The relationship between the two is one of contrasts, each with unique assumptions and beliefs. If you had to explain the difference “on one leg”, one could say that in Asia they prefer collectivism while in Europe–and North America–they prefer individualism. In other words, Eastern countries are more concerned with the “group” while their Eastern counterparts prioritize the “person”. This is quite simplified and ignores the generations of collaboration, the blending of these two unique philosophies into something both engaging and effective.
Not only is the material different, but also the behaviours solicited by the teacher. Where Eastern teachers may expect the student to be “passive” and “diligent” the Western teacher encourages contribution, even if the student’s beliefs clash with that of the teacher. Both are training their students for different worlds, giving them skills that are developed under unique learning conditions. Since the world has become globalized–and digital–it is imperative to be prepared for all situations, whether it be written exams or oral presentations.
If a student is gifted in the West, they are viewed as “prodigies” and highly celebrated. While other students are methodical and careful, these students can offer superior work quicker than their peers. On the other hand, Eastern students are praised for working “long and hard” and not giving up. In other words, there is a benefit to being called “smart”, even if it isn’t exactly true. The logic suggests that “positive reinforcement breeds positive results”, connecting emotional health and academic success. This is not part of the Asian culture, where hard work is prized over innate gifts, whatever they may be (link). This is connected to the idea of “suffering”, which the East prizes and the West rejects emphatically. In other words, Eastern students are taught to work “hard” while Eastern are taught to work “smart”.
Is Success Found At The Middleroad?
In actuality, both approaches are correct, filling in the “grey area” between the two extremes. Yes, some students are born naturally gifted and need to be adequately stimulated in order to be productive. Some tasks do require repetition, necessitating long nights of study. This can be counterproductive, especially if a student believes that their ability is beyond their reach, giving them reason to “slack off” by putting minimal effort. On the flip side, Eastern students can benefit from positive-reinforcement, being told that they are hard working and full of potential. Inspiration Learning Center sees every student as unique, needing specialised attention and support. In fact, many “Western families” benefit from the Eastern method, learning the skills and strategies to “win big” at competitions and so forth.
If an Eastern teacher were to examine Western classroom learning, they would notice that it is highly disorganised and chaotic. During some lessons, they would see students shouting their answers out, sometimes disagreeing with both their teachers and peers. This may come off as disrespectful, but the Western teacher is purposely stimulating their creativity in the process. If a Western teacher were to visit a traditional Asian classroom, they would notice the quiet and relative tranquillity, with everyone listening to the teacher intently. Inspiration realises that there is a time and place for everything, with some scenarios needing more discipline while others demanding a little more “open format”. This is not just about STEM vs English, but can also reflect the student’s learning profile. Regardless of the child’s needs, it is better to have smaller class sizes, ensuring maximum student-teacher interaction.
How Is It Different For The Student?
According to one student who learned under both, “The eastern education is known for its fast progressing nature, comprehensiveness, depth, and plus a bunch of tests. Students in the East develop knowledge based on the textbooks. Students don’t really think about how the knowledge is put together, or whether it is correct or not. Because they think that the teacher is always right, this stops them from thinking critically and creatively; but that’s also how they are cultivated to be elites. Students in the east need to spend more time on studying every day, they have to go to cram school right away after school, and even on the weekend”.
This student goes on to discuss the advantages of both, even highlighting some elements she hoped to bring back to Asia. It was confusing for her at first, not sure which areas were given more priority over others. In the East, grades are everything and can “make or break” someone’s future opportunities. Since the West values creativity, there are multiple ways to get to the same destination.
The Time To Join
It doesn’t matter where you are starting from, Inspiration Learning Center is the premier destination for “East Meets West” education in Canada. By integrating the best of both worlds, we support our students from every angle, giving them every resource at our disposal.
Do you have questions about our unique philosophy?
Did you know that while other companies were “locked-down”, our system grew?
Please feel free to reach out to our Franchise Team and we will be happy to answer any of your questions!
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