Im VERY interested in what REALLY happens in other countries and why/how the blow us away....if they really do blow us away.
Rather than blow off steam, I actually have some experience to share: I spent 3 weeks teaching english in what was considered an "elite" private school in one of China's biggest cities (china is a GREAT place, btw....great people and beauty.....a great vacation if your thinking about someplace different)
Anyways, the classroom itself was very plain. There was nothing really modern to speak of as far as manipulatives or smart boards (still used chalk). It was very much like where i went to school in 1979 at ps 133 except it did have an overhead projector.Thats about it. I met their teachers.....younger chicks that were very concerned with their smart phones and fashion, but no interest in education at all and certainly there was no interest in watching what we were doing for their own personal development. Now, I had a lot of things planned out because I wanted to do a good job and I was getting a wicked kick ass deal out of the whole thing so these kids probably thought american schools were awesome.
Whenever we did have a discipline issue, we would call the teacher in and they gave the kids a major tongue lashing to the point you thought they were about to get *****slapped. The phone call home made some cry in front of the whole class.
Anyway the point Im trying to bring out here is this: I believe all these countries that are doing "well" in math and science are using OLD SCHOOL METHODS such as drill-and-kill, being left back if you dont deserve to move on, STRICT discilpine when needed and parents who will beat them to hell. YOU CAN BE SURE these kids know their times tables because , much like my generation, we had to memorize it till near perfection. I did not see any evidence whatsoever of any kind of modern schooling and judging by the relationship between teacher and student.....you could tell that the teacher was in charge and you were to do everything you were given and there were no excuses. Furthermore, the kids (and this was a summer program) got to school at 8 am and worked till 1pm, then they went home for a few and returned for a 3-630 shift if i remember correctly. Many hours of class.
Do you really think that in india, where they is a ton of poverty, there could possibly be modern classrooms with teachers trained in all this new fangled cutting edge stuff? I really doubt it. I think if there was, Id see it in an elite chinese private school but I didnt. I REALLY doubt little Nguen saying "oh asssooo asooooo...i see it now....wewy wewy easy. u put line here, line there ...count lines wey easy.....me go to engineering cowege and work for sony"
Believe me the USis is behind because:
1. Parents dont care
2. there is no discipline
3. there are no consequences
4. students are passed along and cant be held back anymore
5. new methods are ruining everything - concepts such as "its not important to spell correctly in the 1st and 2nd grade" and "times tables are ancient"
...the chickens are coming home to roost fellas