ENDNOTES for A Mirror for Americans

Click below to be taken to the Endnotes for…

Opening Quotations

Full citations for publications cited in these Endnotes appear in the Bibliography of A Mirror for Americans.

  1. Lewis, Catherine (1995, p. 124).
  2. Stevenson & Lee (1990, p. 101).
  3. Mead (1928, p. 160).

Full citations for publications cited in these Endnotes appear in the Bibliography of A Mirror for Americans.

  1. Burns (1786).
  2. Ng & Rao (2008, p.160). Ng & Rao cite Wong & Wong (1997, pp. 82–84).
  3. I believe the principal and/or teachers would be arrested because, for example, if they allowed children to have the run of the entire school and its grounds with virtually no supervision (see Chapter Two), someone would call the police. With broad community support, prosecution of the culprits on child-neglect and even worse charges would follow. They’d probably be convicted.
  4. On the second page of The Drive to Learn, I explain that the “dismal facts about American students’ learning in school” come from four sources:
    1. Studies done by researchers, who spent months patiently observing what actually is going on in schools and classrooms. Their reports reveal that most students are devoting astonishingly little time and effort to academic subjects.
    2. Organizations dealing with young people. For example, most colleges offer remedial courses to bring freshmen up to speed on basic subjects.
    3. Our government’s National Assessment of Educational Progress, the findings of which are instantly available at Nation’s Report Card. If you visit, be sure to keep in mind that “proficient” does not mean “advanced.”
    4. PISA and TIMSS, the major international comparative tests, on which American students invariably rank in the middle of the pack – or below it.

Full citations for publications cited in these Endnotes appear in the Bibliography of A Mirror for Americans.

  1. Greene & McGee (2012). The quote is from the ERIC abstract of the article (item EJ968871).
  2. Grove (1977).
  3. Constructivism in the United States is based on the belief that students learn by constructing their own knowledge. Its methods center on exploration, inquiry, discussion, hands-on experience, self-paced learning, and peer teaching. Constructivism is discussed at length in Chapter 8.
  4. Most of the researchers were based at universities or research institutes. But at least one was an independent scholar: Nancy Sato, author of the excellent Inside Japanese Classrooms: The Heart of Education (2004).
  5. I have not actually tried to count all of the published research reports. My personal library contains more than 200. My estimate of “well over 1,000” is based on the long lists of related publications that I see in the lengthy, often multiple-page, bibliography of every book and article I consult.
  6. “Qualitative” methods – also known as “naturalistic” methods – refer to research that involves one or more investigators closely and patiently observing the phenomena in question. “Observing” means not only using their sight but also their hearing and other senses. They ask open-ended questions of everyone involved (usually referred to as “informants”), ideally in their native language, recording their answers verbatim. Very commonly in use are audio and, more recently, video recorders. The investigators often count how many times various phenomena occur and subject those data to statistical analyses. Their objective is to grasp, from the perspective of the people being investigated, how the local people make sense of their own daily reality in their natural environment and value-rich cultural and social context.
  7. Some of this research has not proved useful for me because it probes exceedingly fine points of mathematics teaching. For example, consider Fan Lianghuo et al. (2015), a 735-page book. Of the 23 articles included therein, I was able to make slight use of one.
  8. Under the banner of sù zhì jiào yù (“Quality Education”), since 1999 the Chinese government has pushed for major changes in classroom teaching, almost all of which resonate with Western “progressive” ideas. While the push inspired innovative reforms in schools where it enjoyed support, on a wider scale implementation has been hampered by insufficient resources, conceptual ambiguity, and conservative resistance. The goals of the reform are still not reflected in major examinations and often conflict with teacher, student, and especially parental goals in a society where, for approximately 1,000 years, examination scores had lifelong career-determining consequences. See Della-Iacovo (2009) and Lin (2010).
    1. In Japan, a similar set of reforms gained ground during the 1980s and ’90s, and were adopted by its ministry of education. They, too, resulted in pushback from various quarters, including some parents. For a concise overview, see Bjork & Tsuneyoshi (2005).
  9. For example, the opening chapter of Ripley (2013) is organized around interviews she conducted with Schleicher, whose photographic portrait is included.
  10. Ripley (2013, pp. 21–22). Ripley answered only one question wrong. (For a summary of recent national scores on the international comparative tests, click here.)
  11. See Preface, endnote 4.
  12. A stereotype is a statement that leaves no room for exceptions and is rigorously applied to every member of the group in question. As we will see in Chapter One, a popular stereotype of students in East Asia is that “they never ask questions.” If you observe an East Asian secondary or university class in session, you are likely to see students listening attentively and not asking questions. If you then conclude that “students in East Asia never ask questions,” implying that it’s true about all East Asian students all the time, the statement is completely false. It’s a stereotype. (Question-asking is discussed at length in Chapter Eight.)
  13. The paragraphs of this subsection on peoples of East Asia draw on, or at least are inspired by, Kim (2009).
    1. Another attempt to summarize the deep assumptions of Confucianism with respect to education is Ng & Rao (2008, p. 160); the following quote combines edited material from across three of their paragraphs:
    2. “Confucian beliefs are aligned to the nurture side of the nature-nurture equation. In personal development, environmental factors are considered more important than genetic factors. Effort is emphasized over ability, and it’s assumed that diligence can improve one’s ability. In accounting for academic success, little emphasis is given to the role of individual differences in innate endowments. Because Confucianism emphasizes order, stability, hierarchy, self-discipline, and obedience, traditional Chinese classrooms are considered comparatively more “authoritarian” than Western classrooms. Major concerns of teaching include early mastery of impulse control and self-discipline as well as the imparting of ‘correct knowledge.’”
  14. Thoughtful observations and comments about bullying in Japanese schools are provided by Sato (2004, p. 107, note 32, and p. 164, note 18).
  15. One scholarly book that takes a somewhat more comprehensive view of the bad as well as the good (including by means of photographs), at least in Japanese preschools, is Holloway (2000).
  16. Ravitch (2007, p. 174), excerpts.
1. Common Beliefs about Learning in East Asian Classrooms

Full citations for publications cited in these Endnotes appear in the Bibliography of A Mirror for Americans.

