Chapter 1. Introduction
Amy Chua is the John M. Duff Professor of Law at Yale Law School. Her book Battle hymn of the tiger mother is a typical work of tiger mother’s education. The book mainly tells us an awe-inspiring, often hilarious, and unerringly honest story of one mother who educates her daughters in extreme ways. In the book she names herself “tiger mother”. Her ways of education are called typical Chinese education, there must have some connections between these two education concepts and they all have their features. So I decide to do this tentative study, this is also the reason why I select this topic. The core of this study is to investigate the Chinese education ways which are implied in this book.
Tiger is the living symbol of strength and power. Generally inspires fear and respect. In the book Amy Chua mentions the things her daughters are never allowed to do: attend a sleepover, have a play date, be in a school play, complain about not being in a school play, watch TV or play computer games, choose their own extracurricular activities, get any grade less than an A, not be the No.1 student in every subject except gym and drama, play any instrument other than the piano or violin, not play the piano or violin. Later she tells us the details of how to educate children, including their daily life at home, their school life, how to spend spare time or even what kind of friends they can make. In the end she describes the achievements her children make when they grow up. From this we can see tiger mother is a kind of mother who can inspire fear and respect among children by educating them with her own great power and strength. Amy Chua is an embodiment of tiger mother. Sophia and Louisa are the experimental articles of tiger mother education.
In addition, Chinese educationists have done enough research on Chinese traditional education concepts. Some of them have already pointed out the connotation of Chinese education. Professor Chen Yaping said that the most important point of Chinese education was to educate, the morality education was as important as knowledge education (2006). To make children become a successful person was a primary purpose of Chinese education. The way of making children become successful person was to require them strictly (Chen Jibing, 2011). In addition, many idioms in China also reflect Chinese education concept, like good pupils are to be brought up by strict teachers, practice makes perfect. Nothing can be accomplished without norms or standards.
So tiger mother education is a kind of Chinese education which is strict, well-regulated and full-scale.
Chapter 2.Tiger mother education
In the beginning, Tiger mother education refers to the ways in which Amy Chua educates her children. But now, tiger mother education stands for a kind of strict, well-regulated and full-scale Chinese education way. It is fully revealed in Amy Chua’s book Battle hymn of the tiger mother.
2.1 Battle hymn of the tiger mother
Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother is a book written by Amy Chua and published in 2011. Amy Chua is the John M. Duff, Jr. Professor of Law at Yale Law School. She joined the Yale faculty in 2001 after teaching at Duke Law School. Prior to starting her teaching career, she was a corporate law associate at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen and Hamilton. She specializes in the study of international business transactions, law and development, ethnic conflict, and globalization and the law. As of January 2011, she is most noted for her parenting memoir, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Chua was born in Champaign, Illinois. Her parents were ethnic Chinese who immigrated to the United States. She has Hoklo ancestry and was raised in a Hokkien-speaking, not a Mandarin Chinese-speaking household. Her ancestors were born in Southern China’s Fujian province. So she is a Chinese America (Amy Chua, 2011, P.14).
The complete subtitle of the book is:
“This is a story about a mother, two daughters, and two dogs. This was supposed to be a story of how Chinese parents are better at raising kids than Western ones. But instead, it’s about a bitter clash of cultures, a fleeting taste of glory, and how I was humbled by a thirteen-year-old.” (Amy Chua, 2011, P.10)
In the book Amy Chua mentions the things her daughters are never allowed to do: attend a sleepover, have a play date, be in a school play, complain about not being in a school play, watch TV or play computer games, choose their own extracurricular activities, get any grade less than an A, not be the No.1 student in every subject except gym and drama, play any instrument other than the piano or violin, not play the piano or violin. (Amy Chua, 2011, P.11)
Later she tells us the details of how to educate children, including their daily life at home, their school life, how to spend spare time or even what kind of friends they can make. In the end she describes the achievements her children make when they grow up.
She also describes that she has made a great effort to educate her children in a traditional, strict Chinese way. Chua also reported that in one study of 48 Chinese immigrant mothers, the vast majority ‘said that they believe their children can be “the best” students, that “academic achievement reflects successful parenting,” and that if children did not excel at school then there was “a problem” and parents “were not doing their job.” It is also improve the idiom in China, “To feed without teaching, is the father’s fault. To teach without severity, is the teacher’s laziness.”
2.2 Tiger mother education
“Tiger mother” has mentioned a lot of things she had done to educate her children. Following are the typical examples she has mentioned in Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother
2.2.1 Example 1
The rules Chua has made to restrain their behavior: to attend a sleepover, to have a play date, to be in a school play, to complain about not being in a school play, to watch TV or play computer games, to choose their own extracurricular activities, to get any grade less than an A, not to be the No.1 student in every subject except gym and drama, to play any instrument other than the piano or violin, not to play the piano or violin, these are all not allowed to do.
