President Obama would like to know how South Korea has risen up to have one of the fastest-growing economies and best-educated workers in just over a generation. Rather than look to a magic fix, The Lost Seoul addresses some cultural differences between South Korea and the US in this blog post. One important difference he mentions is attitude. If you ask an American student if he or she is good at math, you will usually get a straightforward answer. If you ask a South Korean student the same thing, he or she won’t know how to answer. The question doesn’t compute.
The Lost Seoul suggests that the reason for this is because in the US, we equate math ability with genetic tendency – you inherit it from your parents – which is self-limiting for those who have parents who don’t believe they are good in math. And if they don’t think they are good in math, Americans won’t pursue it past high school. But in South Korea, math is just something they do, probably more like reading in the US. Adults in the US don’t stop reading after high school just because they might not have been the best or fastest at it in school. It’s part of life, in everything from sports or fashion magazines to professional journals. I found the post interesting and informative, and I recommend checking it out.