  1. Ripley (2013, p. 19). This ten-word saying appeared on the last slide of the PowerPoint presentation that Andreas Schleicher used dozens of times as he travelled internationally explaining the PISA exam to educators.
  2. The topic of rote memorization is discussed in The Drive to Learn on pages 11–14.
  3. Jin & Cortazzi (1998, p. 743).
  4. Tobin, Wu, & Davidson (1991, pp. 110–111).
  5. Tobin, Wu, & Davidson (1991, p. 112).
  6. Tsuneyoshi (2001, pp. 47–48).
  7. Tetsuya Miyamoto is a juku teacher in Tokyo who owns and operates an academy that follows his principle of “teaching without teaching”; hence, KenKen, by which students teach themselves. Shortz (2019, p. 2).
  8. For more about the grueling three-day exam, see in The Drive to Learn page 64, and endnote 15 for Chapter 7 (pp. 128–129).
  9. This paragraph and the next are based on Russell (1997, p. 165). Russell notes that there are juku for a variety of purposes such as for learning swimming, calligraphy, piano, and judo. The type discussed in the text are sometimes referred to as “academic juku” or, when referring to preparatory schools for university entrance exams, yobikō (pp. 156–157).
  10. Large cram schools market their services using ads that feature their most successful teachers. “HONG KONG — Advertisements for star tutors in Hong Kong can be seen all over here: on billboards that loom over highways and on the exteriors of shopping malls. Invariably, the local teaching celebrities are young, attractive and dressed in designer outfits befitting pop stars. Many of the city’s celebrity tutors have their own music videos, Facebook fan pages, and products including files and sticky notes. The local news media have reported that some tutors can annually earn more than 10 million Hong Kong dollars, or $1.3 million.” Tsoi (2013).
  11. This paragraph is based on Rohlen & LeTendre (1998, p. 13).
  12. Russell (1997, p. 158). The quoted material is a paraphrase of Russell’s original wording.
  13. For detailed criticisms of the Japanese juku system, see Wray (1999, pp. 154–166).
  14. Liu (2012). See also Kwok (2004). Kwok encountered students who evaluated their cram school teachers, relative to their teachers in public school, as better presenters of academic material, and as better at analyzing past major exams.
  15. The character sets that Japanese children all need to learn include Chinese characters (kanji) and two different complete sets of phonetic symbols (hiragana and katakana), plus Roman letters to depict sounds (romaji). (For example, “juku” is a Japanese word spelled using romaji.) For a discussion about the challenges of learning to read and write Chinese characters, and of the even more difficult challenges of becoming literate in Japan, see Stevenson & Lee (1990, pp. 10–11).
    1. For a short but fascinating overview of the challenges faced long ago by the Japanese after they adopted Chinese characters, and of the reason why they invented the supplementary orthographic systems called hiragana and katakana, see Stevenson et al. (1986, pp. 217–219).
  16. Jin & Cortazzi (2006, p. 9). See also Jin & Cortazzi (1998, pp. 753–756). The latter article describes in detail an entire lesson on ten characters for 64 children aged six and seven.
  17. Winner (1989, p. 47).
  18. The test used was the Wechsler Memory Scale – Revised. “Compared to the Americans, the Japanese group obtained significantly higher scores on two visual recall subtests (Visual Reproduction I and II) in each of six age groups (16 to 74 years old). Further, the scores of Japanese on the two visual recall subtests did not decline across age groups as much as scores for the U.S. groups. Japanese also scored significantly higher on the Visual Memory Span subtest in three age groups.” Sugishita & Omura (2001). The quote above is from the abstract.
  19. The earliest international comparative tests contrasted the performances of eighth and twelfth graders; invariably, American students scored in the middle of the pack or near the bottom. American educational leaders tried to discount these results with arguments based on the characteristics of secondary schools and students. So two leading researchers decided to carry out comparative tests on first and fifth graders in Japan, China, and the U.S. When they did so in 1980 and again in 1987, they found that at both of these lower grade levels, American pupils (and their elementary schools) performed strikingly less well than their counterparts abroad.
    1. In 1984, the two researchers carried out a similar study of kindergarten children in the same three cultures. They tested children’s understanding of such mathematical concepts as counting, larger/smaller, addition, and subtraction. They found that the Chinese youngsters performed slightly better than the Americans, and that the test results of the Japanese youngsters were far superior. But they also found that the American kindergarteners were similar to or better than their Asian peers on tests of general knowledge, reading, vocabulary, memory, and ability to carry out instructions. Stevenson & Stigler (1992, pp. 41–43 and 78–79). See also Geary et al. (1993, pp. 517–529).
  20. For details, see Li, Jin (2012). Dr. Li’s personal story and insightful research findings are the subject of Chapter 4 of The Drive to Learn.
  21. Singleton (1991, p. 121).
  22. Professor Carol Dweck of Stanford has become well known for her research on the effects of two contrasting mindsets on students’ success in school learning. Those with a fixed mindset assume that their level of intelligence was set at birth; they often concern themselves with maintaining the appearance of being intelligent. Those with a growth mindset assume that their level of intelligence can be augmented and extended by their own curiosity and effort. Both East Asia and the U.S. harbor students with both types of mindsets. But people in East Asia, in general, lean more towards Dweck’s “growth mindset.” Professor Dweck is widely published and has given TED talks and conference presentations. Her principal publication is Dweck (2007). In The Drive to Learn, an overview of Dweck’s insights begins on page 21.
  23. My capsule summary of a biological superorganism is informed by Kelly (1994, p. 98).
  24. Most English words are spelled phonetically, or somewhat phonetically, so that it’s often possible for a child to sound out a word and be able to “read” words well beyond the child’s grade level. This is nearly impossible in reading Chinese. The sound and meaning of most characters must be learned, for there is no certain way to deduce either attribute from the form or structure of the character. Among words that have been taught in school, Chinese children score well. Among words that have not yet appeared in their readers, their performance declines precipitously. Chen, Lee, & Stevenson (1996, pp. 79–81).
  25. Jin & Cortazzi (2006, p. 9); edited for brevity; italics added.
2. Where Children Learn How to Live

Full citations for publications cited in these Endnotes appear in the Bibliography of A Mirror for Americans.

  1. Lewis (1995, p. 74).
  2. Tobin et al. (2009, pp. 100–102); edited for brevity. Page 101 contains eight captioned photos of the girls’ altercation.
  3. Tobin et al. (1991, p. 113).
  4. This paragraph and the previous one depend on Tobin et al. (2009, p. 111).
  5. Tobin et al. (1991, p. 113); edited for brevity; italics added.
  6. Peak (1991a, pp. 165–173).
  7. Peak (1991a, pp. 173–180).
  8. Peak (1991a, p. 163: hitting; p. 157: hyperactivity).
  9. Che et al. (2007, p. 11).
  10. Che et al. (2007, p. 11).
  11. Che et al. (2007, p. 10); substantially edited for brevity.
  12. Lewis (1995, p. 19). The numbers add up to 97%; Lewis offers no explanation for why they don’t add up to, or nearer, 100%.
  13. Lewis (1995, p. 20); edited for brevity.
  14. The subsection “The objective that can’t be realized without lengthy free play” has been influenced by Lewis (1995, pp. 18–21). See also Tobin et al. (2009, pp. 128–129).
  15. This paragraph has been influenced by Ben-Ari (1997, pp. 39–40); and by Lois Peak (1991a, pp. 11–13).
  16. The phrase and concept of “pedagogy of feeling” is borrowed from Hayashi et al. (2009, pp. 32–49).
  17. Ben-Ari (1997, pp. 39–40).
  18. “Wings pulled in” quote is from Peak (1991, p. 12).
  19. My discussion of tatemae is based on the personal knowledge of my editor, Kay M. Jones, as well as her querying of several native Japanese colleagues in the U.S.
  20. My explanation of kejime is drawn from Peak (1991a, pp. 4–5; see also p. 14, 24, 78, and 89). See also Hoffman (2000, p. 310).
  21. Tsuneyoshi (2001, p. 39).
  22. My discussion of teachers’ emphasis on avoiding loneliness relies largely on Hayashi et al. (2009, pp. 40–41); and on Tobin et al. (2009, p. 138).
  23. Hayashi et al. (2009, p. 32); edited for brevity.
  24. The Japanese psychiatrist Takeo Doi (1920–2009) wrote extensively about the amae concept, which he translated as “indulgent dependency.” His 1971 book Amae no Kōzō was a best-seller in Japan. It was published in English two years later as The Anatomy of Dependence.
  25. Hayashi et al. (2009, pp. 38–44).
  26. Holloway (2000, pp. 39–58, 68–69, 111, and 203).
  27. Holloway (2000, pp. 50, 93–114, 204). “Mainstream Christian groups” refers to groups that are neither Pentecostal nor Fundamentalist; see p. 222, note 8.
  28. Holloway (2000, pp. 59–92, 97, 106, 111, 201); the quote is from page 62. Holloway does not offer any information about the relative prevalence of these three types of preschools during the 1990s, when she conducted her research. [Note that the book by Peak (1991a) was the result of field research carried out in schools affiliated with Buddhist temples, “for they were reported to be more typical in their teaching practices and less concerned with trendy and out-of-the-ordinary approaches to instruction” (p. xiii). It’s possible that “trendy and out-of-the-ordinary” was Peak’s reference to child-oriented schools.]
  29. One researcher has argued that in discussions such as these, the Japanese way should not be described as “group-orientation” or “groupism,” but as “individuality.” American-style individualism views each human as separate from all others, unconstrained by social mores and others’ opinions except those he or she voluntarily adopts. Japanese-style individuality views each human as neither wholly separate nor wholly subsumed by others in groups. The Japanese self is layered, with an inner level where personal thoughts and feelings reside (honne), and an outer level that’s responsive to the requirements of social situations (tatemae). Gaining maturity the Japanese way means developing both levels within oneself, and being able to shift between the two (kejime). Hoffman (2000, pp. 300–317).
3. Where Children Learn How to Learn

Full citations for publications cited in these Endnotes appear in the Bibliography of A Mirror for Americans.

