To get to the same side of course!
Excuse the math joke. The following is no joke.
My previous post quoted Yalda T. Uhls in her blog “In the Digital Age” at (http://www.parentinginthedigitalage.com/2011/03/china-education-and-parenting-how-does-it-differ-from-us). That post was about time spent on academics. Ms. Uhls also mentions a separate issue that I want to throw out on the table:
Another important difference is the competence of teachers in elementary school. In China, teachers learn a major subject that they will then teach in the classroom, such as Math or Science. The result is the teacher is usually both more prepared and interested in the coursework. By contrast, 90% of US elementary school classrooms have one teacher who teaches all subjects. Thus, many American teachers have a subpar understanding of subjects such as Math, even though they are student’s primary source of knowledge for these subjects (Tsui, 2005). This fact alone may explain why US 5th graders rank so far behind Chinese students in Math.
I received my original certification in high school mathematics and a truly disturbing number of elementary teachers have told me, “oh, I was never any good at math.” By 5th and 6th grade, this matters. Teachers cannot teach what they don’t know.