With the development of global economy, the competition in education is becoming an important part of the international competitions. Students all over the world are competing with not only the students in their country but the students in the world. To some degrees, the future competitiveness of a country relies on how great their students are. As for students, their high school time is the critical period in their life, when they form their outlook on life and find out what they want to do in the future. High school students in both the United States and China have huge differences in their school life. First, curriculum. Students in American high school are required to take Science, Mathematics, English, Social sciences, Physical education and other electives such as Computers, Foreign language etc. Nearly 40 percent of U.S. high school students do not take any science class more challenging than general biology. And 55 percent of students do not take any math courses beyond two years of algebra and one year of geometry. While in China, the academic curriculum consists of Chinese, Mathematics, English, Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geography, History, etc. The requirement to Chinese students in Mathematics & Science is considered to be quite high. Second, time on studying.
According to the research conveyed by BPP production team, American students spend 302,400 minutes in school during their high school time for 4 years while Chinese students spend 583,200 minutes. If adding that to the time spent doing homework and studying after school, by the end of the high school, Chinese students have spent twice as many hours studying as American students. But even though Chinese students spend more time studying, it seems that their homework can never be finished. Thus, Chinese students try their best to enhance their learning efficiency in order to squeeze more time. However, it doesn’t mean that American children don’t work hard. The core of the difference is the distribution of time. American students devote their time to playing sports, doing part-time jobs, and even dating with others, which make them energetic and social. From this aspect, the education system of American high school is more flexible than Chinese since it encourages students to develop comprehensively and get close to the society.
Third, expectation of parents. In China, parents think highly of the education for their children. They tend to choose roads for their children to follow and make critical decisions for them, like which college to enter, or which major to learn. Especially for the top students, parents usually pay for several kinds of lessons as part of their investment in their education in order to open up a lead in the competition for their children. But American parents seem more relaxed. The percentage of parents who think their child’s high school is teaching the right amount of Math and Science is 70%. American parents have ideas about the future of their children but seldom make decisions for them. So Chinese students face with more pressure from parents. Different education styles result in different students. American students score highly in one area relative to their international peers: self-confidence. They worship freedom and balance work and relaxation well, leading them be optimistic about the future.
On the contrary, Chinese students in high school own much academic knowledge so that they do better in examinations. But it cannot make a conclusion hastily that whether high school in both China and U.S,A is good or not because the education system is based on the economic situation of China and America. To make an end, to improve the competitiveness of a country, it is necessary to compare the education system to that in other countries, find out advantages and disadvantages and make some changes to cultivate talents.
Net 1 BPP production team. 两百万分钟考察中美印教育差异. [DB/OL] http://video.sina.com.cn/v/b/83732476-2036021381.html, 2012-08-17 Net 2 Wikipedia. Education in the People’s Republic of China. [EB/OL] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_the_People’s_Republic_of_China#Secondary_education, 2013-06-13 Net 3 Wikipedia. Education in the United States. [EB/OL] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_the_United_States#Secondary_education, 2013-06-13
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