Society and Family
In the United States, an ideal is a society that respects cultural differences and ensures the equality of all cultures. Americans are proud to say that their "strength is in diversity."
For Americans, equality of opportunities is above all (but not to be confused with equal conditions for all).
Americans deeply respect those who have achieved something in life, starting from scratch and having overcome many difficulties on the way to success. With all this, they are far less respectful of the administrative elite with privileges in office. So any American, whether he is the president himself or the last beggar, should get on the general line and be removed from the table before something is intercepted in the diner.
American concepts of "group" or "team" are different from how these words are understood in collectivist countries. Individual persons use the principles of community and to achieve their own goals. If this team ceases to serve the goals of an individual, then it’s time to get out of it. Excessive individualism has a downside. For example, Americans only know that to sue each other or with the state.
For most Americans, labor is the most important thing, since it serves as the yardstick of all values and values of a person. In America, any, even the most routine mechanical work is held in high esteem. For many Americans, work is an end in itself: dedication and self-perfection are fully worthy of a reward in the form of wages or pensions.
Americans honor morality as an absolute truth. Even questions of political importance are considered by citizens from the ethical point of view. By the way, perhaps for this reason in America, such concepts as morality and law are very close in nature.
Americans prefer not to follow the course of events passively, but to influence them Mania control everything and everything about time. Time is money, which means that they can be fully managed, you can spend it just as long as you do not waste it. Lawyers conduct invoices for minutes, telephone companies - for seconds, and local news channels boast that in one minute the whole world can embrace.
Americans are a very mobile nation, according to some estimates, the average US resident changes his residence 4-5 times during his life.
Americans began to marry much later than before (men, on average, at twenty-eight years, and women at twenty-six). Half of marriages end in divorce. A third of American children are born out of wedlock. More than half of Americans live - or find themselves - in "mixed" families, with adopted children or parents.
In families with both parents, the equality of the sexes spreads between the spouses both to work and to household chores. At the same time, the number of families in which the husband and wife work, though only one of them is thinking about promotion, is growing, as is the number of families with fathers-householders.
Parents, even those busy and busy with work, consider it their duty to devote as much time as possible to their children, to be interested in their successes and development, to delve into their hobbies and problems. Family trips to nature, excursions, picnics, at least regular dinners together - an integral part of the life of many American families. And the matinee, organized in a kindergarten, a club, at a church or a national cultural organization, on which an apple has nowhere to fall from dads and moms with video cameras, and any simple song or rhyme from children’s lips evokes a storm of applause - quite an ordinary picture.
In America, various kinds of clubs of women with young children are widely used, in which the mothers in turn remain with the children of their friends, neighbors and co-religionists or meet in neutral territory (club, church, library, etc.) for communication, exchange of experience, and at the same time - for the children to play together.
As a rule, grandmothers in the US are not burdened with cares about grandchildren. Children are the problems of parents, and if they found themselves old enough to have kids, they should also think about who will deal with them.
The American family is a living embodiment of democracy. American parents at every step consult their children, discussing various issues with them. Children of childhood are involved in family affairs so that they can say their own words, for example, what kind of buns or spaghetti will fit today for lunch or where to go for a rest - to Florida or to California. American children, unlike their foreign peers, almost from the cradle get used to decide for themselves what is, what to dress and what to brighten up leisure.
You can argue with parents and teachers. For American individualists, this is just a form of expression of one’s own opinion and an active perception of what you hear, as well as a way of asserting one’s rights.
The work ethic of children is taught from a young age. The path to it usually begins with help in the work around the house, for which the child receives a well-deserved reward (pocket money); continues this way, when the boy earns a postman, and the girl is a nurse, well, everything follows on the first independent trip to a store or restaurant. For the first time having bought a bottle of lemonade on their own money at a roadside tent, the child, from whatever family he is, at the very first time enjoys the charm of financial independence.
Academic achievements of the child (for example, early mastery of reading or writing) do not greatly disturb American parents.
It is strictly forbidden to punish a child strictly. "Use the word, not the hands," - so it is customary in America.
As punishment for disobedient babies, deprivation of entertainment, sweets, toys and other pleasures is practiced, but if the child complains about it to others, such an act of parents can be regarded as a violation (illegal actions that entailed physical or moral damage). In the end, the best way to convince the child that he behaved incorrectly is to talk. It is believed that any punishment must be accompanied by a detailed explanation of his motives. In practice this method disciplines both children and parents.
It is forbidden to leave small children unattended, and parents who act in this way can be subjected to administrative punishment, and if this entailed any serious consequences (trauma, fire), then criminal punishment.
