depending with its span, basic schooling may be followed through a given number of school years of middle discipline schooling, which is normally three years. According to Corni-Bunker mind, the perceived idea of the elementary schools is to offer learners with a common classroom and teaching by a common teacher within the course of the school day. The education offered a the alimentary schools is in most of the cases co-educational meaning that the boys are mixed with girls in the same classes and schools.

Teaching methods in Chinese and American primary schools

The teaching method and procedures in Chinese schools belongs, besides the acquisition and ethical codes follow-ups, rules and set of laws leading the schools, to the specialties, which were mainly shaped by the custom of Confucianism. Philipson & Lam indicated that the context of Chinese education is widely reverberated by the Confucian viewpoint. The main background of education is based on collective values, an importance of education, and will, power and a dependence on memorization. Learners are expected to understand everything by heart without much secondary thinking and considerations of the course. One of the negative consequences is the lack of inspiration that the students do not posses and it becomes more noticeable in their secondary and university schooling. Lack of creativity is contrary to the American Education system. Phillipson & Lam claims that the issue of students cramming has a direct connection to much repetition, which could be fundamental for the memorization process. Despite this, the memorization process can even be intensified by passive learning. The method of memorization is mainly used when the teacher wants to make the learning process become quicker. There is enhancement of the memorization process as the learners are not much encouraged to express diverse view points and creative thinking. In addition, Mack provides an image of the Chinese education lessons, and these lessons had many similarities in their structuring. The school work transmission lays its bases on the relationship between teachers and pupils. Due to the fact that the teachers offer many lectures to the students, it becomes unfortunate for the learners as there are not many opportunities for them to express their objectives and eagerness to be educated. Comparing the Chinese schooling methodology to the US, as by the facts given by Mack, memorization is the most significant dissimilarity besides wide-ranging test grounding for the middle learning, low-grade high school, high school and college entry examination.

On the other hand, teaching methods in American education system are different to those in China. The main focus of education is on individual learners. As stated by Thomas in his book known as the Ten Commandments for Success in Teaching, there is a need for establishing trust and legitimacy between the learners and the teachers being a basic platform for effective education. More so, Tracey Kidder in his book referred to as Among School Children argues that treating children equally mainly means treating them very differently. Tracey adds that it means bringing the same moral force to bear on all of them. The learning children are very often sub-divided into groups according to their personal abilities. William Glasser in his book called Quality School, differentiates between two kinds of teachers. He portrays the first teacher as the effective lead manager. The named type of a teacher does not necessarily use persuasion to complete a task. The teacher provides only the required information and also offers realization of benefits for students depending on the students’ abilities. The aim of the lead manager teacher is to get hard work out of the students but, nevertheless, he or she always has in mind the needs of the students. He or she teaches in groups of students using cooperation, which can consequently bring in a noisy classroom environment (Lingenfelter & P.E, 2014). The lead teachers try to get to know their students in the classes and look for the most essential ways for teaching. The teachers have a belief in the informative purpose of a grading system as they demonstrate a student’s knowledge. The other type of a teacher talked about by Tracey n his book is the boss teacher.  The boss teacher is not much concerned with the students as the lead manager teacher. The boss teacher uses the policy of reward and punishments of students as a motivation method.  The teacher is used to boss his/her students to do their home work. The teachers constantly overlook the needs of the learners as they place the results of their hard work being the priority.

In United States of America, an online article named No Child Left at the back work states the chief goal of the act is to offer children amid the same schooling opportunities to acquire a high class education. The U.S Department of learning highlights four pillars which are liability, flexibility, investigation based education, close relative options. Accountability pillar states that there is responsibility of ensuring that the less advantaged students achieve academic proficiency. The elasticity pillar allows discipline divisions to become flexible in the way they utilize centralized education funds to improve student’s achievement. Study based pillar lays importance on educational programs and practices that have been confirmed useful through scientific study. The parent options pillar states that there are increments in the choice available to the parents of the learners present title 1 schools.

Comparison between primary school curriculums in the two countries

In Chinese system, a student spends most of the years learning how to sing, act and also play games in kindergartens. At the age of six or seven the learners join the primary schools. The school usually runs for periods of 38 weeks and thirteen weeks of holiday. In Chinese schools, there is a variety of subjects prescribed at primary schools levels. Apart from the basic subjects such as Chinese, Moral education and Math, children have an opportunity to enroll in art or sport lessons including music, dance and Villon. The opportunity to study English is offered in the senior primary as well as a larger range of units including science, information and Communication Technology, History, Geography amongst other subjects.  The students are mainly tested during the school year. Apart from the casual written and oral tests, Zhang Juwei in his article called Chinas Skill Assessment System states that there is availability of the of term and end of school examinations in primary schooling and also primary school graduation.  All these levels are aimed at examining pupil’s qualified levels. Math and Chinese subjects are the testing subjects, the rest of the subjects are merely checked. Echo Lu lays comments on the structure of examination saying that they are similar to personal memory tests. The tests are used to make evaluations on how the students memorized the textbook contents and the main points in these text books. The format regulation, literature range, article structure and often a title of the article are placed on the writing essay part.  More so, there is a fundamental examination between intermediate and senior high schools as well. An online article known as the China’s High Stakes Exam by Richard Schrack states, students take the middle test. In the rural areas, there are not many experienced teachers present and possibly, half the students fail the tests which are necessary to pass to give them a guarantee of moving to the senior high school, secondary education. Due to this, the students opt to continue their future education in technical and industrial trainings as others join agriculture. On the other hand, students in the urban and developed areas pass their middle exams with less or no problems. A large number of them will enter the senior high school and pass Gao Kao examinations with high grades enough to attain a university admission.

