5 Differences Between Eastern Learning and Western Learning: Brian Tu – Grade 9

Do you think Western education is better than Eastern education? I totally agree, but both still have their strong points and weaknesses. Here are a few comparisons.

1. “Struggle” means different things

Many researchers and psychologists, such as Dr. Jin Li and Dr. Jim Stigler say that many Easterners learn through struggle. On the other hand, plenty of Westerners regard struggle as a terrible thing, and some even see it as a sign of weakness.

2. Parenting Styles

Family is one of the most basic and influential ways that children learn, so it is easy to see how parents treat their children can affect their education greatly. Many people say that Asian moms are “Tiger moms”, and in many ways that is true; most Asian parents are strict and tend to control their children more. This leads to more disciplined children, but at the same time this can cause their children to be highly dependent on their parents. However American and European parents loosen their grip on their children at an early age, resulting their children being a lot more independent.

3. Creativity

Creativity is a department that Eastern education is clearly lacking, due to their stiff and factory-like ways of learning. Children trade their creativity for pure knowledge at a young age. On the contrary, Western students still maintain their creativity while on the path to knowledge.

4. Specialized versus Well-rounded

Starting from a very young age Westerners are taught and guided to find what subjects and topics interest them, which they do by including plenty of different extracurricular activities into their education. Then Western systems gradually narrow down the things on students’ plates at an earlier stage, making them experts in their specific fields. Easterners do it the complete opposite way. At first they don’t have a lot of extracurricular activities, but don’t really start to reduce the subjects to study up until university, making them well-rounded, but sometimes lacking a certain expertise which is required for a job.

5. Tests and Exams

Asian people are widely known for their notorious testing culture. Since the sixth century, the Chinese have been choosing their government officials through the infamous “Imperial Exam”. Even up to this day, many Eastern countries still use exams to decide which high school or university their students go to. Although, there are still tests and exams in Western education, the amount of tests taken cannot be compared to the monstrous amount that Eastern education has. Also because of this, many Easterners spend more time preparing for tests and exams, while Westerners have the opportunity to do more important things that can actually help them with getting a job, and getting good at it.

Due to their differences, both styles are suited for different types of countries; the Western way is a better match for developed countries; while the Eastern way is a better choice for developing countries. As in the case of Taiwan, the Eastern education system has indeed helped create an economic miracle during the eighties, but now we need to change our education system to adapt to the new open world.

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