Teachers in China and Canada Free Essay

Comparative Analysis Where Teachers Get the Most Respect in China and Canada


Educators play an important part not only in the field of education, where they do their job and teach students, but also in society because teachers play an important social as well as economic part. To put it more precisely, teachers perform an important social role as they teach students from the early childhood to the end of their professional education and create the framework on the ground of which people develop their worldview and their professional skills. The development of professional education makes educators important for the economy of the nation as well. At the same time, in spite of a considerable contribution educators make to society, its cultural and economic development, the attitude to educators differs consistently in different countries. At this point, it is possible to refer to the case of China and Canada. China and Canada are two absolutely different countries with different culture and mentality. The attitude to teachers, the respect of teachers and the self-perception of educators and their role in society also vary in China and Canada substantially. The current study focuses on the analysis of the attitude of people to educators in China and Canada to find out where teachers are the most respected in China or Canada. Taking into consideration cultural differences and specificities of China and Canada, the current study holds the assumption that teachers are likely to get more respect in China rather than Canada due to the traditional respect to the authority and individuals who own knowledge and teach others in Chinese culture, while the attitude and respect of Canadians to teachers is grounded on more democratic and liberal principles.

Attitude of students to teachers

Historically, students in China manifested their respect to educators. The open manifestation of respect to the teacher was a part of Chinese culture and Chinese students traditionally view the expression of their respect to their teachers as their duty as students. The greater respect of Chinese students to their teachers compared to Canadian students may be easily traced in the way students in China and Canada refer to their teachers and how they call them. Most occupational titles can be used as address terms in Chinese but not necessarily in the same manner as in English, the most typical example being laoshi ‘teacher’ (Xiaoqiong & Siqi, 2017). How to address teachers in English has aroused great interest among researchers, many of whom think it unacceptable to use teacher as an address term. However, the authors of this paper supported by a survey, argue that teacher is a more culturally and contextually appropriate address term than the Western way of title + surname/Sir or Miss/given name, as it better represents the Chinese sense of respect and politeness (Xiaoqiong & Siqi, 2017). In such a way, the more respectful reference and title Chinese students use in relation to their teachers reveal the greater respect of teaches among Chinese students compared to Canadian students. The latter stand on a more equal ground with educators. At this point it is also worth mentioning the fact that Canadian students admit and are often encouraged to discuss and dispute questionable topics and issues with educators. In contrast, Chinese students view their teachers as the highest authority and they do not challenge the position and ideas of their teachers. Instead, they would rather accept and take ideas and the position of their teachers for granted than dispute with them to find out whether their point of view is possible and right as may and often do Canadian students.

In China, students manifest the respect to educators and view them as the high authority. This is the distinct feature of Chinese culture and the attitude of Chinese students to their educators. Chinese students do not stand on the equal ground with educators and do not admit the possibility of manifesting any sort of disrespect to teachers. On the contrary, they rather tend to manifest their respect to teachers over and over again and they rather recognize their own inferiority than fail to show their respect to their teacher. Such attitude of students to teachers is probably a result of Chinese culture which respects the authority and emphasizes the strict subordination that results to students’ obedience and subordination to their educators, while educators have the formal authority which students are expected to and have to respect and so they do.

In Canada, students view educators as professionals trained to develop target skills and develop the target knowledge in students. Canadian students manifest their respect to educators but their respect is the respect to professionals, who help them to obtain knowledge and develop their skills to reach their professional goals or to reach other goals students have set for themselves. Canadian students are not ready to take everything they learn from educators for granted out of sheer respect or cultural traditions as do Chinese students. Instead, if they disagree or believe their point of view is worth disputing, they may dispute their ideas with educators and discussions between educators and students are absolutely normal in Canada but not acceptable in China.

Attitude of educators to their work

Educators in Canada have a different attitude to their work and they often believe their work as an opportunity for the development of their professional ideas as well as personal experiments. This is why educators often go to work abroad. At this point, it is possible to refer to the study conducted by Strong (2011), who explored reasons why teachers from Ontario, Canada, move abroad to work there. The study has revealed the fact that the decision to leave Ontario and teach outside Canada was the result of a combination of several factors (Strong, 2001). The study concluded that the most influential factors in this decision included altruistic motives, interpersonal influence and financial and circumstantial reasons (Strong, 2001). In such a way, Canadian educators do not view their work as a great career path, where the level of income or material benefits plays the key part. Instead, they view their work as socially important one and they are more altruistic in their attitude to work and teaching compared to Chinese teachers. Canadian educators consider their work as a socially responsible act and they rather look for usefulness of their work than for material benefits from their work.