  1. Stevenson & Stigler (1992, p. 134).
  2. Lancy (2015, pp. 327–334). See also Chapter 7 of The Drive to Learn.
  3. “Adaptive disposition” was used by Hess & Azuma (1991, pp. 2–8). “Disposition” is the best word for this use because it refers to a quality of character, a habit, or a state of readiness to behave in a certain way that often is learned, i.e., that is not necessarily characteristic of the person’s innate temperament.
  4. From www-personal.umich.edu/~mrother/Kata_Creates_Culture.html, part of the “Toyota Kata website” posted by Mike Rother of the University of Michigan. Rother also has written several books on this subject, most notably Toyota Kata: Managing People for Improvement, Adaptiveness, and Superior Results (McGraw-Hill, 2009). The website includes a link to “Toyota Kata for K-12 Educators.”
  5. “Entering through form” is discussed by several scholars. For example, see Rohlen & LeTendre (1998b, pp. 369–376).
  6. In most parts of East Asia, no distinction is made between preschool and kindergarten. Stevenson & Stigler (1992, p. 77).
  7. “There’s a right way to do something that everyone must master.” This is my own phrasing of what I’ve come to understand as one of the basic orientations to life and learning of Japanese people.
  8. Peak (1991a, pp. 79–80); edited for brevity.
  9. Peak includes a three-page verbatim account of a mother and teacher helping a child learn to make proper greetings. Peak (1991a, pp. 103–105).
  10. Peak (1991a, p. 80); edited for brevity.
  11. Hendry (1986, pp. 134–135); edited for brevity.
  12. This paragraph relies on Tsuchida & Lewis (1998, p. 195).
  13. Some of the language in this paragraph relies on Tsuchida & Lewis (1998, p. 195); and some relies on Peak (1991a, pp. 103–104). The term “learner-trained learning” might have been introduced by Cortazzi & Jin (2001, p. 124).
  14. Peak (1991a). The first quoted paragraph combines two sentences found on p. 87; the second combines phrases from pp. 103–104.
  15. Peak (1991a, p. 100). The “nearly 50 percent” estimate appears to be Peak’s own judgment. But she also reports that “Japanese first-grade children attend to the teacher when he or she is speaking better than their American counterparts (60 percent of the time as opposed to 45 percent), and display inappropriate behavior less frequently (12 percent of the time as opposed to 20 percent).” She cites Stevenson (1985, n.p.).
  16. Bernstein (2016, pp. 28, 32). See also Chapter 11 of The Drive to Learn, where the question of responsibility for learning is discussed at length.
  17. Several researchers have noted with admiration the smooth efficiency with which most Japanese classrooms operate. For example, see Stevenson & Stigler (1992, pp. 91–92); Tsuneyoshi (2001, pp. 31–32); and Tsuchida & Lewis (1998, pp. 191–212).
  18. Peak (1991b, p. 106); edited for brevity.
  19. The term “mindfulness” was suggested by Peak (1991b, p. 106). Parts of this paragraph are dependent on Peak’s phrasing on pp. 106–107.
  20. Ministry of Education guidelines included sentences such as this:

    Children’s natural expression of their own feelings and ideas should be valued, and unbalanced education designed to teach particular skills separate from daily activities should be avoided. Systematic instruction about the alphabet begins in elementary school; so at preschool, direct instruction in this area should not be conducted.

    Monbushō (1989, 3, pp. 8–9). Quoted by Lewis (1995, pp. 30–31).

  21. Because of current social realities here in the U.S., I hesitated to use the word “intimate.” However, none of its usually suggested synonyms is on target for this application to a Japanese situation. As used here, “intimate” has nothing to do with anything sexual.
  22. Kizuna literally means “bonds, fetters; yoke; encumbrance; ties.” Typically, this word is not applied to hierarchical relationships like boss–subordinate or teacher–student. Its use in relation to teachers and the youngest pupils suggests that theirs is an atypical teacher–student relationship. The use of kizuna to characterize this relationship is usually credited to Shimahara & Sakai (1992). [Thank you to Kay M. Jones for contributing this insight.]
  23. Shimahara & Sakai (1995, p. 170). The handbook is identified as having been prepared by the Ota Board of Education.
  24. Shimahara & Sakai (1995, p. 170); slightly edited.
  25. My word choice here relied on Lewis (1995, p. 113).
  26. These non-authoritarian techniques are taken from Peak (1991a, pp. 129–133). However, the second one, about reacting to misbehavior, was inspired by Lewis (1995, pp. 117, 137).
  27. Peak (1991a, p. 132).
  28. Peak (1991a, p. 131).
  29. Lewis (1995, p. 131).
  30. This paragraph, including some specific wording, relies on Lewis (1995, pp. 108–109).
  31. Lewis (1995, p. 109).
  32. This entire section relies on Lewis (1995, pp. 105–108).
  33. Lewis (1995, p. 106).
  34. This paragraph draws from Sato (2004, p. 238).
  35. This paragraph draws on Rohlen & LeTendre (1998, p. 375).
  36. Quoted paragraphs are from Lewis (1995). Paragraph 1: p. 108. Paragraph 2: p. 27. Paragraph 3: p. 91. Paragraph 4: p. 28, italics added. Each has been edited, sometimes extensively, for brevity. See also Lewis’s two discussions of hansei beginning on pp. 120 and 170.
  37. Descriptions of daily events in Chinese preschools are found in Tobin et al. (2009a, pp. 22–94); Stimpfl et al. (1997, pp. 11–26); and Cortazzi & Jin (1996, pp. 176–178).
  38. John Dewey, of the University of Chicago and, later, Columbia University, was a highly influential American educator. No one doubts the central role he played, during the two years he spent in China, in introducing Chinese educators to the concepts of child-centeredness and “learning by doing.” Dewey’s ideas were influential in Chinese education between 1920 to 1940, then came under attack in the 1950s by Marxist educators for being dangerously bourgeois, individualistic, and counter-revolutionary. In the 1960s and 1970s, and particularly during the years of the Cultural Revolution, there was an eclipse of interest in Dewey even as a target of criticism. Around the mid-1980s, his name was once again beginning to be cited positively by Chinese scholars. In the years since then, Dewey has returned to favor in early childhood education circles. The information presented here was excerpted from a longer account of Dewey’s influence on education in China in Tobin et al. (2009d, p. 235).
  39. See Introduction endnote 8. Two reasons for the pushback were that many objected to the trend towards individualistic values in a culture that, across millennia, had strongly embraced collectivist (group-oriented) values; and many parents and some early education teachers believed that academics, especially character-learning, should begin in preschool. For an account of post-reform character-learning by four- and five-year-olds, see Li, Hui, et al. (2011, pp. 5–23).
  40. Tobin et al. (2009a, pp. 41–42, 64–69). See also Ng & Rao (2008, pp. 159–172).
  41. Tobin et al. (2009a, pp. 60–64, 69–73); and Tobin et al. (2009b, pp. 127–128). Teacher-organized and -monitored play – termed “sociodramatic play” by Tobin – is quite unlike unrestricted free play times in Japan, at least in Japan’s relationship-oriented preschools.
  42. Ng & Rao (2008, p. 165). See also Joseph Tobin et al. (2009a, p. 27).
  43. Regarding “The Story Telling King” episode in the Chinese classroom described by Tobin et al. (2009a, pp. 65–69), see also Tobin et al. (2009b, pp. 138–139). In addition, see another discussion of this same episode in Che et al. (2007, pp. 7–8).
  44. Cortazzi & Jin (1996, p. 176).
4. How Children’s Learning Is Regarded

Full citations for publications cited in these Endnotes appear in the Bibliography of A Mirror for Americans.