Services of tutors, hired teachers and private teachers of the middle class (namely, it has the bulk of the population) in the US, almost do not use. A qualified specialist in the field of raising children is very expensive here, and most families simply can not afford this. However, there is a profession of babbitters - people who do not have the qualifications (because their work is cheaper), sitting with children, but not educating them.
Nurseries in the US also exist. But these are private commercial establishments, and the maintenance of a child in them can cost more than paying for a baby-sitter. In the manger and kindergartens with children play, (including in developing games), walk, feed them, put them to bed - in a word, provide care. But training as such begins only in the preparatory class (kindergarden) in schools.
Features of the education system
The education system
State educational system, as such, does not exist in America. Although schools are funded mainly at public expense, each state has a local elective council for education - it develops curricula and conducts school education. Uniform standards in the school education system do not exist - their quality often depends on the place of residence chosen by the family.
The content and volume of material that the student must comprehend (as, indeed, textbooks and other printed products intended for use in the classroom) are specified in schools by the teachers themselves. And here it remains to rely on the education, professional qualifications and responsibilities of the teacher.
Higher education is paid and quite expensive. In many families, fathers and mothers begin to save money for college even before their child - he or she - utters the first word. Many students provide themselves - work part time while studying or take a loan for training. So, at the end of college or university, they are expected not only with a diploma, but also a heavy burden of debts (there are educational loans).
The school year continues in the American school 170-186 days; children study 5 days a week. The duration of training sessions per day is 5-6 hours (from 8.30 to 15.30). The academic year, as a rule, is divided into semesters.
The US education system includes:
• pre-school institutions where children aged 3-5 years are raised;
• Primary school (grades 1-5), in which children aged 6-11 years are enrolled;
• Secondary school (grades 6-8), in which children aged 11-13 years are enrolled;
• High school (9-12 grades) in which children aged 14-17 are trained;
There are different types of secondary schools:
In a multi-disciplinary school, since the 9th grade, there are various departments (profiles). The most distributed of them are:
The academic profile provides an education sufficient for admission to the university.
At the beginning of the ninth year of study, all students are tested for the definition of the coefficient of mental endowment. If it turns out to be below 90, then it is inappropriate for students to study at the academic department, and they should choose a practical course. Professional profiles prepare the student for immediate practical work. So, on an industrial profile, half of the school time is assigned to work in school workshops or in a garage. The volume of general education on these profiles is significantly reduced. The department of general training, on the other hand, gives general knowledge, but in an amount insufficient for admission to the university, or for choosing a certain profession. Recently, it has been severely criticized.
Thus, after completing the middle school, the students actually have a completely different preparation.
In addition to state schools, the system of education includes a network of private and private schools, in which about 14 percent of all schoolchildren are enrolled. Chain schools are made up of religious organizations, and all the educational work in them is permeated with a religious spirit. It is also possible to learn at home.
Students of all types of schools (public, private, domestic) are subject to annual testing, starting from the 3rd grade up to the end. According to the results of the test, the work of the school and the board of education supervising it is assessed. These results are the main indicators in the contests for the best school in the state and the country, which ultimately determines the amount of funding for a particular school for subsequent years.
The American system of higher education is a three-tiered formation.
• The first stage is completed with a bachelor’s degree
• the second is the master (master’s)
• the third is the doctor’s degree, which is referred to here as the Latin term Philosophia Doctore (PhD).
The system of admission to the US college is simplified as much as possible. There are no admissions or entrance examinations. Admission to the college is based on the results of a special federal test for the intellectual abilities of graduates (SAT, Scholastic Aptitude Test) and the average grade score for the main subjects (something like the average score of the school certificate). The test is taken, usually in the 11th or at the very beginning of the 12th, the final grade of the school. And even after the end of the first half of the 12th grade - that is, even without waiting for graduation, the graduate sends out applications to the colleges of interest.
In addition to the test itself, the student writes an essay, which, as a compulsory supplement to SAT, is sent to the admissions offices of the colleges together with the test results. The essay is conceived as an analytical autobiography, which is designed to give an idea of the values and ideals of the entrant. However, essays are rarely critical - therefore, they do not find fault with content.
Each college has its own admission rules, which usually boil down to determining the minimum scores (both for the test for intellectual ability and the average score for the certificate) required for admission. The better the college (on the quality of training, on the contingent of trainees, on the qualifications of the faculty, etc.), the higher the minimum score.
The quality of the college is a very concrete and objective concept, it is determined by a number of significant indicators and criteria at the national level. And the primacy is determined not only at the level of colleges or universities, but also in specific disciplines, directions, research centers, etc.
