By Jesse Hicks,2014-12-09 11:40
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American cultural



    American cultural

    1. The education of America

    Instruction part:

    America, as we all know, is one of the most developed countries in the world. We say it is developed, not only on the science and finance fields, but also on the education field. That is why so many students go to America for studying every year.

    However, why we say the education of America is the best all over the world? And what is the advantage when it compared with the education of China? Now let us search the American education system together.

    Different from China, under the United States constitution, the Federal government has no power to make laws in the field of education; each state is fully responsible within its own territory. The Federal government can give financial help but not orders. Each state has an educational administration, not subject to federal control, and the state authorities lay down general principles concerning the organization of schools and such matters as the ages of compulsory education.

    We can divide the progress of American education into three steps.

    secondary education and high education. Elementary education

    Elementary education:

    In the United States elementary education begins at the age of six. Classes of students are divided into twelve academic levels called grades. At elementary stage, nearly all the teachers are women, mostly married. The atmosphere is usually very friendly, and the teachers have for a long time now accepted the idea that the important thing is to make the children happy and interested. The old rigid and authoritarian methods of education were discredited in America rather a long time ago--- so much so that many people now think that they have gone too far in the direction of trying to make children happy and interested rather than giving them actual instruction. Secondary education:

    The students go to high school automatically after finishing their elementary school education. There is no entrance exam. The high schools, junior and senior, have a good reputation in the country. They take their responsibilities very seriously and not only in the classroom. They have guidance counselors to whom children can go privately if they have any special problems, especially about their careers.

    The high school student's day may be divided into nine periods: five for academic subjects, one session for physical education, a lunch period, and two study periods. The study periods may be used for visiting the library or participating in an extracurricular activity such as the school orchestra, newspaper staff, or math club. There are now some special high schools in America which train boys and girls for jobs - secretaries, mechanics, computer

    specialists, and accountants. Businessmen take an interest in such schools and encourage the teaching of salesmanship and business techniques. The fear of young people today is to grow up and find no job waiting for them. So they need no encouragement to work hard at school.

    High education:

    For a long time, America has led the world in higher, education, quantitatively at least. The aggregate number of U.S. institutions of higher education is, at last count, 3,280. This figure represents one institution for every 75,000 Americans. Slightly more than half of all institutions of higher education are privately supported many of them by religious groups.

    In American colleges and universities, a vast array of subjects is offered. The student can sample different fields of knowledge, but he usually majors in one field during last two years of college. If he wishes, he may obtain professional training at the undergraduate level, for example, in accounting, teaching, journalism, or dramatics. Certain state colleges specialize in training agricultural experts and engineers.

    Most importantly, they work intensively with students writing thesis or dissertations. Guiding master's and Ph. d. candidates through the final writing and examination stages of their programs may be seen as an extension of the teaching act; nevertheless, it takes up much faculty time. Here the faculty member becomes both critic and editor of manuscripts which maybe several hundred pages in length.

    Analysis and comment:

    Have said so much above, we can see that American education have lots differences between our Chinese educations.

    First, the Federal government has no power to make laws in the field of education, so they don’t have to think of the benefits of the government, what they should do is just teaching and tell students right from wrong. However in China, our schools are influenced by the government, so, the teacher have to tell us the positive things instead the fact about our government. Second, unlike China, there is no entrance exam before we go to the high school in American, so that the American children can enjoy their children hood and train the interests on every field. When we are busy on our exam, they are making their plan for the future!

    Now, I want to tell you a story about myself.

    Before coming to the university, I was a good student in my middle school’s teachers’ eyes for my diligent and enthusiasm. I listened to the teachers

    carefully and did my homework on time. a lot of people did it like me in my school, because we have the same dream---go to the good university. But I have no idea about which collage I want to go and which field I like to be in the future. I just went to the collage which has the highest mark. Now, I’m in grade

    two of university and I find I don’t like my major at all. In fact, I am interested in the other subject. What should I do and what can I do……

    Actually, I think we should have our plan of the future before we go to the

    university and we should have chance to touch every fields in our life to find out our best choice. At least, we should know what we like and what we don’t like. But we can’t do that. What we can do is to practice more and more for our exam.


    By saying so much above we can find that in the elementary education, the teacher try them best to make the children fell happy and make them interested in the things around them. In the secondary education the teachers’ main mission is to teach us how to make the plan of our future and tell us right from wrong. The high education is the haven for us to learn what we like and what we need actually.

    In America, schools don’t need to think of that the teacher’s idea effect the bad influence on the government, what they should thing about is tell students the true and make sure they can fly in their own field.

    2. Afro-American Music


    Although Afro-American music originated from Africa, it developed and hit in America. In American music circle, except country music and Rock &Roll, most types of American music originated from Afro-American music. Blues, as one type of Afro-American music, had a wide effect on the music circle, and it was based on the work song of black slaves. With the development of the society, Blues met various challenges, and then some new styles emerged, such as Jazz, which was famous even now. It gestated the later music form in America. There was no doubt that Blues and Jazz were the most important styles in music circle, and they had immeasurable impacts on international pop music. Spiritual song, which was the production of gospel, had inconceivable impression on people, and touched their heart and their soul. In the current international music circles, R&B and Hip-Hop were the undoubted mainstream, which were also the main styles of Afro-American music. Therefore, Afro-American music was always the core of American music, and also the leading fashionable factor, which dominated the international pop music.

