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The education systems in different countries in the world are designed to suit different needs of every state. This difference is evident in the education system in China and America. The contrast between American and China’s education system is most outstanding in the area of teaching methods, boundaries of plagiarism, and the expectation of parents. This thus forms the focus of this paper.

Differences in the Teaching Methods.The first difference between Chinese and American education system can be drawn from the teaching methods. Chinese teachers believe that merit pays. Well performing teachers and students are always awarded bonus of 3000 – 6000 yuan for exemplary performance. These bonuses have tuned teachers to give their best to students and to display a lot of professionalism. Students are given rules and instructions on what, when and how to learn. Chinese teachers always remind their students on the rules whenever they are dealing with any academic problem. Their focus is not equipping students with critical skills but to make students pass their final grade exams. This education system is therefore teacher-centered and not skills-based. It is more exam-based and success is measured by success in exams.

American system is different in the sense that American teachers are alive and flexible. They do not stick to traditional rules. Instead, they let their students come up with various suggestions on how to handle problems. The education system is therefore student-centered. American teachers encourage their students to solve class work assignments through teamwork. The education system is skewed towards knowledge retention and skills development.

In the Chinese education system, teachers accompany their students from one grade level to the next. However, American teachers only specialize in one educational grade level. If he or she has to move to the next level, then he or she must go for further studies to upgrade himself or herself.

Theory versus Critical Thinking Skills.Chinese students are always fed with theories almost in all levels of study. Rules and laws are the Chinese guiding principles in dealing with challenging matters. When rules and laws fail, teachers offer help based on prior given theoretical rules. The Chinese education system is founded on knowledge for its own sake and less focused on solving a problem. People go to school since it is a conventional requirement that one goes to school. What happens after the learning has taken place is less important.

The American system differs from the Chinese education due to the former’s emphasis on critical skills. American education system is founded on principles of innovative and inventive knowledge. The focus of the education system is in nurturing the practical abilities and creativity among students. Theoretical knowledge thus compliments practical knowledge. The education system in America thus imparts knowledge on students that build their innovativeness or critical thinking. For this reason, American teachers focus much on the practical applications of what is learnt in the theory, contrary to the Chinese education system.

Plagiarism.Chinese student students are taught things that were learnt several years ago. The same rules and guidelines in the old days remain the same even today. This is evident in the approach given to class work and end of grade exams. Students can open their books and copy answers for questions in exams. Therefore, students take much of their time memorizing exam solutions since they know that exams do not change. Students memorize and reproduce information as read in class texts and reading materials during exams. Surprisingly, almost 95% of the students use the same wordings as in the textbooks or they will plagiarize the work so as to pass exams.

Unlike in China, American students are taught life techniques. Their syllabus in every state even differs. They keep on learning new things every day and new ways of solving problems that range from sciences to social sciences. Their syllabus and teaching methods are not based on rules. Therefore, it is rare for American students to plagiarize their exams. Students are expected to read and apply their knowledge to solve problems not only in class but also in daily life. This makes American system more skills-based than the Chinese education system.

Differences in Teacher-Student Relationship.Chinese students show much respect to their teachers. They are always obedient to any instruction given to them by their teachers. They regard teachers as their parents since they spend much time with them. Students address their teachers in writings as “our dear teacher”. It is unethical and disrespectful to use the teachers’ first names when addressing him/her. In this regard, students mostly use titles such as Prof., Mr. or Madam. In fact, the teacher takes a central place in the Chinese education system so much that students even fail to ask questions in class since the teachers are always right.

American students are freer with their teachers than their Chinese counterparts. The relationship between teachers and students is professional and based on partnership to build knowledge and enhance learning in a free environment. Students require maximum supervision from their teachers throughout the learning process. They treat teachers as their colleagues and team members with whom they can interact anytime. When it comes to class work, American students are always active and quite inquisitive. This makes them build their capacities to learn new ideas and concepts. They are always keen to the details and hold on to the teachers’ guidance in all their innovative initiatives. Perhaps, this explains why the Americans do better in innovative and inventive technologies.

In conclusion, a dissection of the American and China’s education system reveals contrasts in the area of teaching methods, level of emphasis on critical, innovative and theoretical knowledge and the boundaries of education. On a general note, the Chinese education system is more teacher-centered while the American system is student-centered.

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