It is believed that if the student is the best in the class, even if he is in a weaker school, he has the knowledge or skills are somewhat worse than someone else who has been in the best for learning conditions, his installation for success and the habit of being the best will contribute to his development and create a situation of the need for intellectual growth and progress. Another characteristic feature of the admission activity of colleges is to get as many sports-talented students as possible. University sports in the US are almost professional. All major colleges and universities have their own sports teams that participate in national competitions, protecting the honor not only of the university, but also of the state, and often of the whole region.
The college is called to a certain extent to overcome the limitations of school education and provide the basics of general cultural, humanitarian education that the school could not provide. Therefore, in the first two years of college, a student usually passes compulsory general education courses. Students choose their "core" specialization for the third year in the process of a general four-year course of study.
In the American colleges adopted a kind of system for attesting students to the quality of teaching. At the end of each semester, students evaluate the teacher and his course, anonymously answering the questionnaire on the course and its content, methods of teaching, its effectiveness, etc., formulated by the department or faculty, etc. The student is asked to assess the course and the activity of the teacher on a five-point system. These results are taken into account in the attestation of the teacher. They directly affect the career of the professor: it depends on them whether he will receive an indefinite contract, whether he will be promoted, etc. Sometimes this situation leads to distortions: when the teacher starts flirting with students or when students begin to demand high marks.
The absolute number of courses is taught in the form of lectures. Seminar as a form of training is almost non-existent.
For most students, college education ends with a bachelor’s degree. Only about fifteen to twenty percent of students continue their studies in the magistracy, and only five to seven percent of them go to graduate school, after which they are awarded a PhD, or doctor of science.
When preparing a master, the situation changes significantly: the number of students in the group decreases more than twice, and even in the absence of formal seminars, the teacher has the right to change the format of classes at his own discretion. The goals of this stage of training are to instill in students the skills of research work, to teach them to think analytically, creatively to solve the scientific problem. This is a special kind of training that students acquire, working in student laboratories, design and design bureaus, in the process of writing scientific reports and articles, ie, being involved in active research activities under the guidance of a professor acting as a mentor.
In the United States, there is only one degree, here called a doctoral degree. Essentially, it is the equivalent of our degree of candidate of science and is awarded at the end of the graduate school and the presentation of the thesis.
Principles of school education
When a child is 5 years old, he enters the preparatory class.
In public schools, instruction in it is free, as are all educational supplies-pens, pencils, markers, notebooks, plasticine.
Particular emphasis in the educational process is made on those techniques that excite interest and desire to participate - learning games, including moving, drawing and crafting, learning songs, poems, counters. It is considered important to develop children’s imagination and imagination. For this, babies can "compose" a book in pictures, and then tell the story to comrades and a tutor.
Under the supervision of the caregiver, the children take care of the plants, regularly water them, loosen the soil and share their achievements with the class. Kids can also watch the larvae of butterflies and grasshoppers, collect a collection of beautiful pebbles.
Schools regularly arrange costumed performances, matinees and skits, which are always invited to the audience as moms and dads.
As a rule, at the end of the school year at the solemn line the school principal personally thanks the specially distinguished volunteers from among the parents, handing them memorable badges and gifts.
Characteristic for primary school is the acquisition of classes according to students’ abilities. Toddlers who have just entered the class are divided into groups according to the results of the tests. Tests are a series of different tasks, which the child must perform for a certain period of time. After the definition of «IQ», groups A, B and C appear, "gifted", "normal" and "incapable" and the training is differentiated. With capable are conducted serious, intensive employment with enough high requirements for knowledge of pupils. These children are orientated to college already from the first years of schooling.
In the 8th grade, there is a system for selecting subjects.
Each compulsory subject is usually divided into smaller courses. This is especially true for large secondary schools, where the number of such small divisions can be 20-30 disciplines. To graduate from high school, it is enough for graduates to get credits for 16 academic courses during the last four years of study. Each such course consists of one lesson per day for 18 or 36 weeks.
The test is the most important link in the American system of education. The passing of the test is considered as the main goal of the learning process itself. Essentially, the entire training process is aimed at training the student for a test, for inculcating those skills, without which passing the test will be impossible. As a result, all unnecessary subjects (or they are taught in the minimum amount) are eliminated from the school program.
The inevitability of testing for a number of specific subjects stimulates the study of precisely these subjects, and only to the extent necessary for the delivery of the test.
The study essentially boils down to memorizing, memorizing some minimum of material in order to successfully pass the test. The rest of the material, including those that do not fall under the test, are on the periphery of the attention and efforts of the school.
Almost all tests in American schools and universities are conducted in writing. Oral examinations as such do not exist, and the first serious oral test for a young American is an interview when recruiting for a job at the end of college.
The current system of education leads to the fact that at the end of the school, children’s knowledge is fragmentary enough. They know something well, but there are lots of gaps and there is no system.
Principles of Education in School
American children love school.