Chinese educators view their work as a socially important task too but they also view their work as great career opportunity. Educators in China have good career opportunities and view the work in the field of teaching as a good career path. This means that Chinese educators do not merely view their work as a socially important job but they also view their work as an opportunity to obtain the high income and to elevate their social status. In other words, teaching is a great material opportunity for them to improve their wellbeing and to gain not only respect but also high level of income. In addition, the respect Chinese educators feel encourages them to reach greater success in their career to get even more respect. Chinese educators reach a considerable success and public approval as they keep working in the field of education. Therefore, education is the field, where they can make a successful career which brings them public respect and income.

Educators in Canada rely on their contracts and view their job as a public service. Canadian educators still view their job as a good career path, but they are less concerned with material aspects of their work because it brings less respect in Canada compared to China. This is why this career is not so attractive in material terms for Canadian educators. Educators in Canada focus on developing their career in the field of the higher education rather than at the school level. The higher education brings them greater respect and income. In contrast, Chinese educators feel respect at any level of their work because students and public always manifest their respect to teachers. Canadian educators are interested in their professional development and prefer to try new experience and work abroad but not only in Canada, while Chinese educators work in a more homogeneous environment and are more likely to work within the traditional cultural framework.

Teachers in the national culture and public perception

Teachers in China are highly respected by the public. The traditional Chinese culture focuses on the respect to teachers because teachers are traditionally perceived as the authority. The authority is a very importance concept and essential condition of respect in the traditional Chinese culture. This is why the public traditionally respects teachers. Moreover, education plays an important part in the life of Chinese people today, when knowledge is the key for their professional success that opens great career opportunities. Opportunities educators open for Chinese people increase their respect to educators which people manifest openly. Moreover, Chinese cultural traditions are enhanced by the law which encourages people to respect teachers.

laws concerning teachers and education:

Article 4: The entire society should show concern for and give support to the development of educational undertakings. The entire society should respect teachers.

Article 33: The State protects the lawful rights and interests of teachers, improves their working and living conditions and enhances their social status.

The overall public attitude to educators in China is positive because teachers are associated with the authority and success which education may bring to Chinese people.  In a way, Canadian teachers are similar to Chinese one due to the public respect toward them. Teachers in Canada have a positive public image although it is lower compared to China. One of the studies shows that teachers in Canada are rather associated with nurses and social workers than with doctors as is the case of China (Garet, Porter, Desimone, Birman, & Yoon, 2001)). At the same time, the government tends to support educators and develops contractual relations to stimulate educators to stay in the field of education. The government offered attractive contracts to educators to stimulate them to develop their career in the field of education. Eastern Ontario is just the beginning. The Upper Canada District School Board has shown with this contract that it recognizes the valuable contribution that these hard working professionals bring to education in Ontario, every day that they are called to work. This agreement includes many of the key working conditions that ETFO is seeking for all public elementary occasional teachers across Ontario (Walsh & Brigham, 2007). Educators in Canada are more accustomed to diversity as they work in diverse and often multicultural environment. At this point, it is possible to refer to the case of Saskatchewan. The population of Canadian Province of Saskatchewan is on the rise, bringing with it increasing diversity of its students and teachers (Oloo, 2012).


Thus, teachers in China get more respect than get their colleagues in Canada but the difference is rather the result of the different cultural background and more authoritarian and hierarchical societal structure of Chinese culture compared to more democratic and liberal Canadian culture. Chinese students manifest more respect to their educators compared to Canadian students but their respect rather intends to show publicly their attitude to their educators. They are expected to show their respect to educators that often leads to their blind acceptance of ideas and position of their educators. In contrast, Canadian students are more critical in their perception of teachers because they are accustomed to treat them on the equal ground rather than the highest authority, whose ideas are undisputable. The respectful attitude of students along with the public respect in relation to educators encourages Chinese teachers to focus on their career and they view their career as the prospective and attractive path for their career development. In contrast, Canadian educators are less optimistic about their career and they prefer to focus on the higher education as the most prospective area for their career path. At the same time, Canadian teachers are more accustomed to work in the culturally diverse environment and often prefer to teach abroad to have new experience and probably to get more respect as teachers. Finally, the difference in the public perception of educators between China and Canada is also quite substantial. Chinese culture and public perceives educators in a highly respectful way to the extent that the respect of educators is encouraged by Chinese legislation. Instead, Canadian public manifest respect to educators but views them at the lower level compared to Chinese public, although the government also tends to support educators and to stimulate their work in the field of education.


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Strong, E. C. (2001). Ontario teachers’ reasons for choosing to teach outside Canada (Order No. MQ64731). Available from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses Global. (304773052). Retrieved from http://molloy.idm.oclc.org/login?url=https://search-proquest-com.molloy.idm.oclc.org/docview/304773052?accountid=28076

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"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

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"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

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"The terms offer and acceptance." freeessays.club, 17 May 2016

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