Comparing Literacy Instruction within China and the United States

  •  Roberta Simnacher Pate    
  •  Evan Ortlieb    
  •  Earl H. Cheek    


The presence of multilingual learners places multifarious demands upon classroom educators to properly select appropriate research-based and functional methods, materials, and assessments to guide children’s literacy development. Researchers aimed to investigate whether universal teaching methods, materials, assessments, concerns, and problems exist within countries around the world, albeit disguised in a myriad of languages. As a plethora of questions continued to arise, an opportunity was seized to explore the educational similarities and differences of elementary school literacy instruction between China and the United States specifically.

Qualitative methods of investigation were utilized in this case study to determine that Chinese schools in Beijing utilized teacher-centered methods of instruction, structured learning environments, and whole-class leveled instruction in departmentalized settings. These principles promote educational development, even though schools in the United States are moving from that model to ones more individualized, aimed at preventing student failure and emphasis is placed on remediation of difficulties.

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