The teacher is not an idol for worship - but rather a companion in teaching.
With the help of the system of school and family education, children try to instill a sense of independence and self-confidence, as well as the ability to express oneself. This ideal is instilled in children from the kindergarten - in the process of playing "show me - tell me!" Helping the child to gain self-confidence and self-esteem in a conversation with a teacher or teacher about what he likes most and what he has achieved himself. In this case, the emphasis is not on mechanical memorization, but on teaching children independence, instilling in them the ability to search, analyze and find a way out of this or that situation on their own.
The feeling of independence is brought up in a nutshell - at the time-honored traditions, as well as a sense of responsibility. Children from the age of six are taught to stay on a visit at night. Schools, public and private organizations give children the opportunity to go on a weekend trip and spend the summer in a rest camp. The highest sign of independence is its own "wheels". In many states, adolescents are allowed to drive from sixteen to seventeen years of age. Driving is considered a matter so serious that most American schools even introduced special driving courses.
Americans attach great importance to the education of patriotism. Even in the preparatory class, every day classes begin with a choral reading of the "pledge of allegiance", an oath of allegiance to the United States.
The approach of Americans to sexual education and gender issues is largely determined by the legacy of Puritan morality. The relevant course of study is included in the curricula of general education schools, but its attendance is optional, and the parents have the right to refuse that their child is present at such lessons. A lot of attention is paid to observance of external decencies. For example, even very young girls can not be seen on a public beach without swimsuits. And any elements of eroticism on public television channels and in advertising are completely tabooed.
Children are taught to be law-abiding citizens and to ensure that their comrades are also law-abiding. It is customary to inform and this is considered normal.
American children’s team is remarkable for its tolerance. Situations when children laugh or mock their peers are extremely uncharacteristic. (But if they do happen, it will not seem a bit .. Every year, there are tragedies in American schools).
The specifics of the structuring of the American school is also in the fact that both the class composition and the teacher assigned to the class change here every year. And this is not due to the fact that, due to the mobility of Americans, students migrate from school to school and from class to class. Before the beginning of each academic year, the school consciously reorganizes the classes to make them approximately the same both in terms of gender and race composition, and in terms of the level of preparation, knowledge, skills and behavior of students.
Traditions and holidays
4 July. The main American holiday marks the signing of the Declaration of Independence of the United States, held July 4, 1776. On this day, Americans amicably dressed in star-striped outfits and celebrate the birth of their nation. Any rag - from a T-shirt to a tablecloth - is full of red-white-blue colors. The homeland and friends, having gathered together, leave on family-friendly picnics with invariable barbecue under songs, dances and fireworks. Hot dogs, hamburgers, popcorn and apple pie - everything goes into your mouth, just have time to chew.
The eve of All Saints’ Day is 31 October . On this day, in the decent country houses, ghosts, skeletons, witches are set up and everything is cobwebby. Kids, teenagers, boys and girls dress up who in that much - who in bloodthirsty scared, who are the heroes of their favorite cartoons or movies. The mummers wander from house to house, playing "purse or life," and receive from the owners a ransom - sweets, and in return promise not to bother them with various pranks. Adults are also good: they do not miss the chance to have fun and realize their wild fantasies - they dress up in costumes and masks of different politicians and celebrities and, like children, ask mercy from all kinds of ghouls and ghosts.
Thanksgiving is the last Thursday of November. Thanksgiving feast has become a national tradition.
I think this small story will make the readers smile.
In Florida, Kat and Harland Barnard, the parents of 17-year-old Benjamin and 12-year-old Keith, went on strike because their children do not help them in the household. According to the 45-year-old C. Barnard, she and her 56-year-old husband tried all methods to make children behave as follows: posters of educational content, deprivation of pocket money, advice from a psychologist. The drop of the patience was that Benjamin did not offer his mother to help mow the grass on the lawn, although she had just been operated on. A week ago, parents installed a tent and several slogans in front of the house, one of which reads: "Parents are striking." They sleep on inflatable mattresses in a tent, eat a barbecue and go into the house only to bathe in the shower. Children live in the house, they eat what they prepare themselves from frozen semi-finished products. The opposition of fathers and children is monitored by local police, teachers and social workers. The local guards came about three times to the Barnard house, but did not try to intervene. 7-year-old Ben is not very satisfied with the strike and the press. However, his sister says that he understands his parents and intends to improve, the BBC reports.
I believe that this case is rather an exception than the rule, but rather well reflects the spirit of American upbringing and some of its excesses.
• TRAVEL / UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
• Education in American: from Puritanism to Legalized Freedom
• MYTHS AND REALITY OF AMERICAN EDUCATION
• EDUCATION SYSTEM IN THE USA
• National and Religious Traditions