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Zach Hershey:美国教育的精髓——创造力培养

责任编辑:nannan.gu来源:天道教育时间:2015-04-16 15:22:31点击:

根据你所询问的人以及他所研究的课题,你会得到许多关于美国教育系统的目标是什么的不同回答。确实,不同的关注点和研究领域要求不同发展和训练不同的技能,但是确实有一系列基本的技能多数大学喜欢逐渐灌输给他们的学生。

关键词: 美国教育美式教育美国教育理念去美国留学天道外籍顾问

  Depending on the person that you ask and the subject that they study, you will get numerous different responses as to what the goals of the American education system are. It is true that different concentrations or areas of study require the development and exercise of different skills, but there exists a fundamental set of skills that most universities like to instill in their students.

本文为天道外籍顾问郝志勋(Zach Hershey)原创,转载请注明出处和作者,违者必究!

  Taking the University of California, Berkeley as an example, the basic attributes that they promote in their students are Critical Thinking, Historical Grounding, and International Understanding. In order to develop these skills, the university requires that each student demonstrate a basic mastery through courses taken which have been identified to be related to them, Mathematics, US or World History, and Foreign Languages respectively. Beyond these fundamental skills, the university also requires a set of seven courses taken from different areas of focus, such as Literature and the Physical Sciences, called the Seven Breadths. The goal of these courses can be seen simply in the name, “Breadths;” these courses aim to expand the foundation of the student’s knowledge into areas that they might not have explored of their own volition. This is not designed for the student to become a master in any of these areas, but rather to make them into as more well-rounded individual.

  Speaking from a background in both the Physical Sciences and the Humanities, Astrophysics and Chinese Language, different majors will instill you with different ways to study, research, and take exams. In these different methods, you can see differences in the focus or goal of education within these specializations. The main difference that I witnessed was found in examinations. While the Physics Department encouraged us to think of creative ways to use the tools that we already had, the Chinese Department promoted open-ended thinking to develop wholly new ideas, not necessarily grounded in what we we taught.

  In these two different teaching styles, one thread of commonality can be easily drawn out, creativity. In physics, they want students to use what we have in new ways; in Chinese, they want us to make up for what we don’t have with new ideas. Education is there to provide suggestions rather than absolutes. The American education system is all about creating free-thinkers, those who can create without relying on restrictions inherent in the thinking of their teachers.

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  The American and Chinese high school education systems are two vastly different beasts. Living through American high school and speaking with current students of Chinese high schools, I have come to realize that each has their own benefits and shortcomings that will help or hurt Chinese students who wish to go to the United States for their undergraduate studies. These pros and cons are mirrored across the two systems, existing in one and absent in the other.

  Whenever speaking of the American education system, creativity is a word that often gets thrown around. The United States likes people who ask questions; in fact, our teachers tend to use the questionable saying, “there is no such thing as a stupid question,” in hopes that it might encourage the more timid students to speak up. The great benefit that comes with learning to ask questions is the development of the wonderful skill of “being able to ask the right questions.” This might not make sense to many, but it is a vital skill that takes years of practice to master, and many people will fail to master it. When faced with learning, or solving a problem that has yet to be solved, if you fail to ask the right questions, then you will never some to master the content or reach the solution.

  This is an arena where the Chinese education system fails, because all too often, Chinese teachers expect students to take the information that they spout as fact and regurgitate it word for word on the exam. I am a person friend of more teachers than I can count, and I have taught classes in astrophysics, Chinese, and English, and I know for a fact that there are no teachers in the world that know everything there is to know about their subject--it’s impossible. Beyond this, that which we do “know” is subject to question from anything from philisophical to scientific arguments, so there is no reason to preach “fact” in any circumstance, because it is a falicy.

  My goal here is not to scare Chinese students into thinking that they are entirely ill-prepared, because there is another important aspect in which Chinese students have got Americans beat--study skills. Some might describe the American education system as relaxing high school followed by intense undergraduate study, and in my experience, that is quite true. When you look at the Chinese system, students experience the exact opposite of this, and that is the key to the ability of Chinese to be successful in university. Even though the thinking of American high school graduates might be more broad than that of a Chinese high-school graduate, Chinese students have the ability to beat American students out if they focus on working hard.

