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论中美校园文化差异

论中美校园文化差异

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摘要

随着中国市场经济的发展和对外开放的不断扩大,中国与美国的交流日益增多,文化交流已经成为两国交流的重要组成部分。改革开放以来,中国的教育界、科学界和文化界一直同美国保持着文化交流,这不仅促进了两国人民的相互了解,也促进了教育和文化事业的发展。

校园文化是社会文化和教育环境的重要组成部分,对学生的品格的形成具有潜移默化的影响作用。良好的校园文化是实现素质教育的重要途径,校园文化建设的成功与否直接影响着教育工作的效果。中美是经济发展程度不同的两个大国,政治制度、传统文化、历史背景等方面存在差异,校园文化方面也存在许多不同之处。美国作为一个发达国家,有相对完善的教育体制和发展模式,校园文化建设也存在许多独到之处,可为我国的高校发展和校园文化建设提供借签。

本文从中美文化的特征差异的比较分析入手,分析研究了中美校园文化所存在的差异以及造成其差异的原因,并就新形势下如何培养良好的校园文化环境,富有成效地做好校园文化建设进行了探讨。

关键词:中国,美国,校园文化,差异性,启示

On the Differences Between Chinese and American Campus

Cultures

Author:

Supervisor:

ABSTRACT

With the development of China’s marketing economy and the wide opening up to the outside world, the exchanges between America and China have been increasing year by year, especially the cultural exchanges, and the Chinese educational, scientific and cultural communities have always maintained the exchanges with America. The cultural exchanges between the two countries have made great contribution to the mutual understanding of American and Chinese people and to the development of education.

Campus culture, as an important part of social culture and educational environment, plays an essential role in cultivating people’s personality. Good campus culture is a vital way to achieve the accomplishment of quality education. The campus culture has great impact on the educational quality. America and China, as two countries of great influence, have different political systems, traditional cultures and historical background, thus the campus cultures between them are also varied from each other. America, one of the well-developed countries, has relatively complete educational system and developing patterns, which means the campus culture has its own advantages. Therefore, it can give some guidance and enlightenment for Chinese campus cultural building-up.

This current paper is going to explore the main differences between American and Chinese campus cultures, and then to find out the main reasons that cause the differences. After that, it puts forward some enlightenment for our campus cultural building-up.

Keywords: China, America, campus culture, difference, enlightenment

Acknowledgements

CONTENTS

摘要 (Ⅰ)

Abstract (Ⅱ)

1 Introduction (1)

2 The Differences Between American and Chinese Campus Cultures (3)

2.1 American Individualism and Chinese Collectivism (3)

2.2 Differences in Cultivating S tudents’ Personali ty (4)

2.3 Differences in Cultivating the Students’ Creative S pirit (5)

3 The Reasons that Cause the D ifferences (6)

3.1 Different Running Ways of S chools (6)

3.2 Different Attitude of Students Toward L ife (9)

3.3 Different Campus Atmosphere and Studying E nvironment (10)

4 The Enlightenments for Our Campus Cultural Building-up (12)

4.1 Exerting the Guiding Role of Campus Culture and Creating a Healthy

Environment for Moral Education (12)

4.2 Developing Students’ Personality and Cultivating Their Creative Spirit (13)

4.3 Developing Traditional National Culture and Playing Its Potential Impact on

Campus Cultural Building-up (13)

5 Conclusion (15)

References (16)

1Introduction

With the development of globalization and the implementation of opening-up policy, China’s exchanges with America become more and more frequent in all aspects. Cultural exchanges have been the most important part among the exchanges. Campus culture is one of important component of social culture and also a specific cultural environment which emerges from the campus education. Chinese and American campus cultures have distinguishing features respectively. They all have good aspects which should be advocated and take advantage of for our campus cultural building-up. Therefore, the study of American and Chinese campus culture is necessary and many scholars from the two countries have been studying their differences from different aspects.

