Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Power of the Individual in American Classrooms

Thanks to my friend Frau for pointing out an article on the German political arena from Der Speigel.
I think it explains a lot about German culture that is totally unspoken there. As Maria said, it is observable, but not always obvious.
The comments about American children are also fascinating. While we talk about the differences between the way our children are raised and the way children are raised in cultures we may find more alien, like Asia or Africa, I've never been so struck as when I read
Obama, notwithstanding his unique abilities, is a typical product of American culture, the outcome of an approach to developing a child's personality that begins in kindergarten. In the United States, even three-year-olds are encouraged to bring their favorite things to school and explain them to other children. In high school, the art of giving presentations is a fixed part of the curriculum. The goal is to teach young Americans early on how to talk about one thing above all else: themselves. This too explains the audacious nonchalance with which someone like Obama presents himself -- an attitude that Germans find nothing short of astonishing.

I don't know enough about how small children are educated in Germany are educated to make a clear or fair comparison, but I am definitely thinking on this one.

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