This blog is for teachers, parents, students, and anyone who wonders about the purpose of school and the direction of education in the 21st century. It examines issues in contemporary parenting and education, often with a cross-cultural angle.
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Monday, 29 February 2016
Why Singaporeans love Beyond the Tiger Mom!
Here's a lovely review by June Wan of Singapore Motherhood! To see the complete interview and review, check out the full article in Singapore Motherhood.
Review: Beyond The Tiger Mom: East-West Parenting for the Global Age by Maya Thiagarajan
Singaporean parents, in particular, will love this book. Not just because each chapter concludes with pages of tips and how-tos on topics close to our hearts — how to build a math-rich home, how to help your child memorise information, how to supplement your child’s education are some examples — but also because author Maya is a parent who is particularly like us.
Like us, she straddles an east-west divide when it comes to parenting. Like us, her heritage is Asian. Like us, she had a Western-based education delivered in English. And most of all, like us, when it comes to parenting, she is sometimes confused about which style to follow – the stricter, more structured, authoritarian, academics-driven Asian style, or the freer, more independent, Western-style with its emphases on positive discipline, creativity, and freedom.
Just as there is no perfect style of parenting, there is no perfect answer. The solution, Maya suggests, lies within the straddle. And here, once again, it is typically Singaporean. Her interviews with parents in Singapore reinforce our ‘uniquelySG’ quirks. “I know I’m a kiasu mum because I feel more anxious than my son does when he takes an exam,” one admits.
The Asian obsession with tuition is accepted with wry acceptance: “One mother estimated that thirty out of the thirty-five students in her son’s class… attended tuition in all their major academic subjects. Her son himself spends all day Saturday at tuition classes.”
As one foot remains firmly planted on Asian soil, Maya encourages us to embrace the western tenets of 21st-Century parenting — to help our children develop a growth mindset, to frame failure as a learning experience — to move along with changes in technology that have made parenting now so different from what we know and how we were brought up.
Perhaps, while waiting for the child’s tuition class to end, mum (or dad) could read this book. You’ll chuckle over parental excesses, probably identify with most of them, devour the parenting and teaching tips at the end of each chapter, find community with parents featured, and come away reassured that your style of east-west parenting — whether you’re a Tiger parent or not — is the right way to raise your little Asian Tiger. — June Wan