2.2.2 Example 2
When Lulu was only three year old, Chua put her on the piano bench, then demonstrated how to play a single note with a single finger for three times and asked Lulu to do the same. But she refused, instead of playing the piano she smashing at many notes at the same time with two open palms. When Chua asked her to stop, she smashed harder and faster. When she tried to pull her away from the piano, she began yelling, crying, and kicking furiously. Fifteen minutes later, she was still yelling, crying, and kicking. She dodging her blows and dragged the screeching demon to our back porch door, and threw it open. The wind chill was twenty degrees, and she said her own face hurt from just a few seconds’ exposure to the icy air. But she was still determined to raise an obedient Chinese child. Lulu stepped outside. She was wearing only a sweater, a ruffled skirt, and tights. She had stopped crying. Indeed, she was eerily still.
2.2.3 Example 3
Chua ordered her children to play violin and piano for three hours a day. Because she wanted them to practice as much as possible, she didn’t ask her daughters to chop wood or dig a pool like what she had done in childhood. But she did try to make them carry heavy objects—overflowing laundry baskets up and down stairs, garbage out on Sundays.
2.2.4 Example 4
Chua asked her children “be modest, be humble, be simple, and make sure you come in first so that you have something to be humble about.”
2.2.5 Example 5
According to Sophia, here are three things Chua actually said to her at the piano as I supervised her practicing: 1. Oh my God, you’re just getting worse and worse. 2. I’m going to count to three, I want musicality! 3. If the next time’s not perfect, I’m going to take all your stuffed animals and burn them (Amy Chua, 2011, P36)!
2.3 Characters of tiger mother education
From the typical examples mentioned before, I conclude several kinds of characters of tiger mother education.
It is well-regulated, strict, and full-scale, it emphasis that children must be modest, no matter what we are doing we should practice more.
2.3.1 Character 1
From the rules Chua has made we can see that Amy Chua’s way of education is well-regulated. She has made a series of rules to retrain her children’s behavior and order them to follow the rules every day. Someone may say the rules she have made are too trenchant, but those trenchant rules help her children form a good habit, it makes them have a good concept of time, and make them have a clear mind of what should do and what should not do.
2.3.2 Character 2
Her way of education is strict as well. When her three-year-old daughter Lulu didn’t do as she ordered, she punished her to stand outside. At that time little Lulu was wearing only a sweater, a ruffled skirt, and tights. After the serious punishment Lulu began to do things as her mother ordered. Chua was determined to raise an obedient Chinese child—in the West, obedience is associated with dogs and the caste system, but in Chinese culture, it is considered among the highest of virtues. So the strict education way also can help children became a qualified Chinese people. Also the appropriate punishment can help children correct their bad habits.
2.3.3 Character 3
Practice the piano or violin for at least three hours a day is also a kind of manifestation mode of strict. At the same time we can see that tiger mother education emphasis on the practice. She asserts that no matter what we are doing we should practice. There is an idiom in China says that practice makes perfect, the way of education also suggests this idiom.
2.3.4 Character 4
Amy Chua asked her children to “be modest, be humble, be simple, and make sure you come in first so that you have something to be humble about.” As we all know, Modesty is the traditional virtue of Chinese people. From this we can see that modesty is a kind of necessary virtue we all should have.
2.3.5 Character 5
“If the next time’s not perfect, I’m going to take all your stuffed animals and burn them!” This is the last sentence she said to her daughter when she was not doing well in playing piano. It improved the strict of this education concept again.
2.3.6 Character 6
From all those examples we can see that tiger mother education is not only focus on study but also focus on children’s talent and skill development. It is full-scale and it brings the benefits for children to become a perfect person.
So as a result, tiger mother education has series of features. After a detailed analysis we know that tiger mother education is well-regulated, strict and full-scale. It also emphasis that no matter what we are doing we should practice more, no matter what achievements we have made we should be modest.
Chapter 3. Chinese traditional education concept
3.1 The related idioms
As we all know, China has many classic works in education history, these books have been spread generation by generation. People read and read. Finally they work out the essences in these classic books. Three character primer is one of the most important article in China. All the children in China can recite this article when they are only six or seven years old. It has become a necessary part of Chinese education (Jian Anying, 2011). In addition, Confucius, Mencius, Lao Tz and Chuang Tzu have become leader of Chinese education. That is to say, their masterpieces have become the core of Chinese education. Following are some idioms in their famous works.
