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.
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.
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.
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.
Look at the innovators of today.
Immigrants from Asian countries tend to be from well-off educated families
This idea that "orientals tend to do exceptionally well" is mythology
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. 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, 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.
And it follows that since the orientals tend to do exceptionally well in America then they must be Emotionally intelligent....