The last of the tiger parents?

In his Op-Ed piece in this weekend’s New York Times, Ryan Park contrasts the Asian “tiger parenting” that he grew up with:

hours marching through the snow, reciting multiplication tables… [standing] at attention at the crack of dawn reading the newspaper aloud, with each stumble earning a stinging rebuke.

with the more Americanized way he plans to raise his daughters:

They will feel valued and supported. They will know home as a place of joy and fun. They will never wonder whether their father’s love is conditioned on an unblemished report card.

A specific example of what Park has done so far:

before my oldest daughter was on an early-morning school schedule, I freely indulged her disregard for bedtime on a condition: The night was firmly earmarked for learning. We’d sometimes stay up past midnight, lying on our stomachs with feet in the air, huddled over a dry-erase board and a bowl of popcorn, practicing phonics or learning about sea creatures.

This does sound a tad less tigerish, and a jot more joyous, than marching through snow reciting multiplication tables (or, for that matter, marching through snow practicing phonics!).

But earmarking post-bedtime hours for parent-supervised, erase-board mediated learning doesn’t strike me as more typically American than Asian, even if prone position and popcorn are involved. How many typical American parents are staying up past midnight helping their kids practice phonics or learn aquatic zoology?

Not that there’s anything wrong with that! Loving and teaching, after all, aren’t in competition. We can fill our kids’ days with teachable moments even if we begin well after dawn, eschew snow marches and stinging rebukes, and demonstrate unconditional love. It just takes a lot of commitment and effort!

If traditional Asian parents have something to learn from typical American parents, the reverse is surely just as true.

Terri on dictée and memory

I had been wondering whether homeschoolers use dictée. Turns out they do.

Here’s Terri

Fwiw, many classical homeschoolers do dictee. (Writing with Skill, the writing program by Susan Wise Bauer of Well Trained Mind fame emphasizes it, for instance.)

But it’s more for training kids to hold larger and larger chunks of information in memory.

I do a version of this with my freshmen students. I’ll post an example later. In my case the idea is to help them absorb the phrase-and-clause structure of formal prose. I ask them to write the sentence chunk-by-chunk instead of word-by-word.

I wonder whether dictée exercises are common in foreign language classes.

French L2 classes use dictée. At least, French classes do here in France. I don’t know about French classes in the U.S.

Ed learned French in France, and one of the standard classroom exercises was to listen to a sentence on a filmstrip, then write it from memory. He said it was incredibly hard to do, and incredibly useful, too.

Speaking of, I did my first dictée today. 

I see why French grownups are united in mild dictée-related PTSD.  

And see:
Le Dictée

Katharine on listening in French

This makes perfect sense:

I’ve often wondered how the level of French mastery you need to make sense of oral French compares with that for other languages. French is my best language, but, when it comes to rapid speech, I often find it easier to follow oral German.

One area where things that sound the same in French–and complicate things for native and nonnative speakers alike–are verb endings. All of the following endings, for example, share the same “close e” sound: -er, -é, -ée, –ai, -ais, -ait, -aient. So the following forms of the verb “to walk” all sound the same:

marcher: infinitive of “walk”
marché: past participle of “walk”
marchée: feminine singular of the past participle of “walk”
marchai: first-person singular past historic of “walk”
marchais: first and second person singular imperfect indicative of “walk”
marchait: third person singular imperfect indicative of “walk”
marchaient: third person plural imperfect indicative of “walk”

Because of this, the French dictée is as much an exercise in grammar as it is in spelling.

I often drop in on Camille Chevalier’s French Today website. (I’ve also bought her first book).

I recall her saying that French parents “are always teaching their children grammar” or words to that effect.

I wonder if this is what she was talking about ?

btw, she has a fabulous post about teaching French to a woman with memory problems that I’ll link to as soon as I get to it. Very interesting.

And see:
Adventures in Listening Comprehension
Katharine on listening in French
Google Master on le dictée