"Struggle For Smarts? How Eastern And Western Cultures Tackle Learning"- Discussion - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 5 Old 03-13-2013, 10:31 PM - Thread Starter
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"I think that from very early ages we [in America] see struggle as an indicator that you're just not very smart," Stigler says. "It's a sign of low ability, people who are smart don't struggle, they just naturally get it, that's our folk theory. Whereas in Asian cultures they tend to see struggle more as an opportunity."


How can we apply different cultural ideas about learning to our homeschooling? Should we? 


Thinking about your own viewpoint, do you think that you view success in learning as resulting from natural ability or as the result of work? 


What can we do to encourage our children to "keep at it" when they are having trouble with a concept?

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#2 of 5 Old 03-14-2013, 04:28 AM
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Praising their effort as opposed to their intelligence is supposed to be one way. I think persistence is just a habit like any other though.

I think success in learning is enjoying it. You are more likely to persevere if you enjoy something.

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#3 of 5 Old 03-14-2013, 08:16 AM
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I think what struck me in the article was an emphasis on the process rather than just the result/grade and that is something I think we probably tend to do more as homeschoolers than those in a school environment.



My dd had an incredibly difficult time getting basic math concepts. We kept at it and eventually she got there. It wasn't a failure that she was having trouble and she isn't stupid. She does a problem until she understands it. We discuss it. We don't just check it wrong and move on. We don't do grades but I do point out how much progress she has made periodically and how things she struggled with in the past have gotten easier.

On the other side dd has a natural ability with spelling and vocabulary. I haven't been able to really challenge her in that area so we don't spend as much time on it. The things we do in that area are fun for her but there is definitely more pride in something she has struggled to master versus something that comes very easy.

Kim ~mom to one awesome dd (12)

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#4 of 5 Old 03-14-2013, 03:21 PM
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Thank you so much for finding this!


DH heard this on NPR, and I have been trying to search for the rest of the article so I could hear the rest and even share it, but to no avail.


What I like about the Japanese example was that the student who went to the board was asked to continue working it, with feedback, until he was successful.  How many times in our school days have we gone up to the board, made mistakes, and then been asked to sit down so someone else (who might know the answer or understand the process) could do it right?  I like the focus on the process, not the answer.  I like the focus over perseverance--which anyone can nurture--rather than "smarts".  

"She is a mermaid, but approach her with caution. Her mind swims at a depth most would drown in."
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#5 of 5 Old 03-14-2013, 04:03 PM
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My husband had asked me to read this article recently and it made such an impact on me. Thanks for posting, it was helpful to read it again.

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