Sunday, January 29, 2017

Beyond The Tiger Mom { Review }

I am always doing some sort of "professional development" as an ongoing, long time homeschooling mom and educationalist.  What can I say, it's fun and doubles as an awesome hobby.  I love cycling through ideas to keep me fresh, motivated, and learned.  So recently when I was presented with an opportunity to read 'Beyond The Tiger Mom' I snatched it up as quick as possible.  I KNEW it was something I'd be totally interested in.

The book is written by Maya Thiagarajan.  She has lived and worked in India, Singapore and the United States.  Maya has a BA in English from Middlebury College and a Masters in Education Policy from Harvard University.   The length of the book is 224 pages.  Easily read and digested.  It is filled with facts and figures, interviews, and tips to help you go Beyond the Tiger Mom.

{ What's the Book About }

Essentially the book examines the cultural and academic views of Asians and then sometimes compares them with the West.  I have often wondered how the other half live and think about academics, and here Maya gives us her very own personal accounts and thoughts, responses from her own students, and interviews with other mothers.

It is truly an interesting way of exploring how the other half of the world views academics.

{ Contents }


The book starts out with her background in education and how she got to where she is.  Being born in one country, moving to another, and then re-establishing herself in yet a third country.  Surrounded by an Asian culture, both at work and socially.

Part One is divided up into 3 chapters mainly discussing 'Academics'; Math, Reading, and Other things Asians love.  

In the first chapter she talks about Asians and Math.  Such an awesome insight for us in the Western world.  Why are they doing it?  How long are they doing it?  How important is it?  What about early learning?  

The second chapter discusses 'Reading', and here we see her travel across the ocean for a western ideal.  

Thirdly we jump into topics such as memorization, exams, and other things that Asians love.  

Additionally, there are inserts of interviews from other mothers featured prominently in each chapter.  At the end of each chapter is a generous helping of TIPS for the topic just spoken on.  

And then suddenly we are in Part Two.  This is where Maya takes a shift in her examination and moves into 'Achieving Balance'.  There's obviously two very extremes with Asian academics compared with the West.

Chapter 4 talks about Asian schedules.  If you've ever wondered about how long the average Asian child spends doing academics - wonder no more - she gives us full day schedules - which I found to be very fascinating.  What was just as intriguing is the amount of students accessing tuition outside of the school day.  What do they do on the weekends?  And I bet you'd love to know what Asian mothers say about play as well, but you'll have to read the book to find out.

Chapter 5 leads us very soberly to discuss the terrible F word:  Failure.  It happens, but what does that mean for an Asian child?  How does all the pressure affect the child?  A sobering look at suicide is also presented.

Spending the afternoon propped up on the lounge we encounter Part Three.

Chapter: 6 and the key words 'Filial Piety'.  When was the last time you saw a phrase like that fleshed out?  Well, surprise - those Asians still have it and they live it every day.  I fear that we have mostly lost it here in the West.

As we near the end in chapter 7 we touch on the world as we know it, full of technology, and not only that, but technology in a global world.  How big is this competing stage?  Is this the core fundamental essence to what is driving them?

Conclusion and Looking Forward.

{ What I Thought About It }

I loved how it resonated closely to my own philosophy on education.  I may not imitate it to any great length at this point, but it is there in my mind, and part practice.  Many of it's thoughts would fit lovely into one of the main curriculum's that I also use on occasion.

I love how they do not shy away from early math, in fact , they run to it. There's no time to waste in this competing and short lived world.   STEM subjects should be given more consideration and action here in the Western world.

I am currently feeling all sorts of validation with this book.

To be honest though, I was entirely shocked at how many hours Asians have their children doing academic work and extracurricular activities.  Yes, I was very shocked.  

Family structure plays so much importance; filial piety - an almost forgotten necessity.  I am sure to be thinking about this concept for quite some time.

Lastly, a fantastic read.  It will also cause you to examine your own reasons and methods for teaching, the time you allocate to your own students to study, and for what end purpose.

{ Connecting with Maya online }

or just to learn more about the book and the author

{ How Much Does It Cost }

The book currently retails on Amazon for the KINDLE version for less than $10, but I'd be quick with that, it is definitely an on sale price sure to go back to it's normal retail cost at any time.

If you want a book and pages in the hand, I found it for less than $20 Australian on Book Depository.

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