  In that, the most important steps for Chinese students to take are towards questioning the knowledge which they have been taught in school. Rather than simply accepting the word of your teachers as fact, consider it false until the explanation makes sense to you. In that process, learn how to ask the right questions that will bring you to that understanding, because that is the key to ultimate academic success.

  中文版:

  根据你所询问的人以及他所研究的课题,你会得到许多关于美国教育系统的目标是什么的不同回答。确实,不同的关注点和研究领域要求不同发展和训练不同的技能,但是确实有一系列基本的技能多数大学喜欢逐渐灌输给他们的学生。

  以加州大学伯克利分校为例,他们将批判性思维、史学基础和对国际关系的理解作为基本属性在他们的学生中推广。为了培养这些技能,学校需要每个学生展现出对所修课程的基本掌控力,课程要分别与数学、美国或世界历史以及外语有关。除这些基本技能外,学校也要求学生修一组“7跨度”课程,七门课程为一组,每门课程关注不同领域,譬如文学和物理科学领域。为何要选修这些课程,从“跨度”这个名字上可见一斑,这些课程旨在拓宽学生的知识面,让他们接触一些单凭他们的自觉性无法钻研的领域。这样做不是为了让学生成为其中某个领域的大师,而是想将他们塑造成更加丰满的个体。

  从物理科学和人文科学、天体物理学和汉语言的角度来说,不同的专业能教会你不同的方法来应对学习、研究和考试。在这些不同的方法中,你能够发觉教育的焦点和目标在这三个专门领域中的不同之处。我所见证过的最主要的不同之处在考试之中。物理系鼓励我们想出创造性的方式来使用我们已有的工具,中文系提倡开放性思维培养全新的思路,不必照本宣科。

  在这两种不同的教学风格中,很容易提炼出一丝共性——创造力。物理系中,他们想要学生以一种新的方式使用我们已有的东西。中文系里,他们想让我们用新思路来补偿我们所缺少的。教育随时准备着提供建议而非真理。美国教育系统的精髓就是要创造自由的思想家,他们不受老师教授的那些思想的束缚,自主的创造。

  学习如何正确的问问题是取得学术成功的关键

  美国和中国的高中教育系统完全不同。我在美国读高中,和现在的中国高中生谈话,我意识到中美教育都有各自的优点和不足,这会帮助也会伤害那些想去美国上大学的中国学生。中美教育系统像两面镜子一样,互相照出了各自的利弊,一方有的另一方必然缺乏。

  无论何时说起美国教育系统,创造力这个词经常被提及。美国喜欢问问题的人;事实上,我们的老师倾向于使用这句有争议的谚语——“世界上没有愚蠢的问题”——来鼓励那些胆小的学生发言。学习提问带来的最大的好处是培养了一项极好的技能——能问对的问题。这对许多人来说可能没有意义,但是它是一项至关重要的技能,需要多年的训练才能掌握,并且许多人即使训练了多年也没能掌握。当你面临着学习或是解决一个有待解决的难题,如果你无法问出对的问题,你将永远不会掌控这一内容并找到解决方案。

  中国的教育系统已经败下阵来,因为中国老师时常期望学生把他们的长篇大论当成事实,并在考试中一个字一个字地回想起来。我有许多的教师朋友,并且讲过天体物理学、汉语以及英语课程,我清楚地知道世界上没有哪个老师知道他所教授学科的所有知识,这绝不可能。除此之外,我们所知道的是来自于对从哲学到科学争论的质疑,所以在任何情况下都没有理由宣扬自己讲授的是“事实”,这是一种谬论。

  在此,我的目的不是吓唬中国学生让他们感觉自己完全没有准备好,因为中国学生在另一个重要方面打败了美国学生——学习技巧。一些人可能这样描述美国的教育系统——高中很轻松,大学很紧张;依我之见,确实是这样。当你审视中国的教育系统时,学生的体验恰巧与美国学生相反,这正是中国学生能够在大学里如鱼得水的关键。虽然美国高中毕业生比中国学生思路更宽,但是比谁更努力的时候中国学生更胜一筹。

  既然如此,中国学生的关键一步就在于质疑他们在学校所学的知识。不要简单地把老师的话当做事实,知道他的解释能使你信服的时候再把它当成对的。在这个过程中,学习如何问正确的问题,这才是取得最终的学术成功的关键。

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