3.1.1 Idiom 1
“To feed without teaching, is the father’s fault. To teach without severity, is the teacher’s laziness.” This is a sentence from three character primer. People in China all believe that their children can be “the best” students, that “academic achievement reflects successful parenting.” and that if children do not excel at school then there is “a problem” and parents “are not doing their job.” If children are not taught in a strict way, we may consider that the teachers are too lazy. All in all, this sentence tells us that as a parent we have responsibility to teach our children, as teachers we should educate children in a strict way.
3.1.2 Idiom 2
“Nothing can be accomplished without norms or standards.” It is a famous sentence from Mencius’ masterpiece. It has become one of the most important principles in Chinese elementary school. It has been told by the elders over and over again. It tells us that no matter what we are doing we should follow the rules, if we are not following the rules we can do nothing. So everybody in China knows that we should retrain our behavior by principles (Xie Shengyu, 2009).
3.1.3 Idiom 3
“Good pupils are to be brought up by strict teachers.” It is an old saying in China which has a similar meaning as “to teach without severity, is the teacher’s laziness.” Only does the teacher teach their students in a strict way, can they become excellent children. It is obvious that the same point in these two sentences is the strict education way. That is to say, strict education concept has become one of the most important principles in Chinese traditional education concept.
3.1.4 Idiom 4
“Practice makes perfect.” It is an idiom which is concluded from one of the stories told by Ou Yangxiu. Actually it is a story about a cooking oil seller. After selling oil for many years he can make the oil flow through the hole of the copper cash. The connotation of this idiom is that no matter what you are doing, if you can practice over and over again, you would have a proficient skill.
3.2 Characters of Chinese education
From these detailed analysis we know that these idioms can partly stand for Chinese education concept. From the idioms “To feed without teaching, is the father’s fault. To teach without severity, is the teacher’s laziness.”“Nothing can be accomplished without norms or standards.” “Good pupils are to be brought up by strict teachers.” “Practice makes perfect.” We can conclude that Chinese education has its own features. Parents should be responsible for their children. Strict education is the most important point in Chinese education. Besides no matter what we are doing we should follow rules, it also helps us form a good habit. If all the people would do things by following the related rules the illegal behavior would be avoid. In addition, Chinese education emphasis on practice, we advocate hard-working.
All in all, the features of Chinese education can be concluded as strict, well-regulated and emphasis on practice.
Chapter 4. The comparison between two characters
|Education Ways |Tiger Mother Education |Chinese Traditional Education | | |Strict |Strict | |Features | | | | |Well-Regulated |Well-Regulated | | |Emphasis on Practice |Emphasis on Practice | | |Full-Scale | |
From chart 1, we can see that the features we have concluded from tiger mother education and Chinese traditional education are same in first three aspects. The last point has not concluded from Chinese traditional education concepts. It is obvious that tiger mother education is a typical example of Chinese traditional education.
Chapter 5. Conclusion
By analyzing the tiger mother education I have a better understanding of her education concept. I have already clearly known the features of her education. Strict can be considered as the most important feature of her education. Also she is famous for her strict education style. We can find the shadow of Chinese mother from the sight of tiger mother. So there is no doubt that tiger mother education can stands for Chinese traditional education (Tang Yuankai, 2011).
Chinese people believe that schoolwork always comes first. Their children can be the best students in study. They usually focus more on school study and have a high requirement on children’s study. Children’s academic achievements reflect successful parenting. If children do not excel at school then there is a problem, the parents do not doing their job. Other studies indicate that compared to Western parents, Chinese parents spend approximately ten times as long every day drilling academic activities with their children. As we all know, Chinese education system is derived from the masterpieces of famous person like Confucius, Mencius, Lao Tz and Chuang Tzu. To analyze the Chinese traditional education concept, I pick up those typical idioms from their works. Like “To feed without teaching, is the father’s fault.
To teach without severity, is the teacher’s laziness.”“Nothing can be accomplished without norms or standards.” “Good pupils are to be brought up by strict teachers.” “Practice makes perfect.” After analyzing these idioms I list before, we can conclude that the most important point of Chinese traditional education is also strict. It is emphasized for many times in different masterpieces. Mencius said that “Nothing can be accomplished without norms or standards.” This is just the sentence which inspires our society to make laws, and make our country become a regular one. Ou Yangxiu has told us the story about “Practice makes perfect.” It is remembered and retold by all the Chinese generations.
After this comparison and analysis, we can easily know that tiger mother education is a typical example of Chinese traditional education. The features of Chinese traditional education concept have been showed clearly in tiger mother education. It is strict, well-regulated, and emphasis on practice.
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