Before studying the differences between American and Chinese campus culture, we should know something about culture and campus culture: According to On Campus Culture written by Wang Banghu (1998:12), we can have a very clear understanding about diverse definitions of “campus culture” made by people from all circles. This book says that campus culture is a series of values held by those teachers, students and administrators who live in a specific environmental atmosphere, say, campuses, and the concretion of those values on materials and ideologies. And according to Mo Liyu “culture is a collection of belief, habits, living patterns, and behaviors, which are held more or less in common by people who occupy particular geographic area ( 2006:30).” And we can also find another authoritative definition of culture in a famous Chinese dictionary Ciha i:(Xia Zhengnong, 1999) widely speaking, culture is the combination of all human material and spiritual wealth which are created in the process of human history. Narrowly speaking, it refers to the ideology of the society, as well as the systems and organization. The definition indicates that culture is a historical and geographic phenomenon, and every society or place has its own culture. Since the definitions if cultures are different, the definition of campus culture which is always influenced by culture is also varied. Another mentionable book is American Culture by Dong Xiaochuan (2006). This book answ ers questions such as “What is culture?” “What is American culture?” “What is the research on American culture?” and

“What is the purpose of the study on American culture?”etc, dividing the topic “American Culture” into eight parts a nd explaining different aspects in the culture.

As one of the most important carriers of ideological and political education, the campus cultures in China and America are quite different. Due to different social systems, educational systems, traditional cultures and historical background, the Chinese and American campus cultures have their own characteristics in the construction of campus culture. Therefore, through comparing the two different cultures, the author will find some useful enlightenment for our campus cultural building-up to achieve the objectives of the study.

In order to finish this thesis, the author has made a general study on related topics, read many documents and articles concerning Chinese and American cultures and campus cultures. The author also has found more resources and materials from the internet, in light of the dramatic change of science and technology. Through comparing, analyzing and reasoning, this paper is going to make clear what differences are between American and Chinese campus cultures and to give some suggestion on our campus cultural building-up.

2 The Differences Between American and Chinese Campus

Cultures

The introduction in the first part indicates something about culture and campus culture. This part will explore the differences between Chinese and American campus cultures. The work Quality Education in America (Huang Quanyu, 1999) puts forward that American campus culture is abundance in contents, colorful in forms and useful in outcomes, which is the result in recognitions of the quality-oriented education and students’ creativities. The author of this book sets a large number of examples to represent the characters of both Chinese and American campus cultures. The aim and worthiness of my study is to compare the differences of campus culture in China and the US, to study other’s advantages and to borrow them to serve our culture so as to give more vitality to our campus culture.

It is well known that there are many differences between American and Chinese culture, so it is certainly that there are many differences between two country’s campus cultures. Campus Culture is one of the most important parts in every country’s culture. American and Chinese campus cultures have their own features and characteristics, through comparing the two different cultures; we can find the core of the differences of campus cultures between America and China mainly reflected in the following aspects.

2.1 American Individualism and Chinese Collectivism

Compared with Chinese campus culture, campus culture in the United States is more advocating "individualism”to publicize personality (Wang Jie, 2001:14). The impact of culture on the people is enormous, and specific campus cultural patterns will inevitably influence the students. The United States is a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural traditions country, which advocates the "American spirit" of freedom and equality, personal struggle, heroism and pragmatism. The "American spirit" has become a guide and basic national criterion for the awareness of cultural values, which is, undoubtedly, reflected in the ideology and philosophy of education through rich and

colorful cultural activities at campus. In the United States, most of campus culture advocates self-centered individualism and pragmatic values and the students’ living, learning and competing at campus are based on their individual ability. The equal relationship between students and teachers, the free and relaxed atmosphere in the classroom can be considered as the reflection of individualism. On the other hand, the function of the collective is very weak.

By contrast, China's Campus Culture is based on collectivism which is always highlighted and it is the theme of the modern China. It advocates collectivism, and patriotism, socialism, with lofty moral concepts, the criteria of values and personality awareness, which form a specific campus spirit and cultural atmosphere, guiding students to cultivate lofty political ideals, to foster correct moral values, and to develop good habits. This is the core of our socialist outlook of values at campus. And from the works Chinese Traditional Culture and Education (Liu Xinke, 2003:47), we can know something about the traditional culture and education. Chinese traditional culture is an amazing culture, well-known all over the world, is created by the whole Chinese nation through thousands of years of development, in which education is one of the main component elements. Ways of thinking, orientations of valuing, principles of acting and theories of educating in Chinese traditional culture have their own historical and national characteristics, influencing our daily lives and restricting our education today. This is the very reason why Chinese campus culture is a typical Asian culture featuring Confucianism. And these also provide us with historical reasons and realistic sources to establish and perfect campus culture featuring Chinese characters.

