Sep 10, 2019 in Interview

Difference of the Education between America and China


I enjoyed my interview with this smart, intelligent, and polite fellow student with diverse interests very much. His attitude was engaging and winning. He has studied at the Purdue for 3 years. The interview took place at the PMU Starbucks. As the interview was in Starbucks, I thought that he would be confused and self-contained. On the contrary, he used certain types of body language which showed that he felt comfortable. As an example, he used direct eye contact, palms facing upwards and he was leaning back on the chair, which meant that he was relaxed and positive-minded.

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This person has some knowledge on my topic because his cousin was studying in China, and he shared a lot of information about education there.

The Main Purpose of Interview

The main purpose of our interview was to discover basic differences between education in China and America. These were the findings of our conversation.

List of Basic Differences between Education in China and America

  1. The first noticeable difference between education in China and the USA is class size at the middle school and high school levels. In China, teachers usually teach two classes with class sizes from 55 to 65 students. American teachers facilitate five or six classes with class sizes ranging from 25 to 30 students.
  2. The second difference is the “cohort” concept. China has been using it for decades, while Americans think that this is innovative. In China, students are put into classes. They stay in those classes with the same students for the entire time they are in that school. They can move to a more advanced group if their test scores get higher. In America, they do not group students into such classes. Students are divided into different classes every year. Also the Chinese carry the cohort concept onto the university level.

  1. The third difference is the concept of a head teacher. In China, the head teacher takes extra responsibility in giving instruction, controlling students, knowing students and the students’ families and in contacting with those families. The head teacher in China has to visit students’ homes and families during the school year. The head teacher would usually do these visitations on Saturdays or Sundays or holidays. In America, the head teacher has to make parent contact only when a student disobeys or does not perform at a satisfactory level. In America, there is also a person called a guidance counselor in secondary schools. This person helps with parent contact. However, a guidance counselor usually has a case load of 350 to 500 students and he or she often must resort to group counseling sessions.
  2. The fourth difference is that Chinese students do not change their main classes, and teachers come to them while American students move from one room to another every period, and the classes belong to the teachers. That is why Chinese students do not have their lockers. They keep their things in a shelf under their desks.
  3. The fifth difference is that Chinese education is built on what Americans call looping: Chinese teachers stay with the same students through all the grades. In America, teachers do not move along with their students from one grade level to the next.
  4. The sixth difference is discipline. In China, the discipline process is easier than in America. There is minimum student observation during lunch and between classes in China. Chinese teachers can go to their offices to meet with students for academic or disciplinary reasons or for a rest between classes. In America teachers have to be in the hallways during class breaks because that is when the fighting and other misbehaviors occur.
  5. The seventh difference is the curriculum. In China, the curriculum is standard, and students have a couple of elective classes. National subjects, curriculum, expectations, and even a national class schedule are all made according to the Chinese Education Schema based on centuries of tradition. In America, education is the responsibility of the state governments.

As for students’ spare time it looks a bit different for Chinese and American students as well. One part of Chinese students prefers to spend free time studying, other students like to learn foreign languages or different countries’ culture. They do not like to go to night clubs but they love KTV (karaoke television). As for American students, they like to visit night clubs and pubs. Also, they like to have parties and invite a lot of friends.


To summarize, the United States is led by a democratic government that sustains an educational system which encourages students to express their opinions freely and values the freedom of speech. China operates under an autocratic government and places more emphasis on obedience and respect. My fellow student felt comfortable and not at all foreign during his studying. Students from America respect all types of students no matter where they are from. Most of the foreign students like American education and feel very comfortable in such a system.

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