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Chinese Civilization

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Anh My Pham

Dr. Chen

Chinese Civilization

Final Paper

Having the historical length of 4000 years, China is undebatedly not the oldest civilization in the world. We have discovered records of Eridu, Indus Valley or Ancient Egypt which are much older than that of the Yellow River. However, what makes Chinese civilization remarkable is the continuity. China with its indefinable essence of culture and constant characteristics throughout thousands of year, has been recognized as the oldest continuous and homogeneous civilization in the world. Nevertheless, to the average Westerners, China has always been a mysterious and captivating oriented country since Marco Polo. Hence, I want to give a context of an American going to China to teach English to give readers suggestions to clarify one of the sharpest differences between Westerners and Chinese and broadly provide some guidelines of daily Chinese culture.

My first suggestion is about your relationship with the Chinese. If you want to have a close friend with a Chinese, you need to notice the differences between Chinese and American friendships. First, in the West, you often have a lot of friends at a time, but your friends gradually changes with years. But in China, due to the immobility of the society, people only have the limited number of friends but your relationship is very close and can last a life time. Secondly, you don’t often share all the aspects of your life but only some activities such as golf, work or party with different friends in America. Even your best friends will change over time. But in China, people only add friends and seldom change their best friends. These friends can share with you all the aspects of their life. More importantly, in American, your duties toward your best friends have limits. It is not a long – term responsibilities. But this is not the case in China. The duties and obligations of friendships are unlimited. One needs to have responsibility toward their friends but also can rely on their friends for help. Finally, American friends can feel free asking you for help and you can also feel free to refuse. But a friend in China always tries to help you without asking and also requires you to help them sometimes. As a result, if you want to have a close friendship with a Chinese, you must know that you had to spend a lot of time with your friends, have surprising visits. You will also be asked for help and received advices frequently. These differences can make you reconsider of having a close friend in China.

As a teacher, you can also see that the great differences in education between America and China will greatly affect your habit of teaching. While the education in the West is more practical and focuses on learning information and skills to apply in real world, Chinese education focuses on theory. Therefore, in contrast with finding facts and using information creatively, the education in China emphasize details and facts with a lot of memorization. It leads to the passive way of learning in China, as the teacher talks and students take note inactively. It is common that the students don’t involve in group activities, make comments and ask questions in class. You should also careful about the reading materials and what you teach to your students. To them, the test will only cover what you teach in class, not all of the assigned readings. Therefore, they can feel very disappointed seeing the uncovered material in the tests. My suggestion is that you should clarify your policy at the beginning of the course. Besides, for Chinese, the tests significantly determine a student’s future, not just testing a progress like in American. As a result, when you gives the class hard exams or bad grades, the students can be frustrated. Finally, the role of the teachers in China is more than just academic and professional areas. The teachers are expected to care about developing comprehensive students with ethics, morals and personal characteristics. You should be cautious because your students may report that you don’t have enough concern with the students. These differences can help you avoid confusion when teaching in China.



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