June 23, 2013
Chinese Family Education versus American Family Education
In the book Tiger Mother, the author described how she raised and educated her two beautiful and intelligent daughters with the strict traditional Chinese educational method. She demanded that they receive all A’s at school, practice piano or violin after school every day, and no sleepovers, etc. She said: “that’s not easy to do, but I know what I am doing and I know I love my children so much. I know them better than themselves when they were still young, and I wanted them to have a beautiful future.” One of her daughters even tried to resist “Tiger Mother” during her teenage years. Both of her daughters were eventually accepted by top 3 American universities in their fields of study; they are now both doing very well and leading happy lives. The author wanted to share her experiences as a mother with other mothers. However, many readers disagreed with the author’s totalitarian approach in educating her children. The critics said that the educational methods employed by typical American families are more beneficial to their children’s development than the strict disciplinary methods applied by most Chinese families. Of course others defended the author’s practices and pointed to her daughters’ successes as proof that her methods worked. Being a Chinese mother in America, I don’t think either camp is completely correct. First, let’s talk about philosophies regarding education in China. During China’s dynastic years, the way to improve one’s social standing was to pass state issued exams that were available to all males of all walks of life. By doing well on these exams, even a poor and lowly peasant can become the second most powerful man in the kingdom as a direct council to the emperor, and there were many instances of self-taught peasants who did become great chancellors and reshaped the course of history. The importance of education in...
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