The Differences Between Asian And Western Approaches To Education

Education is a universal human phenomenon. It transcends all cultures, societies, and locations. However, it is also one of the most diverse fields of study. The approaches to education can be as different as night and day depending on where you reside. The educational process has unique characteristics in different parts of the world, especially when comparing Asia vs Western cultures.

The primary focus of this article is on elementary and secondary education in the West vs East. Specifically, we will explore differences between Asian and Western approaches to education by breaking down each culture’s general beliefs about schooling, how children are educated at home by their family or society at large, how the curriculum is structured from preschool through high school, and how students are evaluated (test scores or other metrics).

Asian Perspectives On Education

One of the main reasons why Asian children excel in the field of education is because they are brought up with a very different set of beliefs surrounding the process. Asian culture is based around the idea of respecting authority, hard work, and balance in life. These three pillars of Asian culture heavily influence the educational process and eventually impact students’ performance. Respecting authority means that students are encouraged to listen to their teachers, regardless of whether or not they agree with the teacher’s point of view. Students are expected to do as they’re told, even if they disagree. Openly questioning teachers is rare. Students are also supposed to respect their elders and those in positions of authority. This is why, in many Asian cultures, children are expected to show respect towards their parents and elders through proper manners, such as addressing them with the proper title or bowing.

Western Perspectives On Education

As Western culture is based around the idea of individualism and personal expression, it is only fitting that many Western parents and educators encourage children to be themselves, explore their interests, and pursue their passions. While Asian cultures encourage children to respect authority, conform, and work hard towards a predetermined goal, Western cultures encourage children to be themselves and figure out what they love to do. However, it is important to note that all Western cultures do not share the same core values. For example, in the Southern United States, individualism is more prevalent than in other regions of the country. In the Midwest, however, conformity is more common.

Differences Between Western And Eastern Approaches To Education

Aside from the general philosophical differences between the two cultures teaching their children, there are several distinct differences to note when comparing Asian vs Western education. The curriculum – The first difference between Asian vs Western education that almost all parents and educators point out is the type of curriculum that is offered in their respective regions. Asian countries typically offer a structured or rote learning curriculum. This type of curriculum is based on repetition and memorization. A great example of this is the Chinese writing system, where children must memorize thousands of Chinese characters. This type of curriculum is often criticized by Western educators, who encourage children to think critically and use critical thinking skills. – In contrast, Western curriculums are typically more project-oriented and discovery based. Students are encouraged to use critical thinking skills in order to problem solve. In fact, most Western countries have implemented the use of standardized testing to determine whether or not a child is ready for higher education. Standardized tests are not used in Asian countries. Time spent in school – Asian cultures generally have longer school days and a longer school year than the typical Western school day and year. For example, in South Korea, children attend school for about six hours each day for about nine months out of the year (the rest of the year is spent studying for standardized tests). In Western countries, the typical school day is between six and seven hours, and the school year is between 180 and 200 days.

Asian Culture And Its Impact On The Educational Process

It is important to note that some Asian cultures may not exhibit every one of these traits, but that many Asian parents and teachers try to instill these traits in their students. While most Asian cultures may not try to instill these values in their children, it is important to note how these values can impact the educational process. Asian culture emphasizes high expectations (they want to see their children succeed and make them work hard towards that goal). Asian culture also emphasizes conformity and discipline (children are expected to listen to their teachers and follow instructions). Asian cultures also emphasize rote memorization (children are expected to memorize facts and figures). These three traits can help explain why Asian students often outperform their Western counterparts. When Asian children are expected to succeed and work hard towards that goal, they are more likely to push themselves and work harder. Asian culture also promotes the importance of discipline, which means that Asian children often follow directions and instructions without complaint. Finally, Asian cultures also emphasize rote memorization, which means students are more likely to remember facts and figures without having to work hard to remember them.


It is clear that there are significant differences between Asian and Western approaches to education. Asian cultures tend to focus on standardized testing, memorization, hard work, and discipline. Western cultures, on the other hand, tend to focus on critical thinking, exploring one’s interests, and project-based learning. While some Asian cultures may exhibit these traits, it is important to note that they are not necessarily generalizable across all Asian countries. Similarly, while many Western cultures do promote these traits, they are not generalizable across all Western countries. When choosing how to educate your children, it is important to consider all of these differences.