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2022-09-14 20:00:50

How American schoolchildren differ from students around the world

How American schoolchildren differ from students around the world

The secondary education system of the United States of America in the form in which we see it now appeared at the beginning of the twentieth century. This era went down in the history of the country as the period of the Great Depression. To overcome the crisis and prevent its recurrence in the future, the government of the country carried out a school reform, according to which students now had to finish not 8 classes, but 12: so young Americans would not compete with adult citizens of the country, and they did not lose their jobs.


Now the system by which schoolchildren of the United States are taught is a unique model and has a number of characteristic features that distinguish it from the rest of the school programs in the world.

Zero class from 5 years

When a child turns 5 in the States, parents send him to the zero class so that he prepares for the main program and gets used to the new environment. In some schools in America, there are even such classes where the enrollment of children goes from 3 or 4 years.

While children are in school, they change several institutions where they are trained – junior, middle and high schools are separate structures.

Oath of Allegiance before the American Flag

The school day in schools in the United States of America begins with students saying an oath of allegiance to the country's flag when a signal is heard in the speakers. The procedure in each of the states may differ from each other - in Texas, for example, they pronounce an oath of allegiance and the Texas flag. In Missouri, the oath-taking procedure is held once a week, and mississippi students swear by only once a month.

No change

Middle and high school students in America don't have classic breaks — they only have a couple of minutes between classes to move from one classroom to another. Elementary school students are in the same office all day, so they have no changes at all. The only exception is a big lunch break, when all the students can have a snack or go to the cafeteria.

Teachers' address to children only by name

Students can study with their classmates for several years and not know their last names, since teachers are required to call children only by name. If there are several children with the same name in the class, the teacher will add the first letter of the last name to the name, and Michael K., Michael S., and Michael B. will be in the classroom.

The opportunity to stop studying at the age of 16

Nearly 7% of American teens decide to drop out of school when they turn 16. Every year, about 6 million U.S. children drop out of school and do not receive a certificate, because in the country the presence of completed secondary education is not mandatory.

Beginning of studies in the summer

Each state of the country has its own regulations, according to which the school year in schools begins in due time. The main requirement is that the number of training days be at least 180 per year. In some states, school begins in mid-July, in others - in mid or late August. 

Independent choice of school subjects

When a student goes to secondary school, his compulsory school curriculum includes 5 subjects: physical education, social sciences, English, mathematics, natural science. The right to choose the remaining subjects remains with the student, who can start from his interests and preferences. The student can choose to study biology, chemistry and physics, will receive his own schedule and will go to classes.

Teach to write with a pencil

In the first 2 years, children do not learn to write in words and do not go to writing lessons - they use the printed alphabet, which is written in pencil. Psychologists have come up with a way of learning so that the child does not experience unnecessary stress because he will not be able to correct his mistake if he allows it. Children receive pens only in the 3rd grade, but teachers do not have the right to scold a student for sloppy handwriting.

In 2012, some American schools completely abandoned the idea of teaching children to write by hand: lessons of clean writing were replaced by lessons of typing texts using the keyboard. True, world psychologists and development specialists do not approve of this practice - fine motor skills will always come in handy.

Serious sports

Every school in America forms its own sports teams in popular disciplines. Schools participate in tournaments and find out which educational institution has the best team in a particular sport. To get into the school team, you need to have good physical indicators, get good grades in other subjects. The most popular destinations in US schools are baseball, American football and basketball.

Opportunity to study at home

Distance learning is very popular in the country, and it appeared long before the coronavirus pandemic. Statistics show that about 2 million children in America are educated from home. Subjects are taught by visiting teachers or parents themselves, and children occasionally go to school to take exams.  

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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