The Popular Afro-American Music

    By the early 1900s, Blues, which was influenced by African American spirituals, ballads, and work songs, had emerged as a category separate from folk. Because of sufferings from the oppression of the while people, the original style of Afro-American music was full of grief and plaintiveness, which was the keynote of Blues.

    Blues belonged to the folk music of the black people, which came from the south of America, especially the Mississippi Delta. Now, nobody knows the exact time of its forming, but generally this kind of grieved melody followed the first group of black slaves to the new land. In the beginning, the slaves who lived in the south just got the inspiration from their African ancestors, and got

the themes of Blues from their everyday life. Although it’s always so dolorous

    that it could moved everyone, the slaves just took it as one of the methods to express their feelings in the heart, but not as the way to get others’ sympathy. It was owing to this kind of attitude and purpose that Blues had such a strong vitality.

    The Essence of Afro-American Music

    During the history of struggles of Afro-Americans, they dreamed to get a better prospect under new circumstances and with the social progress, but were disappointed with social reality. They got rid of oppression of planters, but suffered the exploitation by capitalists once again. They got less improvement in their living condition and status. They were always the grass root in America. They could not afford the entertainments of the mainstream society, so they created their own ways to enjoy themselves. In that way, Blues, Jazz, Rap & Hip-Hop emerged. These pop styles of music reflected the feelings and desires. Afro-Americans took themselves as one composition of American society, they wanted more equal rights and respect; they desired to get identity by the white people; they expected to make improvements in their lives. They still struggled for what they desire. Just like Martin Luther King, Jr. claimed that they have a dreamdream to be treated fairly. Although Afro-American music suffered exclusion and suppression initially, their emotional style and free spirit became the power of the popularity of Afro-American music, which was just the soul of Afro-American culture. Because of its unique charm, Afro-American music entered the mainstream society, and got identified. The Afro-American culture spread its influence by the popularity of its music. As a matter of fact, the culture reflected incompatible consciousness of Afro-Americans. There was a double-consciousness for them: they were Black people, but most important they were Americans. So they wanted to get self-identify from the society, and their culture gave the way to fulfill it. Therefore, on one side, Afro-American culture put emphasizes on Blackness; they pursued the independence of their culture by esteeming the soul and tradition of the culture of the black people; on the other side, they absorbed more meaningful elements from the mainstream. In a word, Afro-American culture was not a pure African culture, but the blending of Black people’s culture and American culture under the new circumstances, which was root of the popularity of Afro-American culture and its charm.


    Afro-American people had inherent talent to sing and dance, just as their ancestors in Africa, and they used verbal or the oral tradition to convey their history. Back in the days when slaves were sailed to the new land, they were far away from their hometown, and they were not allowed to use their own languages. The pitiful slaves were cut from their roots; accordingly music and dance became the only links with Africa and their native culture. They integrated their own traditional culture with the culture in this new land, and developed a new culture Afro-American culture, which contributed to the

    uniqueness of Afro-American culture. During those bitter times, black slaves used music and dance as ways of entertainment and outlets of their feelings. But later, they got freedom, so a great deal of black people crowed into northern cities to find jobs. Their new lives were still hard and bitter, and music and dance remained the only vent for them to express their dissatisfied feelings and sadness. Later, some talented black people even took music and dance as their profession, and music and dance became commercial tools from the individual amusements.

    In fact, Afro-Americans were congenital musicians. Their music, no matter in the dolorous tone, or in the bright and intense tone, could always touch the audience’ soul, and get responses. The lyrics, especially for R&B, Rap and Hip-Hop music, are very sharp with black people’s slang, reflecting the issues about racialism, violence, sexy corruption directly. Afro-American music was characterized by this kind of direct vent of feelings, which could touch the audience deeply by its special expression. As for Afro-American dance, undoubtedly, Hip-Hop was the most popular style, and the reason why it got such furious reflection by the youth was that exciting and tough body languages could help them convey their feelings as much as they liked. As a matter of fact, it was admitted that African elements, especially the elements of music and dance, made a great contribution to the popularity of Afro-American culture. Initially, any form of Afro-American culture emerged as the non-mainstream culture, and was discriminated by mainstream, and suffered repulsion by white artists. However, very soon it stepped into the mainstream, and became the hottest art style. Certainly, it was impacted by other mainstream cultures, and changed a little bit in order to go with times. In fact, from the growth of Afro-American culture, especially Afro-American music in the new soil emerged a new people who had a confliction on self-identity, and who are not only black people from Africa, but also Americans growing up with this new nation. In this sense, Afro-American music, as the soul of Afro-American culture, met its destiny successfully.

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