2.2 Differences in Cultivating S tudents’ Personality

A significant feature of American universities is: American universities are students-centered (Mo Liyu, 2006:24). Both faculty and staff are supposed to serve their students. Students there are equal to their teachers in every way and they even enjoy more convenience. For example a faculty can get a ticket for a musical play for $15 but student can get one for half that price. Students can have access to not only faculty and staff but also the university’s recreational resources for free as well. On the contrary, Chinese

universities are still faculty-staff centered, which is due to the long history of officials being regarded superior to other people in ancient China.

Comparing with Chinese universities, American universities pay more attention to the cultivation of the students’personality (Lewis R. G& Smith D. H, 1994:54). They have always attached great importance on the concept of student-center at campus, which is beneficial for cultivating the students’ personality. It is emphasized that all the work of the university must center on the development of the students to meet their need. And the goal of every student receiving the best education must be achieved at all cost. With the help of specific and distinct cultural atmosphere at the campus s, the universities try to guide and stimulate students to develop the ability of independent thinking, calm analyzing, and independent decision-making, and to cultivate the students to be self-confident, independent, self-reliant. Influenced by such kind of educational thought and campus culture, the students develop strong awareness of competition and participation, which make the campus culture vivid and active. This awareness of active participation precisely demonstrates that American schools encourage students to develop and publicize their personality at campus. All these reflect that the campus culture of the United States encourages students to cultivate their personal characteristics. On the other hand, the education in China emphasizes on the students’ develop ment of strict and tight spirit. It usually pays more attention to cultivating the common personality of the collective, neglecting the cultivation of the students’ individual personality.

2.3 Differences in Cultivating the Students’ Creative Spirit

In American campus culture, the awareness and the spirit of innovation is always highlighted. Innovation is the soul of maintaining the eternal vitality of human beings, and the reflection of human nature. The most prominent feature of American campus culture is that American schools attach great importance on the cultivation of the students’ awareness and ability of innovation (Wang Deguang, 2003:18). It emphasizes the cultivation of the spirit of challenge, the skeptic attitude, the creation and use of knowledge, encouraging students to continue to challenge themselves to pursuit constant self-improvement. American society always give positive support to student’ active and creative ideals, and

encourage them to make more discoveries, inventions, creations, and progress, considering these to be the highest state to accomplish in their career to realize their self-value and to pursuit the freedom of their lives. The students, consequently, actively explore their creative thinking, creative ability and creative methods, which are always given high praises. In the United States, college students and teachers are often encouraged to respect the creative ideas and thinking and free expression of these ideas, to discover and learn to reason and criticize, and to take responsibility for the consequences of their actions. In addition, the management mechanism of the University in America continues to be developed, improved. The management system, academic study and culture teaching content and the students’ activities all reflected sense of innovation and the spirit of innovation. By contrast, China's school education focuses on the accumulation of knowledge and instilment of knowledge to students and teaching them to respect the authority and the knowledge. It emphasizes all-round development of students while neglecting the development of the student's personality and creative ability.

In sum, this paper has demonstrated some main differences between Chinese and American campus culture in this part. As an important part of social culture, campus culture plays important role in people’s life, especially in students’life. Because of different educational systems and different traditional cultures, the two countries have great differences. Both of them have their own features and advantage for our campus cultural construction.

3 The Reasons that Cause the Differences

Through the analysis in the above part, the author has found some main differences between American and Chinese campus cultures. However, what causes the differences is unknown. Therefore, in order to make the readers understand the differences better, the author is going to explore some main reasons that cause the differences between American and Chinese campus cultures.

3.1 Different Running Ways of Schools

Different schools run in different ways, especially the schools between China and America. Because of the different cultural backgrounds, different traditions and history, American schools and Chinese schools usually have different teaching methods, different managements and different controls by the governments, which are the main reasons that cause the differences between the two countries’ campus cultures.

