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Why Chinese Mothers are Superior

 
 
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2011 06:05 pm
@sozobe,
Some of the comments following that piece are really good.

Like this one:
Quote:

I teach mathematics at a big ten institution and I routinely deal with students from different educational backgrounds. I don't really want to generalize but you are onto something when you say that the supposedly Asian style of parental pushing does not necessarily produce the best or most creative students. For thirty years I have had students from Asian backgrounds and the Asian style of competitive preparation in my classes. I did my first post-doc in math in Japan (Nagoya University) and I taught short courses in Seoul so I am sensitive to lots of things most people don't notice. In my experience students trained in this way just don't do well at all when they finally reach a meaningful intellectual challenge. I've seen it year in and year out. A student accustomed to excelling through mastery of formulaic structures just crumbles in the face of a serious intellectual challenge. A situation where the material is hard enough so that success can't be guaranteed just totally destroys these students. I haven't seen this phenomenon observed or studied by anyone and it is so central to this whole discussion. The relatively small number of American students who are driven by interest and passion for the subject (I see a lot of Russian students in this group) outdo all the competitive exam takers by an immensely wide margin. If anyone ever studied intellectual achievement in a truly serious way what they found would just totally blow away all the silly simplicities that have come to dominate public discourse on this issue.


ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2011 06:16 pm
@talk72000,
Whatever. The major successful woman I mentioned in Los Angeles was from Hong Kong. I don't even now think of her as some automaton.

As an aside, these are the people who had to go through a quite long pre city meeting with some religious admonition and prayers to christ. It was hard for me. To be me might f/u the procedure for our clients. We let the lambs lie.

I would have been all over that the next day but at the time I was dealing with eye issues.
She and I liked each other as women. We never managed to talk about that city meeting, our project passed muster and I worked with the firm for some years; in the past we did edge into real talking. Yes, I know, both of us were working our talking, but not always at the forefront.
0 Replies
 
Ceili
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2011 06:33 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:

David Brooks had a good point here I think:

Quote:
Where do they learn to construct and manipulate metaphors?


Many of the ESL question are about this exactly. I'm sometimes surprised at the words/metaphors/ideas our chinese visitors get stuck on. And yet, the material they are reading is far too advanced for me to understand at times.


hawkeye10
 
  2  
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2011 06:51 pm
There are two main themes in this piece, one is the utter failure of American education, and the other is Western delusions of grandeur and intolerance of any other way to conduct human life other than what we have decided is best. Western morality and values are increasingly indoctrinated into the children as the education system has failed, so when someone points out a different way it comes as a shock to us that we might need to take them seriously.

It however would be hopelessly optimistic of me to think that America, even in the face of such obvious failure at how we raise kids now, would consider the Chinese way.

And China will continue to kick our ass six ways to Sunday.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  2  
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2011 06:52 pm
@sozobe,
sozobe wrote:
Practicing a piece of music for four hours requires focused attention, but it is nowhere near as cognitively demanding as a sleepover with 14-year-old girls.


Dunno if I'd agree it's cognitively demanding, but I'd definitely agree that the sleepover teaches a more worthwhile lesson. Emotional intelligence is a greater predictor of success in life than almost anything else.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2011 06:54 pm
@Ceili,
Almost all language students have more difficulty with metaphors and phrasal verbs. I don't think it's related to their culture so much as metaphors being a higher level of reading comprehension than literal texts for the most part. What a preposition can do to a verb in English is really a remarkable thing.

But I do agree with a larger point about much less aptitude for creativity and linguistic expression in general. I just think that no matter what the culture our ESL folks would mainly be stuck on that kind of thing, they are fluent enough to where they are grappling with the intricacies of fluency and metaphors are a big part of that.
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2011 07:04 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Quote:
Emotional intelligence is a greater predictor of success in life than almost anything else.
And it follows that since the orientals tend to do exceptionally well in America then they must be Emotionally intelligent, therefor defeating the claim that their success at the skill-sets that the Chinese highlight comes at the expense of emotional intelligence.

Brook's argument is an obvious attempt to keep the spirits up in spite of the facts.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2011 07:07 pm
@hawkeye10,
the orientals do exceptionally well..

really, hawk, you have a sliver view.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2011 07:46 pm
@Robert Gentel,
I agree about "cognitively demanding," (whether one activity is more demanding than the other) I think that's hard to measure.

The main thing I agree with is what you say, that there is a lot of valuable information conveyed in a sleepover, and to outlaw that is to really shortchange the kids. (She has backed away from that position.)
0 Replies
 
ehBeth
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2011 08:08 pm
@sozobe,
It's clear Brooks didn't read the book before he wrote his opinion piece. He's clearly based his piece on the excerpt that was in the WSJ.

I'd be disappointed if I'd expected more..
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2011 08:14 pm
@hawkeye10,
Quote:
And it follows that since the orientals tend to do exceptionally well in America then they must be Emotionally intelligent, therefor defeating the claim that their success at the skill-sets that the Chinese highlight comes at the expense of emotional intelligence.


I think this claim, that "orientals tend to do exceptionally well", is false. Like many stereotypes, it seems to be accepted as "truth" even though it may not be supported by facts.

Look at the innovators of today. There is Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Dean Kamen. Richard Hamilton is perhaps the best US mathematician. Americans of Asian descent are producing no more than their fair share of innovation in the areas of mathematics and science and technology.

Immigrants from Asian countries tend to be from well-off educated families as it is much more difficult for poor people to make the trip from Asia. I don't think by any measure of success they are better then any other similar immigrant groups.

This idea that "orientals tend to do exceptionally well" is mythology.

sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2011 08:55 pm
@ehBeth,
Yeah, I had the same thought, though he says at the end that he liked the book.

