Chinese Students / Special Issue

Spot The Differences

By: Alice & Daisy

As for the end of last week, the students of Lyndon State College whose major is Electronic Journalism Arts, took the class of Diversity Training. And the difference from the past, is that this time there are eleven Chinese students and their teacher joined them, who is from Xi’an International Studies University. Later, these Chinese students had some new discoveries.

Although it has not been long for these Chinese students to take classes at Lyndon State College, they truly felt some differences between Chinese classes and American classes.

The relationship between teachers and students was different. They had taken two weeks of classes with American students, some of the students had their own feeling about the differences between the classes.

Joy, who majors in journalism, at the school of Journalism and Communication thinks that there are a lot of differences between the two classes we have mentioned, especially when she took the diversity training.

“In China,we have never taken a class like that, teachers and students can take this class together, they could share their experience, their painful or proud memories. It seemed like the teacher is equal to students.”

When I was in News7, I followed the student that I was shadowing to the teacher’s office, and the student just took her food in there, just talked to teacher while I ate food. I’m a little shocked. Because in China, they always stress the tradition of showing great respect for teachers, so we usually do not do like that.”

Enzo, the teacher of Xi’an International Studies University, also has the same feelings towards this class. He thinks in there, it’s equality between teachers and students. “Also it depends on the different background and culture,” he said.

In China, no matter what students need to do with the teacher, they should do so according to that premise; even if you need to argue with them about an academic issue. And when you want to answer the question that the teacher asks in class, you need to raise your hand and wait for the teacher to ask you and then you need to stand up to answer it. And sometimes they do not allow students to query them about some questions. Normally they would give students one constant answer about the question.

How about the American classes in this situation, we interviewed the Chinese student’s Grodon who had college education in Lyndon State College. He said, “The teacher is not the authority.” And Professor Tim, who teaches in Lyndon State College. For himself, He thinks it’s fine to let students argue with him on some issues. It’s a good thing to let them engage the class. Also, about the relationship between teachers and students, it’s very hard to balance.

“It would be very nice that everybody like me. But I think they would like me better if I do what I do for them. I hope they would understand that what I do is in order to help you become a better journalist.”                                                               

The class engagement: The professor Tim had mentioned that what he wants to do is to let the students engage the class. In China, the teacher usually just speaks and students write. Normally they didn’t have more interaction in class. But Joy found that in their class atmosphere is more active than Chinese. Their students would very initiative to study. And for Grodon, the most different thing about the engagement is that no matter what you do is better or worse, the teacher would encourage you. That’s really good for students to do their stuff more confidently. And the American teacher has office time to make communication with students after class, but in China they always just leave when they finished their class.

The Chinese teacher Enzo said, “The students have already cultivated this habit of the model of teaching, it’s a tradition and it’s hard to change it now. But we still try our best to change it and let more students engage in the class. We also hope that we can have more interaction with students.”It is obvious that every teacher wants their students to engage in the class. “The good class that makes me feel good is that to have every students ask me questions, to have conversation with them and they are thinking about what I told them and they are engaged,” Tim told us. And about how to make students to engage the class, how to let them be better and study more, they usually use some ways to make students have more interaction with teachers.                                                     

The model of teaching: When we talked about the model of teaching, no matter which country and which model of teaching, they all have one common goal, that is to make students to be what they want and to be better. When I mentioned about Chinese teachers would use PowerPoint to let students pay attention, Tim said he used it too. And he also used video, audio and try to do something that is interesting.”That is a challenge, but I could performand use my humor towards students. Although the standard is good, but it’s boring. So, what I mean is non-standardized, non-traditional and do something different.”

Joy shared an example to us : “When we took Tim’s class about the History of Journalism, he didn’t tell us the timeline and what things happen in journalism directly, what he did is told us his family history and then let us to build our own family timeline, then connect it with the journalism history. It’s really interesting and totally different from our class in China. In this way, we can remember it more easily and the effect would be better.”

And Joy also mentioned that they pay more attention to practice, that is “learning by doing.” In this way, students can get more knowledge out of class, and most of students would like it. It’s A little different from China, China stresses the theory more than practice. For EJA students, they have the News7 TV station to practice. Enzo also said they have more feedback than in China. “It’s very important for students, maybe some people would ignore it, but I think the feedback helps a lot. The reason they could get more feedback than in China is because there is much less than Chinese students.” It’s also a very important objective factor for the difference between their classes.

Although there are many differences between Chinese classes and American classes, the differences aren’t only what we have mentioned above, but also some other aspects. What we need to know is the reason of it. Both Tim and Enzo mentioned, it depends on different cultures, background and the school situation. So it’s impossible to make these classes the same, and this kind of difference does not mean a class is better or not, just like the old saying, “There are a thousand Hamlets in a thousand people’s eyes.” We couldn’t draw a conclusion about it, every time they are changing and creating. But it’s very helpful for students and teachers to know these differences and to find a good class model to use.