Firstly, American and Chinese schools have different teaching methods. (1) Chinese teaching methods: In Chinese classes, a student only sits down on his own seat quietly, transcribes the notes, answers questions of teachers, if necessary, finishes the homework, and recites the teaching materials correctly. Studying in order according to the textbooks can make him or her pass the exam very easily. (2) American teaching methods: Quite differently, American education system emphasizes leading students to think separately and to express himself or herself in all kinds of ways. In American society any information can be found in textbooks, so teachers pay more attention to help students understanding the contents of the lessons in other meaningful ways (Zhang Huiming, 2004:16). Therefore American students must take part in the discussion and answer questions actively. The discussion in class can evaluate what a person have learned and whether he is capable to talk it freely with others. The professor will ask questions frequently about the student’s opinions and share them with others. He will ask the students to take part in the discussion, answer questions and give personal ideas. In fact the performance in classes will be one part of the term scores. Moreover, American schools highly value the personal privacy. They also have a different attitude toward score. They never publish the score of students;

no matter it is good or bad. Usually they only give the average score and the number of people beyond each score line. Students in one class even do not know which classmate have a better score and which one is worse, what they can do is just guess the achievements according to the class performance. American schools usually use interesting teaching methods to enlighten students. They pay much attention to consciousness and lack the standard. It is very good for those students who love study and use brain. But many students who do not have an initiative attitude toward study in his childhood can not get an effective and standard education. Quite different from America, China has a strict and norm school management. Although this system has many problems, it makes almost every student gain a basic education in his primary education and form a good habit of studying.

Secondly, American and Chinese schools have quite different managements (Huang Jungong, 2005:18). Every article mentioning the differences between American and Chinese campus culture will contrast the free management of American schools and the strict management of Chinese schools. American schools give many freedoms to students, because the human rights come first here. It’s not allowed the parents to beat or punish their children, so the schools and the teachers usually are not strict to the students, even though when someone’s score is not very high. Usually the students have more spare time than Chinese ones. So they have more problems about drugs, sex, tobacco, alcohol and other violent matters. By contrast in Chinas schools have more comprehensive management to students, so the campus is more in order. Many problem students can also improve greatly with the focal care of their teachers. The teachers usually have good methods to help them fulfill their studying goals, and catch up with others.

Thirdly, American and Chinese schools are controlled by different governments. Government control has been considered to be a part of campus culture. Obviously American and Chinese government have different policies toward schools. American system is more elastic, and the government gives less control on schools. They enlist the public and private schools, which are completely against each other. There are many private schools in America competing with the public schools. Parents and students are free to decide which one to attend. Government only subsidizes those schools which are full of excellent students and teachers who have done a good job on teaching. Those schools,

which no students want to attend, will go bankrupt. In order to survive in the keen competition, the schools and teachers must enlarge there acknowledge and improve the teaching methods day by day. Compared with these, the Chinese education system is a little rigid. Once an administration order is formed, it will lose a long time and never be changed easily, which is not suitable for the demands of knowledge to education. Some policies even make the schools and teachers can’t do a better job. Because it restricts many things for them and make them lose the creativity of working.

3.2 Different Attitude of Students Toward Life

Another reason that causes the differences is that American and Chinese students have different attitude toward life (Yang Huaizhong, 1993:76). Attitude is very important for people, especially for young students, and it plays an important role in campus cultural building-up. From the following points, we may understand this more clearly.

Firstly, American and Chinese students have different attitude toward spending holidays. American students are distinct from Chinese ones because they have dissimilar schedule for their holiday. Chinese students usually take holidays by tourist, going home and studying while American students usually have a busy holiday. They must earn money to support their future study. It also shows the independence of American students. They will be self-reliant on economy from 18 years old. Having become adults, they want to live on their own and earn tuition by themselves, so most American students do spare time jobs. Compared to this, Chinese students have less pressure of life since all of their schooling will be given by family. The most important task of them is to work hard and gain good score: That is one of the reasons that Chinese schools give strict management to students. Another reason is that the parents want strict management for their children.

Secondly, American and Chinese students have different attitude toward friendship. The definition of friendship is different to students of America and China. Most American students are very independent, so they can’t make deep-seated friendship with others very quickly. But they also want to have good friends. If two students have chance to talk about some interesting subjects, it’s not very difficult for them to build good relationship. While in China friendship is one of the most important parts in a person’s life. Chinese students

want to get along well with each others and most students can do this very easily. Sometimes they can make friends with others in a short time. Usually people think that the more capable a person is the more friends he should have.

