|Company name||Cornelius Grove & Associates, LLC|
|Doing business as||GROVEWELL LLC|
|Founded on||01 January 1990|
|Legal status||Limited Liability Company in New York State. Registered as such on 30 November 1995.|
|Owned by||Cornelius N. Grove and Willa Zakin Hallowell|
|U.S. Federal ID||11-3088724|
|New York State ID||5256071|
|Dun & Bradstreet ID||835081274|
|Postal address||251 7th Street, Suite 5C, Brooklyn, New York 11215|
|Telephone links||telephone +1-718-492-1896|
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ABOUT THE BOOK
If you’re familiar with Cornelius Grove’s 2017 book, The Drive to Learn, you’ll know that it has nothing to say about teachers and other adult educators. It's about the children.
Grove contended that educational outcomes are affected by the ways in which children think about and respond to classroom instruction. So he posed this question: In comparison with the children of East Asia, to what extent do American children feel a compelling inner "drive to learn" in classrooms? Answer: Not much! But why? The answer lies in their parenting at home, as Grove explains throughout The Drive to Learn: What the East Asian Experience Tells Us about Raising Students Who Excel.
The mountain of research findings that previously enabled Grove to explore differences in the raising of East Asian and American children has now similarly enabled him to reveal differences in the teaching of East Asian and American children in preschools and primary schools.
A “mountain” of research findings? Yes. Since 1970, over a thousand books and journal articles have been published in which researchers from around the world uncover the reasons for the academic prowess of East Asian youth. Many of their findings draw explicit comparisons with American ways of raising and teaching children. This is the body of research on which Grove has relied to write not only The Drive to Learn but also his new book, A Mirror for Americans, which reassesses American teaching in the cross-cultural perspective provided by East Asian schools.
The full title is A Mirror for Americans: What the East Asian Experience Tells Us about Teaching Students Who Excel. It has a great deal to say about the cultural values that shape the ways in which teachers and other educators interact with the youngest pupils. By revealing the nature of those interactions in East Asia, Grove enables readers to step back and reassess our American ways of thinking about and delivering learning in classrooms.
Why has Cornelius Grove selected A Mirror for Americans as the title of his new book?
Mirrors enable us, to some extent, “to see ourselves as others see us.” By examining the assumptions and values that teachers in East Asia apply to a challenge that both they and we face – the teaching of the youngest pupils – we might become able to see ourselves, as it were, from the outside. For those readers who can, it will become easier to consciously recognize our American values and assumptions, reevaluate their effectiveness at guiding us to attain desired outcomes, and formulate fresh insights about more effective instructional practices that fit well into our culture.
Beginning with Chapter One, each chapter ends with a short section entitled “A Mirror for Americans.” In it, Grove reflects on the main facts discussed in that chapter, commenting on the extent (if any) to which the assumptions, values, and practices of East Asian peoples…
- help to explain why schoolchildren there learn more, and learn it faster, than their American peers; and
- enable Americans to objectively re-evaluate the values that shape the classroom practices we are using to guide and instruct our own youngest children.
Following are two examples from the “A Mirror for Americans” section at the end of each chapter.
(1) Chapter Two is the first of two chapters that explore preschool practices in Japan. Here is one of the comparative observations in the “mirror” section at the end of that chapter:
Extent of freedom allowed: During their lengthy free play periods, Japanese preschoolers are routinely allowed the run of the entire school and its grounds with virtually no supervision, and are often left to deal with disagreements on their own. Words such as “freedom” and “self-reliance” seem applicable to these practices. By whatever name, there’s plenty of it!
Therein lies a paradox: We Americans wax passionate about inculcating in our children self-reliance, self-control, self-confidence, and other attributes of “freedom.” But when we consider our ways while looking into the mirror of Japanese preschool practices, we become conscious that we’re monitoring and restricting our youngsters’ movements, protecting them from every possible risk, rushing to intervene in their childish disputes, and insisting that they choose from among a handful of adult-devised activity centers during free play. Do these practices instill self-reliance, self-control, and self-confidence?
(2) Chapter Eight is the last of three chapters that explore classroom teaching practices in East Asian primary schools. Here is one of the comparative observations in the “mirror” section at the end of that chapter:
Constructivism: Diane Ravitch’s definition of constructivism, which I have labeled “Lone Ranger,” does not describe what’s going on in East Asian primary schools. But Lev Vygotsky-inspired social constructivism (learning via one’s interactions with others) does provide a good characterization of East Asian primary school lesson processes. It works well in East Asia because of the consistent focus during lessons on the knowledge to be learned, and because (as discussed in The Drive to Learn) children in East Asia arrive at the schoolhouse door with more receptivity to classroom learning than American children.
Americans’ relatively indifferent attitude toward academic knowledge isn’t going to change. Therefore, neither will our children’s comparatively lukewarm receptivity toward book-learning in classrooms. It’s all just too ingrained in our cultural DNA.
Surely, though, it’s possible to make changes as to the central factor in American primary school lessons. Surely we can leverage our new awareness of the centrality of knowledge in East Asian lessons to inspire fresh thinking about how the knowledge to be learned, rather than anything about individual pupils, could become the central factor here in the U.S., too.
