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« If you're reading this blog . . . | Main | Oh, my god »

June 18, 2014

"This Math Question From A Hong Kong Elementary School Test Has Adults Stumped"

You can try it yourself.


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That was trivial.


An example of school conditioning and "school helplessness". I expect the students who haven't had classroom instruction did better on the question. First, the author of the post sets readers up by calling it a "math" question. Those conditioned automatically try to set it up as a math problem rather than a perspective problem. Also, it has been widely and repeatedly documented that by 3rd grade students show a lot less open-minded and creative thinking on school topics. The earliest I've read about it is in a book published in 1886, but there was TED talk that included the same issue. Nice lesson in not taking a problem as presented at face value.

Here is "school helplessness" defined in 1919:

"In spite of the fact that schools exist for the sake of education, there is many a school whose pupils show a peculiar "school helplessness"; that is, they are capable of less initiative in connection with their school tasks than they commonly exhibit in the accomplishment of other tasks. " F.M. McMurry, "How to Study and Teaching How to Study"


Of course (American) adults are stumped. Most of them can't read Chinese. Duh!

[I'm keeding, yo. But why do they write numbers upsidedown in Hong Kong?]

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