3.3 Different Campus Atmosphere and Studying Environment

Campus atmosphere and studying environment are considered to be important parts of campus culture, also the important reasons that cause the differences between American and Chinese campus cultures (Wang Deguang, 2003:14).

Firstly, American and Chinese schools have different and specific campus atmosphere. The spirit of campus is apparent in everything the student body does - from classes to clubs, from cheers to campaigning, and from celebrations to career plans. Students devote their time not only to learning, but also to the many other aspects of campus life. So everyone knows that American and Chinese campus have different atmosphere. American culture emphasizes personal dynamic role and creativity, but also cooperation and team thoughts. There are all kinds of student organization and various activities; almost every student takes part in one or more organization. American parents often encourage their children to become involved in extracurricular activities of all types at school, such as student government, sports and music. They believe that only through involvement in these activities can their children become mature young adults. Schoolwork is important, to be sure. But parents realize that the social skills their children learn from natural interaction with their peers in non-scholastic settings more closely approximate the skills they will need in the "real world". One part of American culture is to express oneself and publicize the individual character. Just as Bellan says: “The individualistic assumptions of their culture lead them to believe that they can live as they choose, using a big institutions—the agencies of the state, the companies or organizations they work for, the schools they attend —for their own ends, without fundamentally influenced by them (1985:236).” Influenced by it, every student thinks they are different from others, and have their own features, so they take part in activities bravely and do not care how others think about them because atmosphere here is quite loose. Other students also tread them equally and do not care about what their action because it is their freedom to do anything they want. Meantime the

atmosphere is much stricter in China. The school wants students devote most of their time on studying, so there are fewer activities.

Secondly, American and Chinese students are studying in different environment. American and Chinese students have different studying environment because of the un-synchronism development of two countries. American has the most powerful economy in the world, the technology and science is also advanced, so American students have better studying environment. Nearly every American family have two computers, meanwhile in China almost one in 120 families has a computer. American students can get all kinds of information without textbooks, and Chinese students can’t do that at the same time. Dependent on the computer and calculating devices, only makes the American students have a lower ability of counting. Contrary, Chinese students have matured the intelligence with the help of mental and handing arithmetic.

In summary, the author has pointed out some main reasons that cause the differences between American and Chinese campus cultures. The schools’ different teaching methods and managements, different campus atmosphere and studying environments and the students’different attitudes toward life are the main reasons that cause the differences between the two countries campus cultures. Through analysis of these reasons, the author has made the people see the differences more clearly.

4 The Enlightenments for Our Campus Cultural Building-up

After comparing the differences between American and Chinese campus cultures and analyzing the reason that cause the differences, we can understand the two different campus cultures better and also we can see some advantages and disadvantages of the two different cultures. We should maintain and develop the good aspects of our own campus culture and at the same time, bring in the excellent aspects of American campus culture which are beneficial to our cultural construction. Through comparing and analyzing, the author has found some useful enlightenment for our campus cultural building-up.

4.1 Exerting the Guiding Role of Campus Culture and Creating a

Healthy Environment for Moral Education

The impact of campus environment cannot be understated, and positive and healthy environment for the moral education will exert imperceptible influence on the students and play a direct guiding role in students’education (Zhang Huiming, 2004:36). Campus culture must play its fundamental role in guiding students and teachers to improve their ideological and moral quality and scientific and cultural quality, and thus it will create a healthy cultural atmosphere and good moral environment for moral education. In the process of campus cultural construction, American Universities have always attached great importance to moral education, although there is no national united request for moral education. However, but in the entire education there has obvious tendency of moral education. Patriotism, honesty, belief, as well as the general ethical regulations and general legal knowledge are the objectives of moral education in different types of American schools. For example, the famous Harvard University has clearly pointed out that it devotes to raise "educated people", training students to be talents with high moral quality so as to achieve the purpose of enhancing the effectiveness of moral education. In China, campus culture is an important part of the construction of socialist culture, and the core and the first aim is to cultivate new socialist generation with ideals, moral, culture, and discipline. To create a favorable moral environment for students’ development, we should take advantage of the good aspects of the construction of campus culture, learning from the United States,

because its construction of campus culture has a lot of successful and excellent experience and methods which should be taken advantage of in the process of our campus cultural building-up.

