The Smartest Kids in the World

By Amanda Ripley

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Overall, this book tells us how other countries have a better education system while spending less than the American education system does. Ripley travels across the country, specifically to Finland, Poland, and Korea, to see what made these countries some of the most successful in education. Ripley discovers that in order to have successful students, you need better-prepared, better-trained teachers who actually enjoy teaching these children. Ripley does a good job of comparing American schools and other countries; she points out that students in America are not driven like the students in the countries she visited. She said that is a reason why we fall behind other countries. In Korean schools, she discovered that the students are used to challenge and difficulty in their everyday work, while American students are "eased" through high school to be rudely awaken when they graduate and go off in the real world.
How world’s smartest kids got that way

In my classroom

In my kindergarten class, I feel like my teacher would fit best into the category of a Korean or Finland teacher. The word choice she uses to get the students to work is very forceful, but not in a rude or mean way. I think the students in my class listen pretty well and follow her directions well. I was expecting to walk into my classroom to Mrs.B babying the kindergarteners and them running all over her, because that is what I remember kindergarten as. I was very wrong. The class undergoes difficult problems and assignments, but Mrs.B is very helpful when they need help. She tends to steer away from work that is too easy for some students. There are a few students who are educationally behind in our class, but Mrs.B gives them work that fits their level instead of making them try something they've never done before. I love the way Mrs.Bonham runs her classroom. The students know who is in control at all times, and they actually take home lessons and things they have learned from her class.

My opinion as a student

Reading this book changed my views on American education system. I have never thought too far in depth about the system, but this book made me think. Is there seriously that big of a problem with our system? Why doesn't more leaders in the system do something about it then? After reading, I concluded that a big part of the problem is the teachers and educators. They just want to get the job done, and are not focused on if the students are actually learning the material. Many teachers give the class exactly what is going to be on an upcoming test, so they can all get the answers prepared. Few teachers make the students actually learn all the material, and the ones that do are considered the "hard" teachers. I see a problem there. I do not think a class should be considered difficult just because that teacher wants their students to take something away from that class. Personally I would complain about the class, but in the end I would be thankful that I had learned all of the material which could potentially help with real life. Those teachers are similar to the Korean and Finland teachers, who are eager to teach. Without those few teachers school would be considered easy, which it shouldn't be. School should be challenging new problems and materials to students, instead of learning the same thing over and over again.