Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The Role of Eastern Europe in the Semiotics of International Comparison

Peter Greene:

South Korea is on the reformster short list of Countries We Want To Be Like (right up there with Finland and Estonia).

Maybe I'm behind on the international comparison discourse, but my impression is that we're supposed to regard the former Soviet bloc as pathetically backward following the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Thus, any time we underperform Estonia, Poland, Lithuania, etc., it is simply an embarrassment.

This, of course, forgets that these countries have long intellectual traditions on their own, and in particular were no slouches in math and science under communism. There is no particular reason to think we should outperform all these countries in all areas of education indefinitely.

1 comment:

garrett said...

I like the story of Koo writing a letter about disagreeing with his teacher. At least the teacher gets enraged when his authority was questioned. I tend to think a visceral response is better than ignoring someone.
In the blogs I comment on, in Q&A sessions I've had with lecturers/authors, and certainly in my work world, I've learned that questioning authority often gets me the silent treatment. Seems a very USA thing. Be politically correct, work your passive-aggressiveness, be an obedient contributor, or you will be shunned.
A favorite story is my South African boss talking about his son at Little League Tee-Ball. He said the other parents (Americans), upon seeing their sons strike out, my boss would mock them in a cooing voice, "That's ok Johnny. You did great. Way to swing the bat." He was like "Fer Chrissakes, tell the kid he sucks, Get up there and hit the damn ball, C'mon!" Sounds like the "child abuse" that what's the stupid name of his blog? Curmudgification? Dork Alert. Anyway, I've enjoyed hearing foreigner's critiques of living in America.