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A Comparative Study on Family Education in America and China

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A Comparative Study on Family Education in America and China

I. Introduction

1.1 The defination of family education

One of the first professional organizations in the U.S. for Family Life Educators, the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR), interprets family education in this way: "Family Education is the educational effort to strengthen individual through a family perspective. The objective of Family Education is to enrich and improve the quality of children themselves."From the statements above, we can know that family education refers to the education people receive in family. Generally speaking, it covers many aspects, including study education, life education, morality education and so on.

1.2 The importance of family education

According to a study, family education accounts for 70% of the whole education people receive in China, and 50% of that in America. Even though the percentage is slightly different, it still shows family education plays a vital role in people’s life. Family education, as the first education people receive, is the basis and supplement of school education. No matter how wonderful school education can be, it is still limited without a collaboration with the family. Family education can teach children something that they couldn’t learn in school, so it cannot be replaced by school education. What’s more, we have received family education ever since we were born, so we are influenced by family education deeply. Our character, values,world view and thinking model is closely related to family education. Therefore, family education is very important, which deserves our attention.

1.3 People’s different opinions toward family education in America and China

The fact that America and China have different kinds of family education raises the discussions about which kind is the best, the discussions divide along two lines. Some people believe American family education is better. They hold the view that American family education is more likely to inspire children’s creativity and make children develop fully. Nevertheless, some say that Chinese family education is superior, because such kind of education can cultivate children who have good performance in school, in turn, they tend to have high education and better jobs. Thus, the question remains: between American family education and Chinese family education, which one is preferable?

II. Comparison of the process between American and Chinese familt education

2.1 Comparison of aims

The goals of family education determine their directions. Therefore, the aim of family education is the most important. According to Chao's (1996) study, American parents did not emphasize the importance of academic success to their children. The purpose of America family education is to develop their children’s adaptation to environments and the independent viability of the social man. Based on this purpose, most American parents tend to train their children’s ability of independence from children’s childhood. Ever since children are born, their parents would create kinds of opportunity in order to train their children’s capacity to live independently.

In the aspect of life, American children have their own room once they are born. As they grow older, their parents would give them less and less limitation. So American children have enough opportunity and rights to choose what they like. In economy, American parents rule children’s pocket money strictly. It is reported that half of American adolescents have no pocket money and 68% of them earn their pocket money by themselves. In learning, American parents rarely supervise their children’s study and see whether their homework is finished or not. Contrarily, most parents are likely to cultivate children’s creativity and independent thinking. In all, American parents hope their children could develop the ability of independence.

Compared with American, Chinese parents have a very different aim of children’s education. Parents in China only hope that children could have a promising future, a stable job and a good life. Based on such expectations, the majority of parents wouldn’t put fostering independence as the top priority. Contrariwise, they feel it’s their responsibility to create as good conditions as they can for children so that their children will worry nothing in the future.

In the aspect of life, Chinese parents would like to do everything they can for their children. What parents consider most is their children’s intellect. At home, parents don’t let their children do any housework to save more time for children’s study. Also, Chinese

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