Methods of Education: East versus West
A teacher from a Western country recently visited an elementary school in an Asia country. In one class, she watched fourty young children as they learned children copied it on their papers. The teacher drew a smaller circle on top of the first and then put two triangles on top of it. The children drew in the same way. The lesson continued until there were sixty-one identical cats in the classroom. Each student’s cat looked exactly like the one on the board.
The visiting teacher watcher watched the lesson and was surprised. The teaching methods were very different from the way of teaching in her own country. A children’s art lesson in her own country produced a room full of unique pictures. Each one completely different from the others. Why? What causes this difference in education methods? In a classroom in any country, the instructor teaches more than art or history or language. He or she also teaches culture (the ideas and beliefs of than society). Each educational system is a mirror that reflects the culture of the society.
In a society such as United States or Canada, which has many national, religious, and cultural differences, people highly value individualism-the differences among people. Teachers place a lot of importance on the qualities that make each student special. The education systems in these countries show these values. Students do not memorize information. Instead, they work individually and find answers themselves. There is often discussion in the classroom. At an early age. Students learn to form their own ideas and opinions.
In most Asian societies, by contrast, the people have the same language, history, and culture. Perhaps for this reason, the educational system in much of the Orient reflects society’s belief in group goals and purposes rather than individualism. Children in China, Japan, and Korea often work together and help one another on assignments. In the classroom, the teaching methods are often very formal. The teacher lectures, and the students listen. There is not much discussion. Instead, the students recite rules or information that they have memorized.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both of these systems of education. For example, one advantage to the system in Japan is that students there learn much more math and science than American students learn by the end of high school. They also study more hours each day and more days each year than North Americans do. The system is difficult, but it prepares students for a society that value discipline and self-control. There is, however, a disadvantage. Memorization is an important learning method in Japanese school, yet many students say that after an exam, they forget much of the information that they have memorized.
The advantage of the educational system in North America, on the other hand, is that students learn to think for themselves. The system prepares them for a society that values creative ideas. There is, however, a disadvantage. When students graduate from high school, they haven’t memorized as many basic rules and facts as students in other countries have.
Contex Clue 1
Way to Inquire Meaning
Sometimes we do not need to look up the meaning of all new words in a dictionary. We can guess the meaning of many words from the context-the other words in the sentence and the other sentence in the paragraph.
Sometimes a sentence gives a definition of a new vocabulary item or information about it. This information may be in parentheses ( ), after a dash (-), or after a coma ( ,).
For example: There are sixty-one identical cats in the classroom, each
one exactly like the one on the board.
What does identical mean? It means ‘exactly alike’.
Guessing meaning from context.
Write the meaning of the underlined words on the lines. Find the meaning of the underlined words in the sentences. Write them on the line.
1. A child’s art lesson produced a room full of unique pictures, each one
completely different from other.
answer: Completely different
2. The instructor also teaches the culture (the ideas and beliefs of society).
3. People highly value individualism– the differences among people.
4. Most Asian society value discipline, or self-control.
Contex Clue 2
Some times the meaning or a clue to the meaning of a new vocabulary item is in another sentence or sentence part.
For example: A teacher from a Western country recently visited an elementary school in an Asian country. In one class, she watched fourty young children. (What is an elementary school? It is a school for young children).
1. The teacher drew a big circle on the blackboard, and the children copied
it. The she drew a smaller circle, and the class drew it the same way.
2. The teaching methods were very different from the way of teaching in
3. Students memorize information; they learn and remember basic
rules and facts.
4. They work individually and find answer themselves.
5. Each educational system is a mirror that reflects the value of the
society. In the Orient, it shows society’s beliefs in group goal rather