  1. Gardner (1989, p. 291).
  2. Li, Jin (2012). See especially Chapter 3.
  3. Brooks (2015).
  4. I recently received an appeal for a financial donation from the American Center for Law & Justice. The letter denounced public education systems for adopting a new “educational tool” that’s gaining popularity: meditation. The letter argued that “these ‘mindfulness’ sessions oblige elementary-aged students to do things similar to ancient Buddhist and Hindu spiritual practices.”
  5. Confucius’s dates are 551–479 BCE; he died at age 72. Aristotle’s dates are 384–322 BCE; he died at age 62. They missed being contemporaries by 95 years. Dates as stated by www.britannica.com/biography.
  6. The historical factors are explained in more detail in Chapter 7 of The Drive to Learn.
  7. This paragraph and the next rely on information found in Chapter 2 of The Aptitude Myth.
  8. Socrates was sentenced to death by drinking hemlock, a poison. Instead of fleeing Athens, Socrates accepted his fate calmly, committing suicide with his grieving friends and disciples gathered around him, as depicted in the well-known painting by Jacques-Louis David.
  9. In the saying jiāo shū yù rén, rén means “person.” But in this case, rén means “benevolence.” The two meanings of rén are the result of two Chinese characters that are written differently but pronounced identically. This is one of many possible illustrations of the challenges of learning any of the dialects of Chinese, which have an endless number of homonyms.
  10. In mentioning that “the tiny minority who did master the classics became society’s administrators and government officials,” I’m skipping over some historical background about the imperial examinations. See The Drive to Learn, page 64.
  11. This is a possible translation of one the hundreds of sayings attributed to Confucius and recorded by his followers in a book known as the Analects. The citation for this saying is Analects 2:11. The translation in the text is that of Kay M. Jones and the late Anthony Pan.
  12. The perspectives in Section 1 are derived from Tang & Absalom (1998, pp. 123–125); Rohlen & LeTendre (1998, p. 372); Hu (2002, pp. 98–99); Jin & Cortazzi (2006, p. 9); Pratt et al. (1999, pp. 246, 252–253); and Cortazzi (1998, p. 43).
  13. Gardner (1989, pp. 3–5). Benjamin’s “key incident” is discussed at length in Chapter 6 of The Drive to Learn.
  14. The perspectives in Section 2 are derived from Cheng, Kai-ming (1998, pp. 15–16); van Egmond et al. (2013, pp. 209–210); Hu (2002, pp. 96–98); Shimahara & Sakai (1995, pp. 57–59); Sato & McLaughlin (1992, pp. 360, 363); Lewis (1995, 57–60); Damrow (2014, 97–98); and Tobin et al. (2009c, pp. 194–198).
  15. See Introduction endnote 8.
  16. “Learning style” is in quotes because the learning styles hypotheses has been discredited. For example, see Pashler et al. (2009, pp. 105–119); Wallace (2011, n.p.); and Willingham (2018, p. 6). See also in Grove (2017a) the section “Examples of learning style dimensions proposed during 1940–2000.”
  17. The perspectives in Section 4 are derived from Rohlen & LeTendre (1998, pp. 374–376); and Li, Jin (2012, Chapter 3).
  18. Pull-out tutoring refers to a pupil’s being pulled out of an ongoing lesson in order to receive individualized instruction in one or more subjects in which he or she is performing poorly. Taxpayer expense refers to the fact that pull-out tutoring originated as a federally funded program under Title I of the 1965 Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
  19. The perspectives in Section 5 are derived from Chen & Uttal (1988, pp. 352–354); Biggs (2001, pp. 303–304); and Tobin et al. (2009, pp. 202–205).
  20. For more details, see pages 82–83 of The Drive to Learn.
  21. Brown & Flaumenhaft (2018, pp. 13–19). The school, in rural Maine, had just over 100 preK-6 students. The curricular change consisted largely in the pupils’ engaging more often in outdoor projects. The quote is from page 13, italics added.
  22. Educational historian Larry Cuban explored the degree to which school reform movements between 1890 and 1990 actually led to significant changes in how lessons were taught by classroom teachers. He found that the classroom effects of most reforms were modest. See Cuban (1993).
5. How Classroom Teaching Is Regarded

Full citations for publications cited in these Endnotes appear in the Bibliography of A Mirror for Americans.

  1. Fernandez & Yoshida (2004). The problem 12 – 7 = 5 is mentioned several times throughout their book. See also endnote 3 below.
  2. A manipulative is a tangible item of some kind that pupils can handle at their desks in order to assist their learning. They are especially in use by children during mathematics and geometry lessons. For examples of dozens of American-made manipulatives, visit the websites www.hand2mind.com or www.eaieducation.com and, in both cases, click on either “Math” or “Science.”
  3. Fernandez & Yoshida (2004). This book, Lesson Study, is a detailed case study – including photographs and diagrams of classroom layouts, blackboard message design, handouts, and manipulatives – of how the lesson-improvement process unfolded at Tsuta Elementary School. Included in full are the teachers’ first lesson plan and its two revisions; they are, respectively, 9, 10, and 12 pages long. To each count I added three pages because of Lesson Study’s small typeface. This same lesson planning effort is discussed in Stigler & Hiebert (1999, pp. 103–127).
  4. “April,” a recent graduate of the University of Michigan with a bachelor’s degree in education, recounts in her blog an experience in Beijing: “Both Banchang Elementary and Huangchenggen Elementary had permanent rooms within the school that were dedicated to observation, lesson study, and evaluations. The rooms were large and open and had adequate space for an audience to come in and sit to observe the lesson. In fact, at Huangchenggen there was lecture hall-style tiered seating facing the classroom, making it clear that the classes held in this room were meant to be observed… We were accompanied by other teachers who had come from surrounding schools and districts to observe the lesson and potentially apply what they saw to their own teaching techniques.” “April” (2017), unpaginated. See also Yang & Ricks (2012, pp. 51–65).
  5. You can begin learning more about Lesson Study by visiting websites such as www.lessonstudygroup.net, www.lsalliance.org, and www.lessonresearch.net. Print sources include Fernandez & Yoshida (2004); Stigler & Hiebert (1999, pp. 103–127); Lewis & Tsuchida (1998, pp. 12–17 & 50–52); and Hurd & Lewis (2011).
  6. Fernandez and Yoshida report that, “Not one of these teachers had to leave the pilot-test class to check on his or her students. In fact, during the 10 study lessons that Yoshida [the researcher] observed in the 1993–1994 school year, no teacher ever left the [pilot-test] classroom and in only two cases did a student come to the classroom to consult with a teacher about how to manage his or her classmates. In both instances the student wanted to know what to do with classmates who had finished all the assigned work they were given.” Fernandez & Yoshida (2004, p. 90).
  7. This analogy originated with Stigler et al. (1998, p. 216).
  8. Among the researchers who have commented on the relative isolation of American teachers are Shimahara & Sakai (1995, pp. 221–223).
  9. This analogy and the next two draw from Pratt et al. (1998). Their article doesn’t speak of analogies, but of “models of teaching.” The “teacher as virtuoso” analogy was conceived by Paine (1990). See also Stevenson & Stigler (1992, pp. 166–167). The latter write that, “In Asia, the ideal teacher is a skilled performer. As with the actor or musician, the substance of the curriculum becomes the script or the score; the goal is to perform the role or piece as effectively and creatively as possible. The skilled teacher strives to perfect the presentation of each lesson…in a manner she thinks will interest and motivate her pupils.”
  10. Paine (1990, pp. 53–54). This quote stitches together sentences and phrases from these two pages of Paine’s article.
  11. Paine (1990, p. 57); italics added. See also Cortazzi & Jin (2001, p. 125).
  12. “April” (2017, unpaginated).
  13. Pratt et al. (1998, p. 7). They use the term “master” and emphasize its meaning in the context of martial arts, painting, calligraphy, etc. I have chosen to emphasize teachers’ mastery of academic content.
  14. Tan (2016, p. 40).
  15. Rohlen & LeTendre (1998, pp. 373–374).
  16. Ma, as reviewed by Howe (1999, pp. 881–887). Ma’s four questions are stated in Howe’s review. Here is the most challenging, Question 4:

    Suppose you have been studying perimeter and area, and a student comes to you excited by a new ‘theory’: area increases with perimeter. As justification, the student provides the example of a 4 x 4 square changing to a 4 x 8 rectangle: perimeter increases from 16 to 24, while area increases from 16 to 32. How would you respond to this student?

