It was an interesting article. Even though I definitely grew up in a "western family", my parents had high expectations for me and also demanded nothing less than A's at school. I remember when I got my first B I thought my dad would kill me, but in the end they said "if you tried your best ok". The extra curricular stuff wasn't pushed because it wasn't their thing.
I work with kids in the community here as an informal educator, and I must admit that it seems like they are not encouraged to try, so they don't. It can be really frustrating trying to get through to them. I don't know how the teachers here do it, and it reflects on the kids. I judged the science fair last year the high schoolers writing was horrible. I think since the parents around here for the most part are uneducated, they don't encourage their kids and the cycle repeats. It's sad.
I do. It's the old 'if it wasn't acceptable it wouldn't be the minimum'. We have far too many people who have zero motivation in school to excel. I know it was pushed for us growing up and I intend to do the same with my kids. Not to the extent you see in some of the Chinese families, but I want to push my kids to do their best. I want them to have the opportunity to do whatever they want - and you can't do that if you don't apply yourself in school.
I do certainly think that schools lend a hand in just pushing kids through who can't read. They don't want to hold a kid back because they either don't want to deal with the hassle of the parent whining about how their kid shouldn't be held back or they don't want to 'socially stigmatize' a child by failing them. It's the same reason you see children's sporting leagues where there are no losers and everyone gets a trophy. It's why you see kids 'graduate' from preschool or Kindergarten or whatever. When I went through school in the 80s and early 90s, there was one graduation - from high school. The Incredibles had it right 'They're just finding new ways to celebrate mediocrity.' and they are.
Parents need to let kids fail - don't do your child's homework, don't correct all their mistakes, don't pester the teacher for extra credit to bump your kid up a letter grade. Life is full of failure and you need to learn to deal with it and learn that your actions have consequences. Kids don't learn that if mommy or daddy is there to clean up after them.
Don't get me wrong, I love my kids, but that's why I'm willing to let them fall on their faces a couple of times. You forget your homework/lunch/books once, I'll be nice and bring it in. after that, oh well, learn to live with the consequences of not being responsible. Heck, I could not imagine even have called my mom about forgetting something. I forgot lunch or lunch money, I went hungry or bummed some food off friends. Forgot my homework or books - I took the hit for it. Heck, I once forgot my calculator in an engineering test and had to do my calculations long hand rather than whining to the professor about it and asking to have time to go get it (not that it was an option since it would have taken 10 minutes to get to the dorm and back and I had a class after that one). I still finished the test and got a respectable score - and some admiration from the prof for some of the division i had to do.
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