Some provocative statements were published today from Andreas Schleicher of the international testing body Pisa, who revealed the “remarkable performance” he’s seeing in rural Chinese schools.But we thought it’d be worth pointing out another comment Schleicher made to BBC about China’s unusually good test results — not so much on the results themselves, but more about the mentality that supports them.
Here’s what Schleicher said he discovered when he asked teenagers why they should do well at school:
“North Americans tell you typically it’s all luck. ‘I’m born talented in mathematics, or I’m born less talented so I’ll study something else.’
“In Europe, it’s all about social heritage: ‘My father was a plumber so I’m going to be a plumber’.
“In China, more than nine out of 10 children tell you: ‘It depends on the effort I invest and I can succeed if I study hard.’
“They take on responsibility. They can overcome obstacles and say ‘I’m the owner of my own success’, rather than blaming it on the system.”
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