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Table 1. Cultural Foundations of School Program in United States and China

From: Early Childhood Education and Relative Policies in China

  American Individualism Chinese Confucianism
Culture Individual Freedom, Equality and Choice Social Honor and Harmony within Moral Hierarchy
 Morality: Individual Rights and Responsibilities Honor: Familial Honor; Awareness of Evaluations of Others
  • Moral Domain Separate from Social Convention Harmony: Modesty, Respect; Acknowledge Others
 Equality: Individuals are Equal; Equal Opportunity Moral Hierarchy: Filial Piety; Obedience and Care; Shame
 Personal Freedom: Free to Choose Own Course of Life Self-Cultivation: Learning and Self-Perfection for Family Honor as Moral Value
 American Dream: Individuals Make their Own Destinies  
School Child-Centered Education Traditional Teacher-Centered Education
 Student Focused: Teacher Adjusts to Student Abilities Teacher Focused: Teacher Sets Rigorous Academic Agenda
 Localized Control: Courses, Textbooks, Exams Nationalized Standards: Courses, Textbooks, Exams
 Value on Education: Lower Expectations; Mixed Parent Involvement Value on Education: High Standards; Extreme Parent Involvement
 Duration: Shorter/Fewer Days; Extracurricular Activities seen as Important; Less Homework Duration: Longer Days; More School Days; Extra Tutorials; More Homework; Fewer Extracurricular Activities
 Self-as-Learner: Intelligence and Ability as Fixed Self-as-Learner: Intelligence as Malleable; Growth Mindset
 Process Focus: Teaching Process; Learning Styles Content Focus: Deep Content and Rote Knowledge
 Many Behavior Problems/Lower Achievement Anxiety Few Behavior Problems/High Achievement Anxiety
  1. Note. From “Pathways in the cultivation of the learning motivation in young children: Culture and the emotional foundations of learning” by M. F. Mascolo, 2008, Presentation at the second cito conference on early childhood education on March 7, 2008, the Netherlands.