With regard to Corsi-Bunker’s Online Guide to the US Education system, learners during their schooling time at either elementary or middle schools spent in the classrooms from 6.5 to seven hours on average daily. Elementary schools offer the important skills for writing, reading and mathematics. In addition, history and geography, crafts art, music and physical education are included in the curriculum.  People usually had the first opportunity of learning foreign languages in the past only in high schools(Foster, 2017). Currently, in some states, courses for learning foreign languages are available during the last few years of elementary schools.  Learners are also required to do homework, although the activities to be performed at home are becoming easier and rare. In regard to the examinations, students are tested during the academic year and also at the end.

Secondary education systems in the two countries

Secondary school education in China is another vital step for students in the dream aim of going to the most prestigious universities and secure well paid jobs. Going by the article Education in China, secondary schools education is based on scholastic secondary education and expert vocational secondary education. Academic minor schooling comprises of junior/ middle school. This period of schooling is for children aged between 12-15 years. It also comprises of the upper middle schools ranging from between the ages of 15- 18 years. Regarding the online essay known as the Overview of the education system in China, academic or regular middle schools comprises either three or four years of education concerning the system. In many cases, education at middle senior schools has a period of three years bringing up 5-4 -3 or 6-3-3 system of primary school-junior middle school Overview of the Educational System in China(Zhang et al 2009 pp.286-297). Education in China article from the scholarship Network states there is also a likelihood of combining primary education and middle school in case of incorporated curriculum of nine years. China Education center Ltd provides details about the length of the junior secondary education period, which includes 39 weeks of teaching with a one week spared in readiness. The other twelve weeks are allocated to holidays and vacations. The senior secondary schooling period of academic year is based on 40 weeks of teaching and other additional one or two weeks. In addition, there are other 10 or 11 weeks put aside to holidays and students vacations.

American secondary school education starts with learners at the age of 12 and ends at the age of 18 years followed by colleges or university schooling.  Secondary school education is mainly divided into junior and senior high schools (Lingenfelter & P.E, 2014). The junior school also referred to as the middle school comprises of pupils aged between 11 to 14 years.  The senior high schools comprises of the children aged between 15 to18 years of age. However, as per Antonella Corsi- Bunker, in some districts attending the mutual junior and higher-ranking secondary schools or join a middle school until ages of 14 before transfer to a four year-senior school’s possibility.

Secondary schools level teaching methodologies

Looking at the teaching methods in Chinese education system, the teaching methods in junior as well as the senior middle schools do not pose many differences when compared to primary schooling. The method of teaching by teachers to students is memorization. Learners are forced to recall the content of a certain course or book in order to excel in the required exams productively. As stated by Phillipson and Lam, the teacher-centered approaches dominate to the whole lesson. During the non-examination years of schooling, the substance of the lessons is more informal, where by the examination word the main focused issue is placed on test grounding. Consequently, learners take many notes, as they complete an massive number of model tests as they also learn many terminologies. The China Education System article, Chinese Students and the Foreign teachers articles offers piece of in sequence in connection to the subject of learning methodologies. Teaching methods basically comprises of forceful feeding of large amounts of required information directly out of text books. The students are dejected from asking any questions, mainly if the questions they ask challenge philosophy or anything seen as a fact.  The teachers teach directly to the exams and example questions are regularly distributed. The students are prompted to memorize both questions and the answers. As pointed by Manhong Lai in the book called Teachers Development Under Curriculum Reform, he pointed out that mind learning and teaching with learning should be a process by which the students actively create knowledge and should be seen as active and sovereign learners.  There was a curriculum reform taken in the mainland china in the year 2003, whereby it was stipulated at civilizing the quality of senior school education. It was started with the main principle of shifting the attention from the teacher-centered to the student-centered approach of learning.

In the US secondary education teaching methods, the teachers make an effort of creating a constructive learning environment for learners to feel comfortable with them. There is little persona of the teacher in schools as seen in the Chinese education system.  The treatment towards the students by the teachers is taken to be all equal unique individuals.  The students need guidance for self development and gaining knowledge. (Saultz & JW 2017 pg71-76). The approach in the system of education is student-centered as it is clearly noticed from the procedures of the teachers. The role of the teachers is moreover other issues to help with developing sense of worth as they increase self confidence, as an educated, self certain and unique being is the best basic element for democracy.


Having done the comparison between the education system of two countries, discipline and competition seems to be the most powerful engine that drives the growth of any economy.  The strong standard in behavior and school curriculum offers an excellent platform for development of any power. In addition, the factor of all hardworking people and are willing to sacrifice everything they have for the sake of their families and children.




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