Stanford Professor Critiques HK's 'Rote Culture'

Stanford professor Carol Dweck has said that education should be "joyful" and focused on understanding, rather than the rote learning endemic within Chinese and Hong Kong culture.
Stanford Professor Critiques HK's 'Rote Culture'
By Veathika
Do your children attend a Hong Kong school? Take our survey and help other parents.
WhichSchoolAdvisor's annual school survey.
LET'S GO

A renowned psychologist, recently in Hong Kong to receive world’s biggest education prize, has said that learning should be "joyful", focused on understanding and not "drilling" or rote learning.

Professor Carol Dweck’s remarks come as the city’s government prepares to announce whether a standard test often associated with high-pressure rote learning will continue next year, reports the South China Morning Post.

The Stanford University professor was in the city to collect the inaugural Yidan Prize for research on the “growth mindset”, a belief that intelligence is not fixed and can be developed over time.

Charles Chen Yidan, co-founder of Tancent, started the prize. It comprises of two awards in education – one for research and the other for development. Each laureate receives a gold medal and HK$30 million (US$3.9 million).

Dweck, 71, said her research, which goes back 40 years, was prompted by her interest in why only some children fulfill their potential.

Her interest stemmed from an earlier experience when she was in sixth grade. Her teacher seated her class according to their IQs, despite it being the cleverest class in the school, by IQ.

“Once she did that, no one cared about learning any more, just about not making a mistake; not losing your seat.”

Professor’s findings have been implemented in countries like the US, Norway and Peru; found that kids with a “fixed mindset” would stop caring to learn. However, those with a “growth mindset” would enjoy learning and develop their abilities.

Dweck noted that the concept did not involve telling children to work hard, variations of which can be heard constantly, across Hong Kong.

“Chinese culture is already telling children to work hard. That’s not growth mindset because they’re working hard for the product, not for the growth or the joy of learning,” she said.

The professor also warned against "tiger parenting" – a term used for demanding parents, particularly in Asian cultures, push their kids to attain high grades. This can make students feel anxious, worthless and depressed.

She explained the “growth mindset” should be about focusing on understanding, questioning and thinking, and results would follow after that.

The Hong Kong government is expected to announce on the Primary Three Territory-wide System Assessment, in the next two months. Originally designed to enhance learning and teaching by providing the government with data to review policies, the assessment has become associated with a drilling culture in Hong Kong.

The government recently began a review of primary and secondary school curricula and will announce if the test will continue next year.

Photo courtesy: Yidan Prize Facebook page

Comments
Latest Hong Kong articles
New Schools

New Malvern College Pre-School Opening Soon

Malvern College will open a new pre-school in Island West, Hong Kong Island in August.…

Holidays

Hong Kong Public Holidays, School Holidays 2019-20

Official Public Hong Kong holidays are set by the Government and usually include 17 da…

Interviews

Meet the Head, ESF Sha Tin Junior, Perry TunesI

Perry Tunesi has a long history of working in the English Schools Foundation (ESF) group.…

Parenting

Make 2019 a Year of Family Resolutions

Most of us start the new year with unbounded optimism and a clutch of resolutions. Unfort…

Interviews

Meet The Head: Renaissance College Hong Kong

Renaissance College Hong Kong (RCHK) takes its students on an educational journey from …

Choosing A School

IB Diploma Programme For Student Athletes

International schools across South East Asia are offering a special International Baccala…

Interviews

Meet The Head At KGV: Mark Blackshaw

When Mark Blackshaw moved into his new position as principal at ESF’s King George V…

Secondary Schools

Meet the Head at Sha Tin College, Carol Larkin

Carol Larkin took over the helm of the English Schools Foundation’s highest perform…

0 Schools Selected
keyboard_arrow_down keyboard_arrow_up
Your selection Clear All