Last night a mother brought her kid to work to sit in the common area and work on homework while she was in English class. Prior to her class the daughter was using an abacus (yes, a real life abacus). While she performed her calculations, the mother was FEEDING her. The child could not take a break to feed herself, but in order to continue her homework was being fed during the course of it. At first I was shocked, but then I realized it was simply indicative of the pressure that parents in Asia put upon their children to succeed.
Some parents send their children to a Buxiban (an after school school) where they learn English and other subjects. It is not to tutor them, but to be extra work so they learn more. Most students who attend school for 5 hours a day then go to a Buxiban for another 3-4, returning home at 9 or 10 at night. I think it is a lot of stress, but when you look at the scores on the Math and Science (compared to America) I think that perhaps there is something to it. One of my students was an exchange student in Boise, Idaho for a year last year. He said he always got 100% on his math because it was not challenging enough. I do not know if he had already had the class in Taiwan, but when most of our American students don't get 100%, I think that is something we should ponder on.