    1. Of the American teachers, 90% believed that the student’s claim was valid; only one came up with a counterexample proving that the student was mistaken. Of the Chinese teachers, 70% correctly understood the math concept and came up with valid counterexamples. Howe (1999, p. 883). See also An et al. (2004).
  17. Ma, as reviewed by Howe (1999, p. 883). Of the Chinese ninth-graders, over 60% came up with a valid counterexample for Question 4. By way of explaining the yawning gap between the Chinese and American teachers’ math knowledge, Howe notes that, “In American K-12 education, the tendency is to emphasize knowing students over knowing subject matter” (p. 885).
  18. Cheng, Kai-ming (1998, p. 20). Some scholars, in discussing the pastor’s role, treat it together with that of either the athletic coach or the academic expert. In my case, I was persuaded to treat it separately because of a discussion in Li, Jin (2012, p. 51). There, Li compares teachers in East Asia to “religious ministers” in terms of their pastoral roles.
  19. Cortazzi & Jin (1996, p. 188); lightly edited for brevity. See also Salzman (1986, pp. 36–37). Salzman, an adult, was in China to study both Mandarin and martial arts. His teacher tells him how to dress, how to prevent common illnesses, how to behave in various social situations, etc. At one point she tells him not to laugh so much because, if he continues, he will “have digestive problems.”
  20. Based on Sato (2004, p. 52); and on Sato & McLaughlin (1992, p. 361). The latter add that, “In cases of stealing, teachers, principals, and parents must all apologize in person to the store owners.”
  21. “Parents, students, and teachers sign the teacher-approved vacation daily schedule as a mutual pact.” Sato & McLaughlin (1992, p. 361). See also Sato (2004, p. 115) and Usui (1996, p. 82).
  22. People often wonder whether students in East Asia feel upset by all the directive guidance and pointed feedback they receive from parents and teachers. Researchers found that these youth feel upset if they do not receive such guidance and feedback. For example, see Chao & Tseng (2002, p. 76); and Stevenson & Stigler (1992, pp. 16–17).
  23. Pratt et al. (1998, p. 7).
  24. The remarks in this section represent my own long-standing conviction, but my wording also was influenced by Pratt et al. (1998, pp. 4–60); and by Ho (2001). See also my own early contribution: Grove (1984).
  25. Frkovich (2015, p. 191).
  26. I can find no reference to Chinese pupils eating lunch in their classrooms with their teachers, whereas discussions abound of this Japanese practice. See also Stevenson & Stigler (1992, p. 63). However, I have found a video showing seventh-grade students in Taiwan eating in their classroom; on YouTube, search for “School Life in Taiwan – Lunch Time” (duration 2:33). This video appears to have been made as a student project.
  27. See the weekly schedules of two classes in Sato (2004, pp. 46–47).
  28. Tsuneyoshi (2001, p. 50).
  29. Sato (2004, pp. 45, 48).
  30. Tsuneyoshi (2001, pp. 41–42).
  31. Tsuneyoshi (2001, pp. 41–42); front cover and page 49; the children appear to be of lower primary age. You can view this photo on any book-ordering website that shows front covers.
  32. Sato (2004, pp. 78–79, and p. 106, note 16); the quote pieces together descriptive statements from across those three pages.
  33. Additional YouTube videos in which readers might be interested include:
    (1) “Power Lunch at Japanese Schools,” duration 1:24; no narration. (2) “Japanese School Cleaning Time,” duration 1:07; no narration. (3) “Taiwanese Students CLEAN Their Own SCHOOLS!,” duration 7:20. This third video was posted by a Western teacher in Taiwan who is discussing school cleaning; however, his lengthy video never actually shows school cleaning!
  34. Sato (2004, pp. 14–15, 88–89). Based on her late 1980s research, Sato concluded that the Japanese school year is about 60 days longer than the U.S. school year.
  35. Tsuneyoshi (2001, p. 33).
  36. Tsuneyoshi (2001, p. 35).
  37. Sato (2004, p. 36, and p. 40, note 17).
  38. Kotloff (1998, pp. 98–118). Kotloff relates how a song written for an event by one child was proudly identified as “the song we all wrote together.”
  39. Sato (2004, p. 89).
  40. Sato (2004, p. 246); lightly edited.
  41. Sato & McLaughlin (1992, p. 359). This Phi Delta Kappa article provides detailed insights into the gulf between the cultures of teaching in Japan and the United States. Unfortunately, I’ve come across no other article with similar insights into the culture of teaching in China.
  42. See, for example, Yong & Yue (2007).
  43. Ripley (2013, pp. 84–86); the quote draws together sentences and phrases from across those three pages.
6. How Classroom Lessons Are Delivered

Full citations for publications cited in these Endnotes appear in the Bibliography of A Mirror for Americans.

  1. Stevenson & Lee (1997, p. 34).
  2. The best single source for details about classroom teaching that does not focus on mathematics lessons is Sato (2004), especially Chapters 5 and 6. Sato’s book is about Japan. Unfortunately, have not come across a similarly extensive, detailed source for descriptions of non-mathematics classroom lessons in China. Here are ten other descriptions that are not math-focused: Cortazzi & Jin (2001, pp. 115–134); Hess & Azuma (1991, pp. 2–8, 12); Jin & Cortazzi (2006, pp. 5–20); Rao et al. (2013b, pp. 80–97; see also the final two chapters); Stevenson & Lee (1997, pp. 33–49); Stevenson & Stigler (1992); Teddlie & Liu (2008, pp. 387–407); Tsuchida & Lewis (1998, pp. 191–202); Usui (1996, pp. 63–85); and Winner (1989, pp. 65–84).
  3. This was one of the principle points established in The Drive to Learn. See especially Chapter 6, “Thinking Like a Sociologist.”
  4. Lan et al. (2009, pp. 198–211). “Regulatory instructions” refers to “teacher organization for instruction that sets the stage for effective classroom functioning, including teacher efforts to preview classroom activities, present instructions about their completion, and provide clear expectations for student behavior” (p. 199). The seven-person research team compared Chinese and American first-grade math classes.
  5. The point about lessons in East Asia being an experience with a beginning, middle, and end is taken from Stigler & Hiebert (1999, pp. 95–96).
  6. My experience with religious services has been largely in mainstream and evangelical Protestant churches, and occasionally in Catholic churches and reform or conservative Jewish synagogues. These are what I had in mind as I developed this analogy. I have no experience in Muslim mosques.
  7. Stigler & Hiebert (1999, pp. 95–96). The authors also mention a religious service analogy, but do not develop it in detail as I have.
  8. Tobin et al. (2009c, p. 196).
  9. Teddlie & Liu (2008, p. 398). The U.S. data came from “four studies conducted in the USA that included data from some 1,200 classroom observations in approximately 125 schools and 500 different classrooms.” The China data came from classroom observations in eight urban and four rural primary schools in Jilin Province, which is located to the north of North Korea. A measurement tool employed in the research was the Louisiana Components of Effective Teaching (LCET) Summary Form.
  10. Rao et al. (2013a, pp. 34, 36).
  11. Rao et al. (2013b, pp. 82–84, 85). Selected, edited, and slightly rearranged to decrease length and increase readability. In the first paragraph, I changed the “common structure” from four to five steps to include the review of the previous day’s lesson, which the authors had not separately numbered.
  12. Rao et al. (2013b, p. 95); edited with phrases rearranged to aid clarity; italics added. The authors write that the student-centeredness observed in China “may reflect the focus of the country-wide teaching reforms and consequent teacher development,” and add that “this may be an outcome of the influences, since the 1980s, of Western theories such as Piaget’s constructivism.” See also Chapter 3, endnote 36; and Introduction, endnote 8. Both endnotes further explore Western influences in China.
  13. Sato (2004, pp. 176–177). Selected and edited, with added paragraph breaks, to decrease length and increase readability. Sato’s discussion of social studies teaching is one of several such discussions touching on a wide range of subjects (including music, art, and physical education) in a section headed “Examples of General Instructional Patterns by Subject Matter,” (pp. 174–181).
  14. Sato (2004, p. 182).
  15. Cortazzi & Jin (2001, p. 127). Their account appears to have been transferred into this article in the format of their research notes, which made it especially tedious to read. Therefore, I have edited it rather extensively. Based on my reading of dozens of similar classrooms accounts, in this account I’ve interpreted a small number of unclear descriptions. I’ve also assumed that the teacher was female (which was not clear from their notes).
  16. This paragraph is based on comments by Cortazzi & Jin (2001, pp. 126–127), into which I have interspersed my own observations (e.g., that the lesson was thoughtfully planned). The term “learner-trained learning” might have originated with this article (p. 124).
  17. Usui (1996, pp. 69–70); edited with phrases rearranged to aid clarity; paragraph breaks added. “Individual differences” isn’t necessarily about variations in pupils’ natural-born abilities; it could also be a reference to knowledge differences between pupils who attend juku (cram schools) and those who do not.
  18. Usui (1996, pp. 64–66); edited, phrases rearranged to aid clarity; paragraph breaks added. The meaning of neriai is also discussed by Shimizu (1999, p. 110), who renders it neriage and says that it “describes the dynamic and collaborative nature of the whole-class discussions.”
  19. Usui (1996, p. 71); edited to aid clarity.
  20. Usui (1996, p. 63–64); lightly edited.
  21. In “spelling baseball,” the teacher assigns a difficulty value to each word to be learned: easily spelled words are worth a “single”; slightly more difficult, a “double”; even more difficult, a “triple”; seriously difficult, a “home run.” Pupils divide into two teams. A word is “pitched” to the “batter”; if it is misspelled, the pupil is “out,” but if correctly spelled, the pupil advances to a “base” depending on that word’s difficulty value. (When I was doing dissertation research among immigrant Portuguese students in the U.S., they were critical of classroom games such as spelling baseball. Said one, Não somos crianças! (We are not infants!) In other words, “You don’t need to sugar-coat learning for us; we are serious students!”)
  22. Stevenson & Lee (1997, p. 36).
7. How Mathematics Lessons Are Delivered

