300px-Taiwanese_students_studying_EnglishWhat are your thoughts on this excerpt from “Exchange Today”? What can you do as an educator of young children to fight against this type of “education”?  What role does communication to parents play in combating this type of school?  If the learning through hands on, constructivist approach is made visible, do parents still feel the need to add “Cram School” experiences?  What can you do in your context?

David Elkind talks about the relative importance of socialization and individualization, and uses the Tiger Mom phenomenon as an example of socialization:”It is really frightening that we are now trying to model our educational system after that of Asian countries.  Our schools are increasingly emphasizing rote learning, fixed curriculum, and the curtailing of teachers’ freedom to innovate.  Many schools have done away with recess to devote more time to academics.  Late afternoon Cram Schools, which flourish in Asia, have become increasingly popular here….”In trying to emulate the Chinese, we may be taking away the freedom young people have to play, daydream, and to learn things in a style that is best for them.  Such activities are not a waste of time, but are essential to the stimulation of original thought.  It is not surprising that truly talented individuals like Bill Gates and the late Steve Jobs, both dropped out of the university because it was too confining.”Certainly we want our children to be socialized, to learn the tool skills and acquire the knowledge and values that will make them good citizens.  But we also want them to be able, as famed Swiss psychologist Jean Piaget wrote, to think for themselves and not to accept the first idea that comes to them.  Individualization and socialization are complementary and not in conflict with one another….  The goal of education and parenting should be to have children who are original, but who use their originality for the common good.”

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