Outside the Box – Christy Johnson
Amelia Talkington, a Renascence School International tenth grader, obtained a perfect score (800) on the math part of the December 2015 SAT test, the standardized test that is used for admission to U.S. colleges and universities. Amelia is nearly trilingual, having studied math and science in Chinese and language arts in English, Chinese, and Spanish since she was in kindergarten. She is interested in art, engineering, and business and has been a guest researcher at the University of Arizona Plant Science Laboratory and is a marketing intern with an Ecuadorian foundation. In addition, she is a record holding club and high school swimmer who placed third in the 100 yard freestyle at the Florida 2A State High School Swim Meet and received All American consideration. She also plays varsity high school soccer and will be joining an Elite Club National League soccer team in the spring.
News Herald – Juliann Talkington
Each culture has a unique educational system.
In the U.S, students participate in many extra-curricular activities and spend a lot of time learning how to socialize. As a result, U.S. kids are comfortable in a wide variety of situations. However, many U.S. children do not develop the necessary science, math, and communication skills to handle basic job functions. As a result, many U.S. kids are comfortable deviating from the norm, but lack the necessary skills to develop innovative solutions.
In China, Singapore, and India kids spend many hours with tutors to build a classroom advantage. There is often insufficient time to play and socialize and little flexibility to “think outside the box”. These people have strong science, math, and communication skills, but generally lack the ability to innovate.
In Ecuador, Uruguay, and Mexico socialization is part of the culture and academic pressure is much less than it is in many parts of Asia. Most students are tracked when they enter high school. Students who choose the science and math track are generally better academically prepared than most kids in the U.S. Yet, extra-curricular exposure is uncommon, so kids from that part of the world often have difficulty adjusting to the rigors of the workplace.
Even though it is easy for us to continue to educate our children within our cultural norms, it is not wise. Instead we should learn from other cultures and adopt effective approaches from other educational systems to provide our students with a competitive advantage.
As we change, we should be careful that the alterations make sense. For example, some Asian countries are discussing lowering subject matter proficiency expectations in an effort to improve creativity. At first glance this change makes sense,. However, the U.S. is demonstrating that low subject area proficiency makes innovation challenging. Instead it would be better to use an K-12 creativity curriculum to teach students how to apply and integrate their subject matter expertise in unique and unconventional ways.
In addition, it would unwise to create a culture where young people spend all their time working to gain an academic advantage at the expense of the socialization and non-academic exposure, since this too would stifle creativity and innovation.
Creating the best educational environment for our kids is not easy. It requires the confidence to break cultural barriers and the flexibility to “think outside the box”.
Huffington Post – Trent Tucker
“My goal is for these children to be excited about their education, and have the confidence to pursue it. I want them to know that their opportunities are unlimited as long as they work hard and make good decisions for themselves.”(more)
China Daily – Zhao Yanrong
“Ann Lee lists in her book a host of Chinese practices in areas such as education, Confucianism and banking that she believes the United States can learn from….In her new book What the US Can Learn from China: An Open-Minded Guide to Treating Our Greatest Competitor as Our Greatest Teacher, Lee argues that sharing some of China’s best practices and enduring principles can help foster much-needed change at home and could prove beneficial for sustainable economic growth and development around the world.”(more)
Forbes – Peter Cohan
“Behind Global Citizen Year is a mission of creating a new generation of leaders for addressing global development challenges, an idea that Falik markets to graduating seniors, their parents, and college admissions officers….outlining a gap year program to expose high school graduates to global social enterprise before they entered college – into a real organization.” (more)
Huffington Post – Craig R. Burnett
State educational systems are cooking their books and lying to kids and parents. Specifically, they are rigging educational standards, setting the bar for “proficiency” far too low and creating a dishonestly rosy picture of American school.”(more)