Full citations for publications cited in these Endnotes appear in the Bibliography of A Mirror for Americans.

  1. Stevenson & Stigler (1992, p. 194).
  2. Cai & Cifarelli (2004, pp. 85–88, 104). In both this article and a similar one by Cai (2005), I have not been able to find demographic details about the pupils. It is clear that the pupils are in one of the primary grades, but probably not first or second grade.
  3. The opinion of Becker et al. (1999, pp. 121–139) is that the fundamental advantage of East Asian math pupils over their American peers is that they learn to be far more sophisticated in how they approach challenging problems. They are more capable of thinking conceptually or abstractly, and of recognizing that there is a variety of ways to solve many problems. See also Cai (2005, p. 138), who states that “the disparities in the U.S. and Chinese students’ problem-solving success rates are related to their use of different strategies.” He adds that these disparities have been found even in kindergarten and first-grade children.
  4. Cai & Cifarelli (2004, p. 87; p. 88 Table 4). The authors also have a third category of strategy, “Semi-Abstract.” Their conclusion is that “the results from both problem-solving tasks [including a tenth-ring problem, which is never described] provide evidence that the Chinese students’ preference for abstract strategies seems to help them outperform the U.S. students on problems amenable to abstract strategies.”
  5. Stigler & Stevenson (1991, page uncertain). I was able to acquire only a condensed and unpaginated version of this article from ResearchGate.com. The Japanese lesson is described at the bottom of the fifth page. I edited this account for clarity and brevity.
  6. “The Polished Stones” videotape was made under the supervision of the late Harold Stevenson, arguably the leading researcher of educational differences among various locations in East Asia and the U.S. The Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 1999 Video Study focused on mathematics teaching in the high-performing nations. Some of the videos in that study, including those filmed in Japan and Hong Kong, are publicly available. ese videos are of complete 45- or 50-minute lessons. They all fall outside the scope of this book because only eighth-grade math and geometry lessons were studied. The videos and many supporting materials are freely available at www.timssvideo.com.
  7. For the section on stance, my sources included Stigler & Stevenson (1991); Stigler et al. (1998, p. 241–242); Stigler & Hiebert (1999, pp. 66–72); and Lim (2007, pp. 77–88).
  8. The “conductor” analogy was proposed by Mok & Morris (2001, pp. 455–468); see the article’s final paragraph. The purpose of their research was to show that a progressive educational reform effort in Hong Kong had affected the manner in which primary school lessons were being delivered. The article presents before-and-after data from classroom observations. Some findings suggest that, after the reform was introduced, “student-oriented” methods were increasingly in use; for example, “Direct Instruction” slightly decreased. Some findings are ambiguous. Some findings reveal that pupils always had been actively involved during lessons; for example, the “before reform” figure for whole-class interactive teaching was 89.5% (Table 2).
  9. For the section on errors, my sources included Stigler & Stevenson (1991); Stigler & Hiebert (1999, pp. 92–93); and Lim (2007, pp. 84–85).
  10. In a culture such as that of the U.S. where academic success is attributed largely to the student’s inborn aptitude, an incorrect answer suggests that the student is innately deficient in aptitude, causing loss of face, lowered self-esteem, and reduced motivation to even try to learn. In cultures such as those found in East Asia where academic success is attributed largely to the student’s own effort, an incorrect answer reveals where more effort is needed. In The Aptitude Myth, see Chapter 16, “American Educational Metamorphosis, III: A ‘Given’ Joins the Establishment.” See in The Drive to Learn Figures 3.1 and 3.2 on page 20.
  11. Lim (2007, p. 85).
  12. For the section on pace and focus, my sources included Stigler et al. (1998, pp. 230–234, especially Figure 4); Stigler & Stevenson (1991); Usui (1996, pp. 63–85); Perry (2000, pp. 192–193, especially Figure 2); and Linn et al. (2000, pp. 4–8).
  13. Perry (2000, pp. 192–193). The numbers of first-grade classes observed were 40 in Japan, 40 in Taiwan, and 80 in the U.S. This comparison had an unusually high level of statistical significance (p = .0004).
  14. Hess & Azuma (1991, pp. 2–8, 12). The authors suggest that in the U.S., teachers fear that if they slow down, pupils’ attention will be lost; rapid pace is believed to insure student engagement. Rhetorically, Hess & Azuma pose the question as to whether pupils in Japan tolerate the slow pace because they “are cowed into submission by the teachers’ towering authority or fear the consequences of breaking the rules?” Their answer: “No researcher has reached this conclusion.”
  15. For the section on the nature of classroom talk, my sources included Stigler et al. (1998, 230–234, especially Figure 4); and Schleppenbach et al. (2007, pp. 390–392).
  16. Clarke & Xu (2008 pp. 969–970, especially Figures 3 and 4). Strangely, the three Hong Kong-based classrooms were relatively weak in the discussion of key mathematical terms; two of them had lower counts than both San Diego-based classrooms. The authors offer no explanation for this anomaly.
  17. Stigler & Stevenson (1991, page uncertain; see endnote 5 for this chapter). The description of the American lesson is very short. I added that the teacher had the pupils work at their desks on representative problems, as this is often a feature of American lessons. I also added Hess & Azuma’s phrase (referring to U.S. classrooms) “quick and snappy”; see also endnote 14 above.
  18. Stigler & Stevenson (1991, page uncertain; see endnote 5). I have added paragraph breaks and edited for clarity.
  19. The term “problem of the day” has become associated primarily with Japanese mathematics teaching. For example, see Stigler & Hiebert (1999, pp. 77–80, 90–91); Stigler et al. (1998, pp. 230–231); and Kawanaka et al. (1999, pp. 91–92).
  20. Stigler & Hiebert (1999, p. 91); edited for brevity.
  21. Accounts of Chinese mathematics lessons don’t speak of the “problem of the day” but do note that one problem, initially presented, often introduces a problem type that will be the focus of the entire lesson. See Wang & Murphy (2004, p. 109); and Mok (2006, pp. 135–136). In Mok’s detailed account of a math lesson for seventh graders, she refers to the teacher’s first presenting “the situational question,” which immediately leads into “the trial activity.”
  22. Gu et al. (2004, p. 311).
  23. My discussion of conceptual and procedural variation is based on Gu et al. (2004, pp. 315–327). The lead author, Professor Linguan Gu, is credited with introducing conceptual and procedural variation to Chinese math teaching beginning in the 1980s, long before the Western-inspired reforms got underway. See also Park & Leung (2006, pp. 247–261).
  24. My discussion of coherence is based on Stigler et al. (1998, pp. 227–228); and Wang & Murphy (2004, pp. 108–116).
  25. Wang & Murphy (2004, p. 109). Wang and Murphy attribute this finding to Stigler & Perry (1990, pp. 328–353).
  26. Gu et al. (2004, p. 314). Attributed to Marton et al. (2004, page number not provided).
  27. My discussion of making connections is based on Stigler & Hiebert (2004, pp. 12–17); and Hiebert et al. (2005, pp. 111–132, especially Figures 3 and 5).
  28. This example is based on Hiebert et al. (2005, p. 119).
  29. The five countries in which eighth-grade students’ math achievement was much higher than that of their peers in the U.S., and which were studied (together with the U.S.) in the TIMSS 1999 Video Study, were Japan, Hong Kong, Australia, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic. (Switzerland was included in the 1999 Study, but did not participate in this investigation.)
  30. Here are corresponding findings for the other five countries: Considering only those problems that initially had been given for the purpose of “making connections,” the subsequent in-class discussions that focused on “making connections” were: Czech Republic 52%, Japan 48%, Hong Kong 46%, Netherlands 37%, Australia 8%. All data from Hiebert et al. (2005, p. 122, Figure 5). Stigler & Hiebert (2004, pp. 15–16) comment as follows:

