Perfection

by Jinryu

[CM] was attending a teaching workshop as part of her med studies, and as an example, there was the question of how right is right enough.  A kid does a math problem involving several steps.  He does everything right, but then, forgets to carry a number at some point.  As a result, that number gets plugged in and filters down to a finally wrong answer.  The method was all correct though.  The question is: what score does he get?

There were a range of answers from the classroom.  It was telling, thought CM, that the vast majority of people who said that the kid should get zero were Asians.  Most of the Caucasians thought that the kid should get a 90% or an 8/10, or something in those lines, since the method was all right, and you should get points for effort.

 

I know that the “points for effort” part is the way we teach it in schools in Canada, and indeed, even when I was teaching in Korea, it’s the same case.  It’s just not nice to tell a kid “WRONG, do it again!” and leave it at that.

Yet, like CM, I remember doing problems at home, mostly with my mom, and there was no such leeway.  Things were either right or wrong and the price of a stupid mistake is a perfect zero score.  The mentality of many tiger moms, as CM pointed out, is that if you don’t get punished, you don’t have any incentive for being careful the next time around.

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