If you are having fun while studying, the chances are that you would be doing a good job of learning the subject as well. Right? WRONG! A Brookings report was based on the 2003 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study suggests this!
Strangely the American fourth and eighth graders feel confident that they do well in Mathematics far more than their Asian counterparts. In fact the chasm is as huge as 40% US kids to 4% Japanese kids and 6% Korean kids. Yet the scores tell a completely different story. Singaporean kids – modesty personified – think they are downright terrible and yet they beat the Americans hands down!
In the Eighth Grade section, the US kids stood 12th in the Advanced International Benchmark just above the International Average. The Fourth Graders, on the other hand, did worse against the International Average but got the same rating world-wide.
Some people say that one of the reasons for this may be that the American schools like to “cloak” their math subjects in a more “interesting way so that kids don’t feel the drudgery. Japanese and Koreans on the other hand don’t care two hoots for making calculus look sexy! They just learn it! This is what the Brookings Report author says about the reasons:
One reason the United States does not score as high, he suggested, is that American textbooks are not as challenging as their overseas counterparts. Loveless pointed to some textbooks that have twice as many pages as Singaporean books and are filled with stories, games, colorful pictures, and “not as much math.”
“We have arrived at the conclusion that American kids cannot learn math as math, and that we have to dress it up as something else,” Loveless said.
The question then is, does it pay to mix fun and work in the schools or is hard work the main ingredient. In other words, how true is “All Work and No Play makes Jack a Dull Boy“?
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