Overview of the nine chapters of A Mirror for Americans
Click below to be taken to a short chapter overview for…
- Chapter 1. Common Beliefs about Learning in East Asian Classrooms
- Chapter 2. Where Children Learn How to Live
- Chapter 3. Where Children Learn How to Learn
- Chapter 4. How Children’s Learning Is Regarded
- Chapter 5. How Classroom Teaching Is Regarded
- Chapter 6. How Classroom Lessons Are Delivered
- Chapter 7. How Mathematics Lessons Are Delivered
- Chapter 8. Other Performance-Related Topics
- Chapter 9. Knowledge-Centered Lessons
A UNIQUE FEATURE OF A MIRROR FOR AMERICANS
All non-fiction books include a bibliography – a list of the books, articles, and other sources that were consulted by the author. A Mirror for Americans has two bibliographies. One, a standard bibliography, is in the book itself. The other – an annotated bibliography – is here on this website.
Extremely rare, an annotated bibliography is one in which each book or article is not only listed, but also overviewed. The one on this website discusses 118 of the research reports that Dr. Grove found most useful as he probed classroom teaching in East Asian pre- and primary schools. These 300- to 600-word annotations do not appear in the book because they would have made it much longer, sharply increasing its price.
At the end of each chapter is this statement:
"If you’d like more detail about the researchers’ findings, or simply wish to know what inspired the contents of Chapter [Number], read these entries in the annotated bibliography at www.amirrorforamericans.info."
Then a number of annotated works are suggested. On this website, any of the 118 suggested annotations is easy to find because a link to each is provided. For more detail, click HERE to be taken to the Introduction to the Annotated Bibliography.
1. Common Beliefs about Learning in East Asian Classrooms
Chapter One reviews common American beliefs about schooling in East Asia. We begin here because many people “know” certain “facts” about schools in East Asia, facts that actually are false stereotypes. A few of those stereotypes are presented in Chapter One, as well as two other widely believed facts that are reasonably accurate. This chapter ends with a review of key findings about schoolchildren in East Asia that were revealed in The Drive to Learn.
2. Where Children Learn How to Live
Chapter Two begins a two-chapter unit that explores preschools in East Asia. The focus of both chapters is preschools in Japan because far more preschool research has occurred in Japan than in any of the Chinese culture-based societies. This chapter reveals Japanese preschools as being where children learn how to live as members of Japanese society. Highlighted is the “pedagogy of feeling” that characterizes many of these institutions.
3. Where Children Learn How to Learn
Chapter Three presents Japanese preschools as being where children learn how to learn, i.e., where they learn and practice ways of directly supporting teachers’ efficient delivery of lessons. Also discussed at length is the nature of the teachers’ relationship with their pupils. This chapter ends with a brief overview of preschools in China. (This ends the unit on preschooling.)
4. How Children's Learning Is Regarded
Chapter Four begins another two-chapter unit that overviews the foundations of primary schooling across East Asia. In this chapter, the ways in which the peoples of East Asia think about learning are examined, in particular their assumptions regarding learning-related attitudes and behaviors, and their value constellation that links learning with moral virtue.
5. How Classroom Teaching Is Regarded
Chapter Five discloses a second foundation of primary schooling in East Asia, the ways in which classroom teaching is regarded. Surveyed are five analogies often applied to the teacher’s role as well as their wide-ranging non-academic involvement with their pupils. Teachers’ long collaborations to improve lessons (“Lesson Study”) are noted, too. (This ends the unit on foundations.)
6. How Classroom Lessons Are Delivered
Chapter Six begins a three-chapter unit revealing the characteristics of academic lessons and learning in the primary schools of East Asia, which is the principal focus of A Mirror for Americans. This chapter is devoted to “whole-class interactive learning,” the main lesson-delivery mode, and to the roles played by the teacher, the pupils, and the knowledge to be learned. Four non-mathematics lessons are described in detail.
7. How Mathematics Lessons Are Delivered
Chapter Seven narrows our focus to mathematics lessons, the most heavily researched of all lesson topics. Two lessons are discussed in detail, both of which are accessible on YouTube. General features of math teaching in East Asia are explored, as are specific strategies that teachers use to insure, via whole-class interactive learning, that their pupils make steady progress toward gaining high-level thinking skills.
8. Other Performance-Related Topics
Chapter Eight presents additional topics that complete the portrait of classrooms lessons and learning in the primary schools of East Asia. Included are East Asian textbooks (very different from ours), the key role of “The Basics” of any subject, various patterns of classroom processes, and contrasts in how educators in the U.S. and East Asia think of and apply constructivism. (This ends the unit on classroom lessons.)
9. Knowledge-Centered Lessons
Chapter Nine benefits from our new awareness of classroom practices in East Asia, enabling us to step back and think knowingly about the meanings of student-centered and teacher-centered. Both terms reflect our own American concerns; they are not useful for describing lessons in East Asia. For that use, a new term is needed: knowledge-centered. That lessons are knowledge-centered in East Asia is a fundamental educational reason why students there habitually outstrip their American peers on measures of academic knowledge and skill and their applications in daily life.