We all want badly to see our children succeed in this life. Be it at school – academically or playing sports, – or when they are living on their own and striving for success in a big life around them.
Success is often seen and interpreted as magic that suddenly appears in front of the lucky ones. The missing link in this interpretation is that the lucky one has to prepare herself for the circumstances at which it would be possible to reveal this “magic” called success.
I love a new book by Cornelius Grove, Ed. D., who specifically wrote his findings and shared his thoughts on HOW-TO raise children who will be successful in life and in any circumstances.
Check out this eye-opening manuscript THE DRIVE TO LEARN and some brilliant excerpts from the book.
Today, Dr. Cornelius Grove shares from his teaching experiences and personal research about HOW-TO partner with your child to attain those moments of magic called success.
If you’re like countless other parents of pre-school and primary school children, one of your big concerns is how well your youngster is going to learn and retain the all-important STEM and other career-enhancing classroom subjects.
There’s abundant evidence that American students aren’t learning those subjects well enough. Employers can’t find enough graduates who are able to perform jobs requiring thought. The international comparative tests reveal our students to have learned less than students in many other nations. And our own National Assessment of Educational Progress reports appallingly low percentages of students who attain “proficiency” – which isn’t even that test’s top level of achievement!
But you’re not concerned about American students in general. You’re concerned about your child. What combination of factors insures superior classroom learning?
A Question That’s Half a Century Old
During the late 1960s, researchers who specialize in children’s learning noticed that, on those international tests, East Asian students always scored at or near the top, while American students always placed near the middle or below. This was perplexing: American teachers increasingly were using modern “progressive” methods; East Asian teachers were not. The researchers investigated.
But here’s the thing: They didn’t ask questions only about schools. They asked questions about everything that might affect students’ classroom learning.
The first researchers, based in Hong Kong, gradually were joined by others from many nations. By 2010, over 500 published studies had yielded a trove of findings with insights into why East Asian students always learn more than Americans.
Because of this mountain of research findings, a great deal is known about the factors that contribute to East Asians’ stellar classroom performance. Boiled down to essentials, it provides applicable “how-to” lessons for us.
The Basic Finding: It’s the Students
In the classrooms of China, Japan, and Korea, many things are done differently from our ways here. But the research reveals that the biggest difference of all is in the students themselves. And it’s not about their being smarter. Every attempt to discover whether East Asians are born with superior intelligence has come up empty-handed.
The image emerging from those studies is of pupils who come to class highly receptive to classroom learning. They…
• feel deeply committed to learning in school;
• expect to work persistently in order to learn well;
• know how to participate in the process of classroom learning.
The meaning of “receptive to learning” exceeds Americans’ usual concerns, such as that each child is well nourished, has finished his homework, and is ignoring his mobile phone. Those are important. But what distinguishes East Asian children is that most come to class with a passion for learning from teachers and textbooks.
It’s their passion that makes the difference.
Passion for Learning: A Cultural Characteristic
East Asians’ passion for learning comes from their history and culture. For thousands of years, children were expected to contribute to subsistence farming activities. They needed to fit into their family’s ways of life, figuring out how by constantly paying attention to elders with practical experience: parents, aunts and uncles, older siblings.
In China, scholars arose who developed a rich literature. It came to be believed that the path to personal and family virtue involved intense study of these “classics.” A family’s quest for respect increasingly included its children’s mastery of written knowledge. Family virtue depended on each child’s constantly paying attention to elders with academic knowledge: teachers!
Responsibility for a Child’s Learning: Teachers or Parents?
Because mastery of written knowledge was the passionate goal of each family, parents didn’t assume that their child’s teachers were responsible for their child’s learning. Teachers’ responsibility was to effectively transmit knowledge to students.
Responsibility for the child’s mastery of that knowledge remained with his parents. They insured their child mastered it by supervising his use of time, studying alongside him, and devising extra assignments. A child studied long and hard because his academic success was his family’s passionately shared top priority.
A Child’s Ability to Learn: Aptitude or Effort?
The fact that children are born with inherent strengths and weaknesses didn’t concern parents. Their family’s focus on mastery learning put a premium on each child’s effort. If a child lacked aptitude for a subject, he would compensate by studying harder.
When tests revealed that a child had learned poorly, his parents didn’t bolster his self-esteem. Instead, they diagnosed what the child hadn’t understood, then insured via extra practice that that error wouldn’t be repeated.
The East Asian Prescription: Parent as Partner
Did you wonder why “Partner” was included in this article’s title? It’s an apt word for how East Asian parents interact with their youngsters around school learning. Look at the cover of my book, The Drive to Learn. That’s a mother partnering with her daughter.
The researchers concluded that, when it comes to school learning, American parents interact with their children like cheerleaders. East Asian parents interact with their children like athletic coaches. What does a good coach do with team members, not only during games but also between games. There’s your model.
Become A Partner To Your Child In Her Success
— Celebrate Woman (@DiscoverSelf) September 6, 2017
HOW-TO Partner with Your Child
East Asian pupils are more receptive to learning not because of how their teachers teach, but how their parents parent. So if you want your child to be an outstanding student, you could benefit from what East Asian parents know about raising stellar classroom performers:
• Hold your child’s mastery of academic work as your family’s unrivaled #1 goal.
• Accept that you and your child are jointly responsible for attaining that goal.
• View his teachers as your ally to that end, but not as responsible for attaining it.
• Model your role on that of an athletic coach, not on that of a cheerleader.
• React to poor learning as a diagnostician; take steps to insure no reoccurrence.
• Let self-esteem grow organically, due to successes born of persevering study.
As you see, these how-to items aren’t simple “tips.” They’re about goals and roles, ways of thinking, lifestyles and, above all, family values. They’re the reason why East Asian students have surpassed ours every time, decade after decade.
Too difficult? Perhaps you’re fine as you are, raising a well-rounded child with pretty-good grades. But if you’re convinced that academic superiority today will reap big rewards tomorrow, then learn from fellow parents half a world away.