    In the United States, teachers implemented none of the making connections problems in the way in which they were intended. Instead, the U.S. teachers turned most of the problems into procedural exercises or just supplied students with the answers to the problems. Our research indicates that the lower achievement of U.S. students cannot be explained by an overemphasis on concepts or understanding. In fact, 8th graders spend most of their time in mathematical classrooms practicing procedures. They rarely spend time engaged in the serious study of mathematical concepts.

  31. My discussion of formal proofs and deductive reasoning is based on Zhang et al. (2004 p. 198); Kawanaka et al. (1999, pp. 99–100); Lim (2007, pp. 82–84); and Schleppenbach et al. (2007, pp. 387–393).
  32. Deductive reasoning is discussed in The Aptitude Myth on pages 12–13 and 23–24. Deduction is often confused with induction, including by Arthur Conan Doyle, whose character Sherlock Holmes makes many “amazing deductions” that are, in fact, fine examples of inductions!
  33. An insightful article by two Japanese professors notes that the format of mathematical and geometrical discussions, or proofs, is straightforwardly argumentative, which in turn puts the culture of formal mathematics into conflict with the culture of Japan, which is harmony oriented. Thus, pupils’ disagreements about a mathematical proof can endanger the harmony of the class. Teachers handle such disagreements as “not just a problem between involved children but instead frame it as a problem facing the whole class: The conflict is shared among the classroom participants and becomes ‘our problem.’ All class members are supposed to work together towards resolution of the problem, so that the reached resolution produces a recovery of harmony in the classroom community.” Sekiguchi & Miyazaki (2000, p. 5); italics added. See also Leung (2005, pp. 199–215). Leung’s examination of the videotapes revealed that students in East Asia “were exposed to more instructional content. The problems they worked on were set up mainly using mathematical language and, compared with the problems solved by students in other countries, took longer duration to solve and more proof was involved.” (This quote was taken from the abstract of Leung’s article.)
  34. Schleppenbach et al. (2007, pp. 391–392). This article includes six examples of classroom discourse in East Asia and the U.S.
  35. Lim (2007, p. 83). The TIMSS 1999 Video Study compared the number of formal proofs that occurred during Japanese and U.S. eighth-grade mathematics classes: Japan, 53.0%; United States, 0.0%. Kawanaka et al. (1999, p. 99).
  36. Lee (1998, p. 52). Ten elementary schools each were observed in Beijing, Taipei (Taiwan), and Sendai (Japan); and 20 were observed in the Chicago area. “The larger number of schools in Chicago was necessary to represent the diverse ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic groups residing in the metropolitan area.”
  37. Also counted were the number of lessons during which the teacher provided one or more explanations and (separately) evaluations. In both cases, the percentage for the American teachers was the lowest. Lee (1998, p. 55, Table 1).
  38. Lee (1998, p. 56).
  39. Lee (1998, pp. 58–63).
  40. Lee (1998, p. 63; see also p. 62, Table 3, lowest right-hand data set).
8. Other Performance-Related Topics

Full citations for publications cited in these Endnotes appear in the Bibliography of A Mirror for Americans.

