Speaker addresses international education

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On Thursday, April 3, Delta College’s Cultural Awareness Program welcomed Dr. Nancy Pine as a guest speaker. Pine is a renowned educator and researcher in cross cultural studies and is the Director of Education at Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles.

The title of Pine’s lecture was “What Kids Learn and Don’t Learn in Chinese and U. S. Schools.”

Pine has been researching in China since 1988.

During her research she has learned many things about the school systems in China. While there are a few similarities to our system, there are more differences.

Much like the United States, China has: elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and colleges.

The major difference here is in China you have to pass an exam and pay to get into high school. This is because China has such a large population.

A typical classroom will have up to 50 students. The desks are lined up in rows. Students stay in the same room all day and eat lunch in the classroom.

“Teachers are seen as parents,” said Pine.

Teachers always stand at the front of the class, unlike American teachers, who will move around the classroom. When a teacher calls on a student, the student must stand to speak and not sit until told to do so.

Students never ask questions.

“If they don’t agree, then they just don’t say anything. The teacher’s word is it,” said Pine.

Here students ask questions all the time.

Students are publicly praised and critiqued in China.

“This is very common. It can be quite [severe] sometimes, but criticism is an accepted part of education,” said Pine.

In the U.S., praise is more frequent than criticism.

What is also unique is that teachers are critiqued too.

Teachers teach two classes a day, and for the rest of the day they grade papers and visit other classrooms to observe fellow instructors and collaborate.

This is different from the United States where teachers will seldom sit in at another teachers’ classroom to hear and critique their lecture.

In China, many students wear glasses. The theory, though not proven, is that the Chinese require intensive studying by their students, much of which consists of memorization. Indicating that due to the intense studying and reading their eyesight becomes affected.

“Chinese schooling has only one aim; to get into college. It is memorization,” Pine said that a parent once complained.

Education consists of teachers practicing lessons and repeating them to the students. The student must write down every word and memorize it for examinations.

Often times, students will read and cite in unison. This is based on ancient Chinese tradition for comprehension and memorization. Pine refers to this as “rehearsed.”

She describes the U.S. educational system as more “improv.”

Students will work in groups, and teachers will meet with groups while others work independently. This is what allows the teachers to move around.

Where as in China, students sit single file in rows and will never work in groups.

In the U.S. students are encouraged to explore new ideas, offer in- sights on things and ask questions.

Pine concluded with an important lesson: We can all learn something from each other.

From the U.S., it is to teach students how to develop opinions. From China, it is to teach students how to focus long and hard on studying.

Pine concluded with an important lesson: We can all learn something from each other.

From the U.S., it is to teach students how to develop opinions. From China, it is to teach students how to focus long and hard on studying.