Overseas Chinese Education: Myths and Dilemmas

Speaking of education pioneers, there is one group that has always garnered significant attention—overseas Chinese. Their distinctiveness lies in the fact that they not only possess traditional Chinese educational characteristics but also enjoy the advantage of assimilating exceptional foreign educational experiences due to their overseas status. They can be aptly regarded as ‘maestros’ in the field of education, serving as a microcosm for the fusion of Chinese and Western education. However, the realm of overseas Chinese education is not as illustrious as our imagination may suggest. Their parental methodologies range from triumphs to failures, from innovative to antiquated. Is the concept of a ‘tiger mother’ and a ‘wolf father’ necessarily conducive? Is it truly suitable for all children? Can one be readily accepted by merely assimilating into overseas circles? Confronted with the cultural disparities between China and foreign nations, how should Chinese children navigate their own identities? By delving into their educational myths and dilemmas and lending an ear to diverse perspectives, we can broaden our horizons and comprehend the genuine learning and living conditions of overseas children. Moreover, we may glean novel ideas and inspiration for domestic education, which has progressively entrenched itself in involution.”

“Alter the trajectory and persist in ‘rolling’—overseas is no utopia.”

“After embarking on the overseas journey, did you truly elude educational corruption?” In response to this query, mothers have provided an answer: they all became entangled. A Chinese mother residing in South Korea bemoaned that the admission rate for South Korea’s college entrance examination stands at a mere 50%. “Four hours of sleep” (where admission to college is possible if one sleeps only four hours) is not mere rhetoric. Cram schools are ubiquitous, and esteemed ones have evolved into stepping stones for entering prestigious universities. These cram schools are exorbitantly priced and necessitate ‘ranking.’ Similarly, a Chinese mother residing in the UK elucidated that the British ‘chicken baby’ approach revolves around cultivating children’s individualized growth. In addition to emphasizing academic performance, it also underscores the development of children’s interests, modes of thinking, and comprehensive abilities. Expressing lament, a Chinese mother living in France disclosed that academic pursuits for French children are arduous. Gaining admission to a first-class university requires undertaking preparatory courses, tantamount to facing the ‘college entrance examination’ twice. The competition is fiercely intense.”

“In 2021, the American documentary ‘Work Harder’ shed light on the lives of students at the renowned Lowell High School in California, delving into their study routines, specializations, club activities, and pursuit of higher education. It allowed viewers to grasp the challenges faced by American children. At Lowell, the majority of students on campus are of Asian descent and have succumbed to a relentless cycle since their freshman year. Grades and test scores for every assignment are factored into the grade point average, which evaluates a student’s academic performance in high school. At a school like Lowell, achieving an A is considered average, while a B is deemed subpar.”

“In the present era, the bar for admission into top-tier universities in the United States is continually rising. Academic achievements merely constitute a fraction of the evaluation. Even if one achieves straight A’s and near-perfect scores on college entrance examinations, the likelihood of gaining admission to a prestigious institution is a mere 20%. Moreover, extracurricular activities, involvement in scientific research projects, talents, and community volunteer services are also taken into account. Additionally, the college application process entails writing a personal statement and securing letters of recommendation. Determining the utility of these components, their significance, and the weight they carry varies across institutions, with the criteria not being publicly disclosed.”

“Upon departing their native culture and seemingly escaping the ‘war’ of a thousand troops crossing a single-plank bridge, numerous Chinese parents were astonished to discover that foreign nations are equally fervent about this ‘war,’ necessitating immense educational sacrifices. The track and method of rolling may differ, yet they often engender even greater helplessness and confusion. While we frequently assert that China’s educational environment is excessively intricate, a glance around the world reveals that wherever competition exists, complexity follows suit. Fantasizing about circumventing these challenges through escape may inadvertently lead one in the opposite direction.”

“Understanding children surpasses instructing them—gardener parents versus carpenter parents.”

“The term ‘helicopter parent’ initially surfaced in Dr. Chaim Ginot’s 1969 book ‘Parents and Adolescents.’ Helicopter parenting refers to parents who vigilantly hover like helicopters above their children’s lives, constantly supervising, guiding, and occasionally even controlling their academic pursuits and daily routines. These parents strive to shield their children from making mistakes and offer support at all times. Paradoxically, these actions can hinder both the growth of children and the parent-child relationship.”

“Simultaneously, another parenting style akin to ‘chicken baby’ emerges—intensive parenting. From the moment a child is born, parents investa significant amount of time, energy, and resources into their education and development. They meticulously plan their children’s schedules, enroll them in various extracurricular activities, and ensure they receive the best education possible. This style of parenting is driven by the belief that early and continuous enrichment is essential for a child’s success.”

“Both helicopter parenting and intensive parenting reflect the desire of parents to provide the best opportunities for their children. However, they can also lead to unintended consequences. Children may become overly dependent on their parents, lack independence and problem-solving skills, and experience high levels of stress and pressure. It is crucial for parents to find a balance between being involved and supportive while also allowing their children to learn from their own experiences and develop their own identities.”

“An alternative parenting approach that has gained attention in recent years is that of gardener parents. This metaphor emphasizes creating a nurturing environment where children can grow and flourish organically. Gardener parents provide love, care, and guidance but also allow children the freedom to explore, make mistakes, and learn from them. They understand that each child is unique and has their own strengths, interests, and pace of development. Instead of trying to mold their children into a predetermined ideal, gardener parents focus on fostering a positive and supportive environment that encourages their children’s natural growth and development.”

“Ultimately, the goal of parenting should be to raise well-rounded individuals who are capable of navigating the complexities of life, pursuing their passions, and contributing positively to society. Different parenting styles may work for different families and cultural contexts, but it is essential to recognize the importance of balance, individuality, and the holistic development of children.

