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  • Writer's pictureDavid Guan

Bridging the Gap between Eastern and Western Academic Methodology in K-12 Learning

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

I am an STEM educator with 10+ years of experience. I have a unique background having extensive experience teaching courses ranging from post-secondary chemistry to working with students in the K-12 learning system. Outside of classroom teaching, I have spent time working on the management side of after-school teaching agencies in British Columbia. My role involved overseeing teaching teams, developing curriculum, as well as acting as a liaison between the families and instructional staff. In the last few years, I have had the opportunity to work closely with students and families originating from the Asia-Pacific Region. Another significant part of my experience involves helping newcomers navigate the educational system for their children. Immigration can be a challenging experience! The role of my office was to help explain the North American educational system to newcomers and allow them to make informed choices for the educational opportunities for their children.

There are some significant differences, summarized below, between the teaching methodology utilized in Asian countries compared to those seen in North America.

Aspect of Teaching


North America

Teaching Style

Emphasis on lecture-style teaching, with a focus on memorization and repetition

Emphasis on interactive teaching, with a focus on critical thinking and student participation

Classroom Dynamics

Hierarchical, with the teacher in a position of authority and students expected to be respectful and obedient

Collaborative, with the teacher and students working together as equals

Parental Involvement

High level of parental involvement and expectation for academic success

Generally supportive of education but more freedom is given to the children

Testing and Evaluation

Emphasis on high-stakes testing and a competitive academic environment

Emphasis on a more holistic approach to evaluation, with a focus on project-based assessments and individual student growth


Emphasis on core academic subjects, such as math and science, with a narrow focus on specific topics

Broader focus of curriculum with more emphasis on the individual and their own interest. Extra-curriculars are also much more encouraged.

EIM Project kits can bridge some of these gaps! The strengths of these project kits include:

· Students can learn about foundational skills in important STEM subjects while also developing critical thinking and experiential learning ability needed in North America

· Learning outcomes of the kits can provide a good challenge for students helping them develop skills faster than they would at their school.

· Computational and hands-on skills gained will assist students to outperform peers and score well in STEM-related testing

· Parents can be involved & learn together with their children!

· I encourage you to check out some of these learning materials today!

Any thoughts, comments, suggestions, or just pictures of the projects being built would be much appreciated! I would love to receive them at

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