The pandemic proved that schools can pivot away from “how it’s always been done” and create new paths toward learning. With returning pupils widely believed to have lost ground in their learning, now is a promising time to consider approaches to classroom management and lesson delivery that have enjoyed sustained success abroad.
In A Mirror for Americans: What the East Asian Experience Tells Us about Teaching Students Who Excel, author Cornelius Grove approachable describes the thinking and practices of K–5 educators in East Asia, contrasting them with typical classroom approaches here in the U.S.
“People who’ve had experience in unfamiliar cultures often remark that they now see their own culture with fresh eyes,” Dr. Grove explains. “It’s as though they’ve looked into a mirror and seen alternative possibilities for themselves. They realize that they have ways of doing things that aren’t etched in stone but actually are choices. Different choices could be made.”
A Mirror for Americans is the sister volume for Dr. Grove’s 2017 book, The Drive to Learn: What the East Asian Experience Tells Us about Raising Students Who Excel, which reveals the impactful role of East Asian parenting in accelerating children’s classroom learning.
A Mirror for Americans, grounded in 50 years of research,is a concise, easy-to-understand read that concerns itself with preschool through grade 5, and dives deep into how teachers instruct and interact with their pupils. Among the findings reported by Dr. Grove are:
- In preschool and grade 1, East Asian children practice individual and group behaviors that promote both their own learning and their teacher’s efficient lesson delivery.
- Teachers design lessons based on the internal logic of the content, not on factors such as a need to motivate, to have fun learning, or to draw out pupil creativity. But they do present content so that all their pupils – slower and more advanced – will benefit.
- Whether a lesson is student-centered or teacher-centered doesn’t concern East Asians. East Asian lessons are knowledge-centered. Dr. Grove details what that means.
Among the nine chapter titles are:
- How Children’s Learning Is Regarded
- How Classroom Teaching Is Regarded
- How Classroom Lessons Are Delivered
- How Mathematics Lessons Are Delivered
- Other Performance-Related Topics
Author Cornelius N. Grove holds a Master of Arts in Teaching degree from Johns Hopkins and a Doctor of Education from Columbia. He has had a decades-long fascination with the cultural factors that affect children’s ability to learn in school. At a 2005 conference in Singapore, he spoke about the two instructional styles found around the world. In 2013 he wrote The Aptitude Myth: How an Ancient Belief Came to Undermine Children’s Learning Today, a historical study of why most Americans believe that inborn ability determines school performance. For two recently published encyclopedias (2015 and 2017), he wrote entries on “pedagogy across cultures.” And now with A Mirror for Americans and The Drive to Learn, he is revealing the complementary roles played by home and school in building children’s academic prowess.
For more information, please visit www.amirrorforamericans.info.