In the New York Times’ Opinion column David Brooks gives his take on Amy Chua’s book. He argues that pushing one’s children to individual academic success does not necessarily help them become functioning adults in society where one must learn to work in groups.
“Participating in a well-functioning group is really hard. It requires the ability to trust people outside your kinship circle, read intonations and moods, understand how the psychological pieces each person brings to the room can and cannot fit together.
“This skill set is not taught formally, but it is imparted through arduous experiences. These are exactly the kinds of difficult experiences Chua shelters her children from by making them rush home to hit the homework table.
“I wish she recognized that in some important ways the school cafeteria is more intellectually demanding than the library.”
I agree. A brilliant mind is useless if the possessor is unable to share it with others and use it in a way that helps others who may be less adept.
Learning to work with others, to be a part of human society as a whole and move it towards progress, should be the ultimate aim of education. It’s what college is essentially about.