While I am finishing reading “The Learning Gap” and starting on a new book “The Japanese Education System”, I found the environment growing and changing really rapidly. Besides reading the books, I have also checked some recent news studies of American researchers in Asia. I believe researchers must have a sense of contradiction. Although all tests and examinations show that average Asian students have more academic knowledge than the average of American students, Asian students rarely like their education. Perhaps because of peer and family pressure, Asian students want to learn a diversity of skills outside of academics. Consequently, they admire US education, which promotes a lot of extracurricular activities and education in different aspects of life.
The teachers in schools also admire US education for the same reasons. So while the teachers and the researchers in the US think Asia has a better education because of its academic excellence, Asian teachers think US education is better because of the diversity of school curriculum.
Furthermore, Japan’s group-based education is somewhat related to its own cultural habits of thinking that everyone should be pushed under the same pressure to grow. Students in Japan are rarely told to be special and stand out in a crowd because according to a Japanese proverb. “Kyoboku kaze oshi” which means “Tall tree catch much wind”. The culture itself tell Japanese students to be humble and stay low.
— Eric Lin