Resources for Educators who are recruiting and enrolling students from China in the USA.

Chinese Education Culture: students=sponges

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In my recent trip to China and interview with a alumni of Full Sail University, I was inspired to write this entry aboutcartoon sponge the stark contrast between Chinese Education and U.S. Education.

The alumni said that when she studied in China, she was simply absorbing knowledge. The best analogy is that she was like a sponge, absorbing, collecting and receiving information taught by her teachers.
In the U.S.A., she not only absorbed but had to give her own opinion and use the information she was taught. Going back to my analogy, she was a sponge but when squeezed, information had to come out of her in return for the knowledge she soaked up.

Education in the Chinese mind is really about knowledge acquisition. Whereas, U.S. education (starting with our college application) is about transformative learning.

This is the reason why so many Chinese students remain silent or struggle in our U.S. classrooms.

When I give intercultural training to faculty in the Bay area schools, I always remind them this stark contrast in our education systems. It helps faculty shape their expectations but also transform how they teach so that more students can participate.

One tactic: Make class participation more group oriented. Designate a student who is comfortable enough to present (be the voice) for the group but this gives international students a chance to contribute without feeling embarrassed by language or public speaking.

Second tactic: Make it mandatory for your Chinese students to learn how to speak out and give opinions in a non-academic setting. For example, they love food so have them practice their English by explaining about how Chinese food in China differs from Americanized Chinese food. Without knowing, these students are practicing how to give their opinions and vocalize their thoughtscartoon sponge.

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