Maya Thiagarajan is known for her bestseller “Beyond the Tiger Mom: East West Parenting for the Global Age” telling the differences between Western and Asian approaches to parenting and education.
She has been teaching at an international school in Singapore for almost seven years after being moved from USA. For her, teaching in Singapore is totally different from her experience in the USA as she says, “On this tiny, high-performing Asian island, I found my educational world turned upside-down.” Later, she felt the need to make changes in her style of teaching.
In her blog post, she mentioned the “lessons” she learnt while teaching in Singapore which somehow matches to the points she compiled in “Beyond the Tiger Mom”.
1: Kids Should Be Prepared for Extending Their Own Attention Spans:
ToMrs Thiagarajan’s surprise, schools in Singapore assigned long and demanding academic tasks to the students. She later found that these activities, exam and exam stress make the kids focus better on the study and they can sit to study for long hours.
2: No Fun! Study is The Serious Business in Singapore
Maya Thiagarajan also witnessed that teaching in Singapore is not interactive and fun like in western countries. But she was surprised to see that kids even enjoyed studying seriously without any element of fun or game.
3: Elders are Important for Child Education
Mrs Thiagarajan said that teachers and elders are expected to be “side-lined” in the US as their only role is to “empower” the kids. On the other hand, she found that elders/teachers have the biggest impact on the student’s life in Singapore.
4: Memorization is Part of the Education
She found that kids have memorized a lot of information and they know lots more than the kids in most of the western nations.
5: Class Participation Means Learning Not Talking
Maya Thiagarajan shared that in Singapore, kids are supposed to listen which is way more important than talking. Therefore, the class participation is viewed by the kids as only listening, instead of putting forward their own opinions.
Maya Thiagarajan’s teaching experiences say a lot about the education system and student approach in Singapore and other Asian nations.