Remember my post complaining about American education? Someone wrote me back about it, and gave me permission to post her response here. What a wonderful surprise!
Yiuka Leung grew up on the outskirts of Hong Kong, and moved to the U.S. for college, so she’s experienced education from both sides. Here’s what she had to say:
“I don’t disagree with what you said, but I wanted to point out that ‘freedom for creativity’ is relative. To me, someone who grew up in Asia and received Asian-style education, education in the U.S. gave me a lot more room to develop my own personal interests than I would ever hope for in Asia.
“Back home, there’s no active selection on what knowledge to learn. The education system is purely passive: students are taught textbook knowledge without questioning the value of it, and students choose their majors in University right after high school, with very little flexibility to change their minds afterwards, even if they later realize that they hate what they’re studying.
“So, in comparison, I do agree with what you feel doubtful towards: education in America allows for freedom, which allows for creativity. Now, is the system ideal? Maybe not. I’m sure there are many ways the system can improve. But you might come to appreciate education here more if you’ve experienced a much worse education system that is being applied in many parts of the world.”
Wow! I guess I stand corrected on one of my points, that American education might be lagging behind many other nations’ in terms of fostering creativity, which is said to be requisite for innovation.
However, Yiuka and I both agree that there’s room for improvement in U.S. education. The question becomes, how hard are we looking for ways to improve it?