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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Chinese and Finnish Students - Best Practices

Some conflicting articles, both from the Wall Street Journal. One about how some Chinese students are doing so much better than US students because they get more homework. The other about What Makes Finnish Kids So Smart?

The Finnish students rank first in Science and second in Science, but they don't start school till 7 and don't have the standards that are the foundation of most improvement efforts in the US. Taiwan was first in Math as my dear Taiwanese wife likes to point out (guess who does the math tutoring at home - and it's now me). My understanding of the article is Finnish focuses on high quality teachers that are given general goals and figure out how to meet them. More Entrepreneurial, where the US Education uses in most schools a general factory set up that is standardized. Reading is a focus from an early age where parents of newborns are actually given books by the government.

The take aways from the two articles. It's an interest of mine with my daughter on how to get Good Grades, Study Skills, and get into the right College. The Finnish and Chinese approach are opposite it would seem. What was not mentioned in either article was in China, the teachers are given more time to prepare than in US classes. For learning Math, I do believe at lower levels using rote is a good method as done with the Singapore Math Texts. This gets into the entire question of why are some School better than others?

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