4.2 Developing Students’ Personality and Cultivating Their Creative

Spirit

To create a successful and harmonious campus culture, we should develop students’personality and cultivating their ability of innovation (Mo Liyu, 2006:28). In order to cultivate students, our schools should be student-centered and all work of schools and school faculty is supposed to serve the students, centering around the students to meet their need of development. Through studying at school, they can develop the ability of independent thinking, calm analyzing, and independent decision-making. We should establish and advocate a new teacher-student relationship, and create relaxed and humorous atmosphere in the classroom when teaching. We should try our best to create a good campus environment which is favorable for developing students’ personality.

Innovation is very important for the development of culture and economy and we should pay high attention to stimulating cultural innovation and enhancing the vitality of cultural development. One way to invigorate campus culture is to promote innovation in its contents and forms, its structures and its mechanism. Leaning from American campus cultural building-up, we should provide a proper and favorable environment for students at campus to encourage and stimulate their creative spirit.

4.3 Developing Traditional National Culture and Playing Its Potential Impact on Campus Cultural Building-up

Traditional national culture is the soil for a country and a nation to survive in this world. Therefore, campus culture must root in this soil (Gu Mingyuan, 2001:217). America and China have their own traditional national culture which has great impact on campus culture and will continue to influence the campus culture. In the United States, many colleges and universities have always attached great importance to the national traditional

culture. They make the fullest use of the campus hardware, such as the classrooms, campus construction, cultural landscape, to show the importance of national culture and campus spirit. Compared with the United States, after 5000 years of accumulation and development, China has formed a profound, long-standing traditional culture. Thousands of years of Confucian thinking and moral values are closely linked to the education, have a profound impact on contemporary students’ life in all its aspects (Zong Xu, 2006:39). Therefore we must carry on and develop the quintessence of our own traditional culture in the process of the construction of campus culture. We must combine the moral tradition with the spirit of new era in the process of building spiritual culture. Chinese tradition has been an unfailing driving force for the Chinese nation to keep its unity and make progress from generation to generation. We must have a comprehensive understanding of the traditional Chinese culture, keep its essence and discard its dross to enable it to fit in with present-day society, stay in harmony with modern civilization, keep its national characters and reflect the changes of time. We should also strengthen international cultural exchanges to draw in the fine achievement of foreign culture and enhance the influence of Chinese culture worldwide. Campus culture, as an important part of social culture, should carry and develop Chinese traditional culture in the process of cultural construction.

In sum, although there are some disadvantages in the two different campus cultures, there are many good aspects which should be taken advantage of and advocated. Through analysis in this part, this paper has listed some enlightenment for our campus cultural building-up. While strengthening the cultural exchanges with American campuses to draw on the achievement of its culture, we should advocate and develop our own traditional culture in the process of campus cultural building-up to make our campus culture specific, unique and attractive.

5 Conclusion

Up till now, this paper has given a brief summary of the main discoveries obtained from the research, and then discussed the significance of the study.

Campus culture is an important part of social culture, and it plays an important role in people’s life. America and China vary in political systems, educational system, traditional cultures and historical background; as a result, they have many differences between their campus cultures, such as advocating individualism in America campus and collectivism in Chinese campus, differences in cultivating students’ personality and in developing students’creative ability. Many reasons that cause the differences are different teaching methods at schools, different managements of school, different atmosphere of school and students’different attitude toward life. After comparing the differences and analyzing the reasons, this paper points out some enlightenment for our campus cultural building-up. It is hoped that the study will help people in better understanding the differences between American and Chinese campus cultures, benefiting our campus cultural construction.

This paper has done a detailed study with great significance. Through comparing and analyzing the differences between American and Chinese campus cultures, it will help with better understanding of campus culture. It might benefit learners of campus culture in improving their cultural awareness, and to the intercultural communication between American and Chinese people. What’s more, it will be beneficial for our campus cultural building-up.

References

[1] Lewis, R.G. & Smith, D.H. Total Quality in Higher Education [M]. St Lucie Press.