  The two families have very different styles of educating their children, and the resulting fates are also worlds apart. Trying to push the child’s progress will only make the child lose himself. Abnormal speed-up will not allow him to overtake in a corner, but will overturn the car on a cliff. This corresponds exactly to the annotation of two different family cultivation models by Professor Alison Gopnik, a Ph.D. in Psychology from Oxford University, in the book “The Gardener and the Carpenter”. She used the metaphor of a gardener and a carpenter to raise the question of how to be a parent based on the laws of children’s growth. “Carpenter parents” mold their children according to the standards of “model children” and intervene when the children deviate from the so-called standards. “Gardener parents” scientifically “freeze” their children, follow the rules of their children’s physical and mental growth, provide their children with a rich, stable and safe environment, and accept and appreciate their children’s natural growth.
  Alison Gopnik pointed out: The responsibility of parents is to be themselves first, and secondly to help their children become themselves. “Our job as parents is not to create a specific kind of child. On the contrary, we are to provide a protective space full of love, safety and stability, so that children full of unlimited possibilities can flourish.” In today’s fierce competition, mental internal
  consumption It’s already very serious. As a parent, you should try your best to provide your children with the best spiritual nourishment. You should not be a helicopter parent, but let your children fly by themselves. Not a carpenter who chops with a knife and an axe, but a gardener who prunes and shears. As a saying goes: “Good education is like one tree shaking another tree, one cloud pushing another cloud, and one soul awakening another soul.” Parents’ guidance to their children is better than being natural and nourishing things silently.
“Asian kids are all the same”—lack of critical thinking becomes a flaw

  At present, there is a common phenomenon overseas: Chinese children who are among the best in schools are difficult to be “favored” by prestigious schools. According to the latest statistics, in Silicon Valley, where technology companies are concentrated, Asian engineers account for one-third. However, among the 25 largest companies in the Bay Area, Asians account for only 6% of board members and 10% of company managers. At the National Institutes of Health, 21.5% of tenured scientists are Asian, but only 4.7% serve as laboratory or branch directors.
  Jennifer Allin, who once served as managing director of diversity affairs at PricewaterhouseCoopers, pointed out: “To be a leader, you need to have strong social affinity, excellent communication skills, calm judgment and critical thinking. However, these few Xiang is what Asians lack most.” The president and CEO of Asia Pacific Leadership Education also said: “When attending meetings, Asians are often reluctant to speak because they have been taught since childhood not to speak when teachers, elders or leaders speak. Interrupt, this is actually difficult for Westerners to understand, and they will think that Asians either don’t understand or don’t care.”

  In the eyes of foreigners: “Asian children are all great, but they are all the same.” This sentence sounds a little harsh. In fact, all this is because Chinese parents lack one of the most important qualities when raising their children – critical thinking.
  This reflects the conflict between Chinese and foreign cultures – traditional Chinese culture emphasizes Confucianism’s “gentleness, courtesy, thrift and concessions”. Although it is a very good quality, it is easy to be “acclimated” in overseas cultural environments, which can make children too “well-behaved” and undesirable. Speak up and lose critical thinking. In addition, Chinese parents pay too much attention to test scores, and more of their children’s “soft power” such as self-confidence and innovative potential will be annihilated. Derek Burke, the former president of Harvard University, said that children’s model thinking is divided into three stages: the first stage is blindly believing in the knowledge they have learned; the second stage is being unable to decide on their own judgment because of other information; the third stage is The stage is to make judgments through own analysis and confirmation. If a child’s judgment is suppressed and questioned by his parents from the beginning, then critical thinking will increasingly tend to disappear. They have raised many “good children” who appear to be smart but have no independent thinking spirit. This is a flaw in the Chinese parenting model.
  Indians have done a very good job at this point. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen once mentioned in his book “Indians Accustomed to Arguing”: “East Asians don’t like to argue and will argue. Let everyone mistakenly think that they are not confident and therefore unfit for leadership positions. South Asian culture encourages debate and controversy, which is also the key to Indians being able to stand out in a predominantly white society.” The lack of critical thinking has become a problem for Chinese children in The shortcomings of the growth and progress of overseas circles are a major challenge faced by overseas Chinese education: blindly pursuing the immediate test score, but losing the long-term potential for development, is tantamount to grasping sesame seeds and throwing watermelon. This is worth pondering.
  No matter where you are, education is always both a tug-of-war and a point of connection between parents and children. Looking more at the outside world and listening to outside voices is not to increase anxiety, but to gain more clarity and calmness.
  Just before September 1st, I wrote a blessing card to my daughter who is about to enter the first grade of primary school: “The goal of your efforts is to be the best version of yourself!” This sentence is not only for the children, but also for the parents themselves. Said. Education has a cruel side because there is competition and fighting, but it also has a warm side because there is growth and gain. Only by recognizing its multi-faceted nature, looking at each other equally, and understanding each other can parents and children fight side by side and advance and retreat hand in hand.

Refined education

  From the moment a child is born, parents spend a lot of time and money to fully develop their children’s academic and talent skills in accordance with elite university admissions standards, thereby gaining an advantage in university applications.
Helicopter parenting

  Parents are like helicopters every day, anxiously hovering over their children’s heads, supervising, guiding and even controlling their children’s study and life. They help their children solve various problems at any time and prevent their children from making mistakes to the greatest extent. However, these will instead become a barrier to their children’s growth and parent-child relationship. obstacle.
snowplow parents

  In order to pave the way for your children to lead to prestigious universities, remove the obstacles and challenges on their path at all costs.

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