Education: Values and Expectations

"For a young student who comes from a small place, the American college or university is like a Big Mac.* It's too big to eat it all."

--International Student in the United States--

*A very large McDonald's hamburger


Part 1: Pre-Reading Exercises

Pre-Reading Discussion

1. In your opinion, what aspects of the American educational system are most difficult for foreign students and immigrants? Base your answer on your experience or the experience of people you know.
2. What are your expectations of professors and instructors? Should they be more than teachers? For example, should they also be counselors, friends, or advisers?
3. In your culture, is "peer-teaching" common? That is, do students ever teach each other?

Pre-Reading Vocabulary

1. Definition
Student Participation: active involvement of a student in the learning process, especially in the classroom. In the United States, student participation is not only accepted by expected.
Do teachers encourage student participation in your culture, or does the teacher dominate the class while students remain quiet? If students are expected to remain quiet, are they given any opportunities to communicate with the teacher? Explain.
2. Definition
Honor System: the demand that a student be honest in all areas of schoolwork; no cheating of any kind is allowed.
In other schools that you have attended, what happened when a student was caught cheating? In your opinion, should students be punished strictly if they share answers on tests or on schoolwork?
3. Definition
Cooperative Student Relationships: relationships characterized by students' willingness to work together as a team, and to share knowledge and information.
Competitive Student Relationships: relationships characterized by students' desire to work alone, and not to share knowledge and information with others.
In your culture, are relationships between students generally cooperative or competitive? What are the advantages and disadvantages of working in groups and working alone? What is your preference?

Skimming for General Information

To get the general idea of the reading that follows:
1. Read the titles and headings of the sections.
2. Read the first and last paragraphs of the reading.
From your skimming, answer the following:
1. Are classroom expectations the same in every country?
2. Where is the answer to this question found?

Scanning for Specific Information

To find specific information in the reading, look for clues such as certain words and  numbers. Scan the reading to find the answer to the following:
1. In which paragraph have the authors listed ways to manage stress? What are three of the ways?
2. What is "peer counseling?" In which paragraph did you find the definition?



Material taken from: Beyond Language by Levine and Adelman. Prentice Hall 1993.