Sheer Genius

Gladwell continues to discuss the different outliers that have made successful strides in society.  He groups several types of people together, such as how Asians excel in math over all other races. He also explains how students that come from low-income families still have the chance to succeed in school, if given the right opportunity.

Asian cultures stress the importance of math skills at an early age. I found it interesting that the reason why Chinese speakers find it easier to memorize a list of numbers than an English speaking person. This is due to the fact that the Chinese number words are rather brief. Each number word can be spoken in less than one-quarter of a second. Asian children are taught to count to significantly higher numbers at a young age than American children. This enables Asians to hold more numbers in their heads, do calculations faster, and understand the language of mathematics differently than Americans. Because of this, Asians enjoy math and therefore, study and try harder. My Earth Science class for example, has a great deal of mathematics incorporated in the course. There are a handful of Asians in my class that ask questions beyond what the lesson was taught to further their understanding of the material at a level that most of us are unable to comprehend. Many of these questions include how formulas were derived and why the answer is was it is. Most of us would accept the answer as it is, but not this particular group in the class. I have found that the Asians in my class are more interested and understand the material better compared to others.  I don’t quite understand when Asians are often offended when they are singled out for their intellectual capabilities. I thought Gladwell’s statement, “But a belief in work ought to be a thing of beauty” was very thought provoking. Asians should not be ashamed of their reputation for figuring things out faster than everyone else, they should embrace that their culture prioritizes education at such a high level.

KIPP Academy is an exclusive middle school in New York City that is composed of students of African American and Hispanic descent. Three quarters of the students have only one parent and have relatively low-income levels. This unique school enforces strict rules and expects a great deal of effort coming from these less fortunate students. Their day begins at seven twenty-five and end at five p.m. on the weekdays and their education continues through Saturday from nine to one. There is no such thing as a summer vacation, like we are all used to at KIPP Academy; they have class from eight to two o’clock. These are all the reasons as to why these students have achieved such great things from their education at KIPP. 84 percent of the students perform at their grade level or above, which is astonishing when you consider their family situations. Most of these children probably don’t receive very much motivation from their parents because they have their own daily struggles to worry about. This situation reminds me of the story Freedom Writers, which is about a group of disadvantaged students from an inner city that become exposed to a new world of education from just one teacher. This teacher stresses the importance of writing and how it can change one’s outlook on learning. The students would write down their daily struggles in a journal, which enabled them to become successful writers. Many of these students became the first generation in their families to go to college because of this inspirational woman. They were provided with the right opportunity to motivate them, despite their difficult home situati

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