  1. Sato (2004, p. 19).
  2. Linn et al. (2000, pp. 9–11).
  3. In addition to the citation in the immediately following endnote, these two studies are among those that compare East Asian and U.S. textbooks: Li (2007, pp. 21–38); and Zhu & Fan (2006, pp. 609–626).
  4. Park & Leung (2006, pp. 230–235); excerpts rearranged and edited for brevity and clarity.
  5. This section on the importance of The Basics was informed by Pratt et al. (1999, pp. 246, 252–253); Hu (2002, pp. 98–99); and Biggs (1996, p. 55).
  6. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The reason why many Americans answer in the negative to the question “Why not also mental drills for those whose aim is to become highfliers in one of the STEM subjects?” is found in The Aptitude Myth. For an overview, see pages 153–155. Or read this capsule summary.
  7. This section on the sequence of learning activities was informed by Cortazzi (1998, p. 43); Paine (1990, p. 52); Biggs (1996, p. 55); and Grove (2006, pp. 194–195).
  8. ESL stands for English as a Second Language. EFL stands for English as a Foreign Language.
  9. Among the many articles about reactions among students and faculty members in East Asia (mostly Chinese) to Communicative Language Teaching are these Frkovich (2015, pp. 175–200); Hu (2002, pp. 93–105); and Ouyang (2003, pp. 122–140).
  10. Tsuchida & Lewis (1998, p. 207).
  11. In China, students in the upper grades and universities often spontaneously form study groups in which they collaboratively pursue understanding of the material being presented in class. These groups are not required or suggested by their teachers. For more about this phenomenon, see Tang (1996); and Cortazzi & Jin (1996, pp. 185, 190).
  12. A question that “is usually addressed directly to the teacher” is intended to suggest that there are other ways for students to query the teacher. Older students rarely ask questions during class because it is the teacher’s responsibility to explain the subject matter well. Teachers are expected to anticipate likely questions in their lesson plan, and to interpret students’ body language for signals that indicate lack of understanding. So for a student to ask a question is to imply that the teacher has not fulfilled his or her responsibilities. Because Western teachers often feel the need to be asked questions during class, some ask students to write their questions anonymously on pieces of paper, which the teacher then collects and answers in front of the entire class. Other Western teachers have found it effective to ask the students to work in groups, after which a representative of each group gives a report, which may include questions that “the group” has raised.
  13. In China, high school and university teachers and students sometimes meet socially, such as at class outings. Students use these events as opportunities to have extended discussions with their teachers about topics presented in class. Students also sometimes arrange for a meeting in a teacher’s home.
  14. In preparing these paragraphs on the absence of praise, I relied on Salili (2001, pp. 77–98); and Stigler & Stevenson (1991, pp. 43–47). To better understand the cultural context of East Asian praise and criticism, see Chapter 8 of The Drive to Learn.
  15. Salili (2001, p. 88).
  16. Lewis (1995, p. 124).
  17. Salili (2001, p. 88).
  18. The mothers who were interviewed in Taiwan lived in a farming community and spoke one of the dialects prevalent in Taiwan (either Hokklo or Minnanyu) as well as Mandarin Chinese. The research team included members fluent in one or more of these local languages. Miller et al. (2002, pp. 217, 223, 228). The description of the interview process that had to be adopted by the team in Taiwan is fascinating; see pages 225–230.
  19. Miller et al. (2002, pp. 232, 234).
  20. Usui (1996, pp. 64–66).
  21. Jin & Cortazzi (1998, p. 745).
  22. This main section on constructivism was inspired and informed by Biggs (1996, pp. 55–56); Biggs (2001, pp. 297–301); Rao et al. (2009, pp. 256–257); and Tsuchida & Lewis (1998, pp. 210–211).
  23. Ravitch (2007, pp. 57–58); slightly shortened.
  24. Ravitch (2007, p. 75). Developed by Siegfried Engelmann (1931–2019), a professor of education at the University of Oregon, direct instruction sometimes is written with initial capitals – Direct Instruction – because it originally was Engelmann’s intellectual property.
  25. The first sentence of Ravitch’s definition of progressive education reads, “A philosophy of education that promotes active, experiential learning, as opposed to learning solely from books, lectures, recitation, and practice.” Ravitch (2007, p. 174).
  26. This section on social constructivism and scaffolding was informed by Rao et al. (2009, pp. 256–257); Santrock (2004, 200–225); Grove (2017b); Gu et al. (2004, pp. 338–340); and Jin & Cortazzi (1998, p. 745).
  27. Vygotsky (1978, pp. 86–87). The word “soon” in my quote was rendered as “tomorrow” in Vygotsky’s original; I decided that “tomorrow” was misleading.
  28. Vygotsky (1978, p. 87). Referenced was McCarthy (1930).
  29. Ravitch (2007, p. 188).
  30. This definition is my own but was inspired by a discussion on Wikipedia.
  31. Among the American studies related to social constructivism have been
    (a) Reznitskaya et al. (2007); Weber et al. (2008); and Corden (2001).
  32. Nystrand (1996). Reported are the findings of Nystrand’s three-year study of 2,400 students in 60 American classrooms.
  33. Americans’ wariness toward academic knowledge has a deep history, which was masterfully documented by historian Richard Hofstadter in his Pulitzer Prize-winning 1963 book, Anti-Intellectualism in American Life.
9. Knowledge-Centered Lessons

Full citations for publications cited in these Endnotes appear in the Bibliography of A Mirror for Americans.

  1. Stevenson & Lee (1990, p. 97); lightly edited.
  2. Ravitch (2007, pp. 42–43); excerpts from her definition of “child-centered education.” The definition is quite long, including this:

    Child-centered classrooms avoid teacher domination, teacher lecturing, and teacher telling. In its most extreme form, the child-centered classroom is highly permissive, and students do what they want to do and decide what, when, and how to learn. Most child-centered classrooms, however, maintain a modicum of structure determined by the teacher while paying close attention to the interests and needs of the students.

  3. Ravitch (2007, p. 131); excerpts from her definition of “learner-centered classroom.” With regard to “learning styles,” see Chapter 4, endnote 17. The middle sentence of Ravitch’s definition reads, “The approach assumes that children naturally want to learn and will learn more enthusiastically when they are working on projects of their own selection.” For cross-cultural insight into this assumption, see Chapter 5 of The Drive to Learn.
  4. In East Asia, if child-centered primary school classrooms as defined by Ravitch do exist, they are exceedingly rare. The closest example that I know of is the “child-centered” preschools of Japan, described near the end of Chapter 2. Keep in mind that they are preschools, not primary schools.
  5. Ravitch (2007, p. 212); italics in original. Ravitch’s short entry for “teacher-centered instruction” refers the reader to “teacher-directed classroom.”
  6. The research reviewed is that of Hoffman (2000).
  7. This paragraph is informed by Hoffman (2000, pp. 302–303, 306).
  8. Unfortunately, the words complicit and complicity carry negative connotations among Americans. In looking for an alternative, I learned that these words derive from a Latin term meaning “to fold or twist together,” with no negative connotation. The nearest alternative, complice, sounds French but actually is an archaic English noun meaning “associate.” I decided to stay with Hoffman’s complicity; please note her neutral in-text definition.
  9. Hoffman (2000), excerpts. The first excerpted paragraph is drawn from p. 303. The second excerpted paragraph is drawn from p. 306; italics added. If you’re interested in this topic, I recommend that you read Hoffman’s entire section, “Group and Individual: Reflecting on Practice in Japanese and American Classrooms,” pp. 301–306.
  10. The research reviewed is that of Damrow (2014).
  11. This paragraph is informed by Damrow (2014, pp. 97–98).
  12. The research reviewed is that of Huang & Leung (2005).
  13. Huang & Leung (2005, p. 40); edited for clarity and length.
  14. Mok (2006). This study was part of a much larger project, the Learner’s Perspective Study, which was a major effort to understand classroom differences worldwide. Researchers participating in the LPS videotaped continuous sequences of lessons taught by one teacher. The videotaped lesson described by Mok in this report was one of 15 taught by an experienced teacher in Shanghai.
  15. Mok (2006, p. 134). Amazingly, Mok’s note about the students’ mental engagement applies to all 15 videotaped lessons, not merely the lesson she analyzed.
  16. Mok (2006, p. 139).
  17. Mok (2006, p. 138).
  18. Mok (2006, p. 139), excerpts, italics added.
  19. A private progressive elementary school in Brooklyn, the Coop School, explains on its website the approach it takes to learning (excerpts, lightly edited):

    Our approach to learning emphasizes student’s active participation in the planning, development, and assessment of their own learning. Long-term projects enable students to experience the joy of self-motivated learning. They read, construct, research, interview, and recreate in various mediums. They go on trips, interview experts, and have lively debates and conversations. Our teachers are observers and facilitators to the students’ interests. They step back and listen. They allow the students chances to problem-solve. They document their ideas, questions, struggles, connections, and insights. Teachers ask provoking questions to gather prior knowledge and learn about curiosities. They present materials that they suspect will engage and elicit even further student interest.

  20. Stevenson & Stigler (1992, p. 134).
  21. Chapters 9 and 10 of The Aptitude Myth are devoted to Herbert Spencer. A key reason why Spencer was so influential is that his little book, Education, appeared just as the United States was engrossed in crafting a new system of state-supported schools. In its day, Education was a runaway best seller.
  22. Spencer (1878, p. 95).
  23. Spencer (1878, p. 77).
  24. In The Drive to Learn, parents’ coaching of their children was discussed near the end of Chapter 8 and in Chapter 9.

End of the Endnotes

Extension of Chapter 8 note 6:
The first part of the answer lies in the thinking of Aristotle, who argued that human mental development proceeds automatically toward an end state that’s predetermined at birth. Mental growth occurs spontaneously and inexorably; it cannot be influenced by others (parents, teachers) nor even by the individual herself. Therefore, mental drills are useless.

The second part of the answer lies in the thinking of 19th century British scholar Herbert Spencer, who was hugely influential in America’s nascent educational circles. Spencer maintained that each child’s mind is fragile, delicate, and easily susceptible to permanent damage through trying to learn something for which it is not yet ready, or (b) exhausting mental efforts of any kind. (Spencer claimed that the minds of girls are especially fragile.) Therefore, mental drills are worse than useless because they’re likely to cause permanent harm.
Return to Chapter 8 note 6