Asian Education Culture Explained

Comparing test results for international exams proves that Asian students tend to outperform their western peers. They got some of the highest scores in assessments such as the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). What may be a reason for that?

If immigrant students are outperforming their peers, it means that the difference may not really be the curriculum in Asian countries or the way they are taught. A more reasonable answer may be that the Asian culture is a significant contributor to this difference.

In this article, you will find some points that may explain why there is such a dramatic difference.

Asian Learners Spend More Time Studying

According to a 2011 study, it was found that while non-Hispanic white students spent an average of 5 hours studying per week, Asian students spent 13 hours per week. It was found that students in China spent 65 to 77 hours per week studying.

It is almost double the amount of time spent by many workers in a regular workweek. The learners spend the extra time studying both before and after school and on weekends. Some parents even limit the time their kids can spend watching TV or playing video games.

These kids, therefore, spend more time on their mathematics homework or their poem analysis essay than binge-watching Netflix shows.

An Emphasis on Work Ethic

There is a difference between believing that you are weak in a particular subject and that you just need more practice. For some western students, there is an emphasis on focusing on your strong sides.

Yet, for many Asian students who don’t understand a particular topic, it just means that one should work that much harder on it to perform better. Some researchers theorize that Asian students harbor the belief that intelligence could be developed. And many other students believe it is inborn. The former idea pushes you to work harder while the latter may leave you more resigned to your performance.


Parents and Students Have Higher Expectations and Aspirations

This is not to say that other parents don’t have high aspirations for their children. However, many of those of Asian descent tend to have very high expectations for their children.

They expect no less than incredible performance from their children. For example, according to the data from the mentioned research, when parents in kindergarten were asked if they expected their kids to complete an undergraduate degree, 73 percent of white, native-born parents said yes. This is compared to 95 percent of Asian immigrant parents.

These aspirations can also be seen among children of Asian descent. When the parents ingrain into their kids that education begets freedom, children pick up these ideas. This propels them to study harder in school so that they can get good jobs in the future.

The Belief That Education Begets Freedom

For many generations in Asian countries in the past, there were, generally speaking, two broad career options. These were working as part of the industrial complex or on the farm.

Of course, now there are way more options and developed countries. Still, many parents do ingrain the idea into their children that education is the key to freedom. Graduate parents who have changed their life circumstances as a result of schooling will push their children to work extra hard. This is all to get them to build something of their lives.

The same logic can be applied to children of many immigrants. When their parents go to western countries, they often have to work very hard to provide for their families and take their children to the best schools. It makes sense that they would insist that the kids work hard too to ensure a better future.

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An Emphasis on Extracurricular Activities

Besides pushing their children to excel academically, Asian parents also emphasize on extra-curricular activities. These are usually geared towards giving their children an edge, for example, when applying for higher education.

Parents encourage their children to play music, learn the arts like painting and drawing, and go in for sports. Sometimes, learners can start participating in these activities from as young as when they are two years old.

Final Words

Many researchers, while analyzing international performance results focus on learning aspects. learn. Today, many institutions are into bringing in Asian teachers or emulating Asian teaching styles.

However, if the points mentioned above are anything to go by, a few things are clear. It seems like the outperforming is a mix of curriculum and culture.

The thing to understand is that western schools have something to learn from Asian schools. This does not mean that they have got it all entirely wrong. After all, for many Asian scholars, it is an honor to visit or teach at many Western schools.

If Western and Asian schools make it a collaborative effort, they can make the education system inherit the best of both worlds by combining the great aspects of each.

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