Either way, I think that point is a good one. More generally, that we can't put learning into neat little boxes. Even just lounging around being bored can be an important learning experience. (How to deal with boredom, what effects the various "cures" for boredom have, the effects of letting your mind wander [especially in terms of creativity and making connections], etc., etc.)
0 Replies
 
hawkeye10
 
  1  
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2011 10:06 pm
@maxdancona,
Quote:
Look at the innovators of today.
For every useful innovator we need 99 people who can grind out the science, technology, teaching, manufacturing, logistics and so and and so on....even if the Asians are not great innovators it would not matter hardly at all unless a society is made up of mostly Asians. And I see no evidence that they are not...the Japanese during the post war boom all the way through the 70's were spectacularly innovative, and I don't hear much claiming any more that the Chinese cant innovate. Asians in America CHOOSE to not apply their abilities in innovation because of a tendency to be introvert which does not go down well here, historical and latent racism which makes them not want to take chances and to self segregate, but to read that as proof that something in Asian cultured interferes with innovation is to completely misunderstand the situation.

Quote:
Immigrants from Asian countries tend to be from well-off educated families
Certainly not true for the last 20 years of Chinese, nor the Koreans ever.

Quote:
This idea that "orientals tend to do exceptionally well" is mythology
So I keep hearing. I have read multiple arguments for this assertion, and they are not all claiming the same evidence, but none of them do it for me. All of the arguments are flawed, and none of them touch my life experience in the schools and the job with Asians, where I have watched the Asians generally do very well.
maxdancona
 
  2  
Reply Tue 18 Jan, 2011 10:49 pm
@hawkeye10,
I am not sure if you are getting my argument.

I am saying that Asians are human beings. They are just like the rest of us, neither subhuman, nor superhuman. They are just human. I am highly skeptical of the mythology that they possess some extraordinary genetic or cultural trait to raise them above all others.

And I don't think you got my point about immigrants, there is a big difference between migrant workers, and educated immigrants. Migrant workers have many more barriers to education and middle class lifestyle. But this is also true with non-immigrants. Among Americans the biggest indicator of educational success (including test scores) is parental income.

The main point is that there are far fewer differences between people, and races of people, then you are implying.

In spite of all of the hand-wringing over the past 100 years or so, Americans have continued, and still continue, to make our mark in mathematics, science and technology. This is not to take away from the accomplishments of the Japanese or whatever other nation you might bring up. After all, they are just as human as we are.






0 Replies
 
Mame
 
  0  
Reply Wed 19 Jan, 2011 07:53 am
I knew someone who went on a 27 day tour of China, all over the country. In every hotel he stayed in, rooms were designated out of order when the toilet didn't work. They didn't know how to fix them, and that's pretty simple plumbing. The elevators were Russian-made and installed, and when they stopped working, they were out of order, too, and everyone used the stairs.
0 Replies
 
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Jan, 2011 09:47 am
@boomerang,
By the way that part has been studied, re: intrinsic motivation and extrinsic motivation.

Basically, if you do something because you find it interesting, you learn much better than if you do something because you'll be punished (or even rewarded) in some way if you don't.

Wikipedia:

Quote:

Intrinsic motivation refers to motivation that is driven by an interest or enjoyment in the task itself, and exists within the individual rather than relying on any external pressure.[2] Intrinsic motivation has been studied by social and educational psychologists since the early 1970s. Research has found that it is usually associated with high educational achievement and enjoyment by students. Explanations of intrinsic motivation have been given in the context of Fritz Heider's attribution theory, Bandura's work on self-efficacy,[3] and Deci and Ryan's cognitive evaluation theory (see self-determination theory).

Students are likely to be intrinsically motivated if they:

attribute their educational results to internal factors that they can control (e.g. the amount of effort they put in),

believe they can be effective agents in reaching desired goals (i.e. the results are not determined by luck),

are interested in mastering a topic, rather than just rote-learning to achieve good grades.

See also Intrinsic motivation and the 16 basic desires theory below.

Extrinsic motivation comes from outside of the individual. Common extrinsic motivations are rewards like money and grades, coercion and threat of punishment. Competition is in general extrinsic because it encourages the performer to win and beat others, not to enjoy the intrinsic rewards of the activity. A crowd cheering on the individual and trophies are also extrinsic incentives.

Social psychological research has indicated that extrinsic rewards can lead to overjustification and a subsequent reduction in intrinsic motivation. In one study demonstrating this effect, children who expected to be (and were) rewarded with a ribbon and a gold star for drawing pictures spent less time playing with the drawing materials in subsequent observations than children who were assigned to an unexpected reward condition and to children who received no extrinsic reward.[4]


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motivation#Intrinsic_and_extrinsic_motivation
boomerang
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 Jan, 2011 10:44 am
@sozobe,
I've read studies on it. I think any of us who has ever been a boss or a parent sees it in action every day.

I remember attending a business seminar 15+ years ago where the main presenter talked about how people will worker harder to play than they will work for pay.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Wed 19 Jan, 2011 10:46 am
Damn, am I the only one who thinks that the 'Chinese Mother' stereotype presented in the article is perfectly and totally horrible?

Cycloptichorn
boomerang
 
  2  
Reply Wed 19 Jan, 2011 10:48 am
@Cycloptichorn,
No.

I think it's horrible too.
0 Replies
 
Robert Gentel
 
  3  
Reply Wed 19 Jan, 2011 01:06 pm
@hawkeye10,
hawkeye10 wrote:
And it follows that since the orientals tend to do exceptionally well in America then they must be Emotionally intelligent....


No, it doesn't. This is illogic.
0 Replies
 
 

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