British educator Russell Tarr tweeted an interesting article by NPR station KQED's Mindshift blog this morning about the different approaches taken by western and eastern cultures in terms of "struggling to learn." Importantly, eastern cultures tend to approach struggling as part of the learning process versus the west's tendency to think something is wrong or defective with the learner. However, I like the reminder near the end of the article that the eastern approach to learning isn't the end all. Students from China and Japan work incredibly hard but tend to lack creativity in learning.
This August 2011 FastCompany article reinforces that claim in a powerful story of a centuries old system of student testing that should give pause to test mania minded reformers in Washington DC and our state capitols. Students will thrive in an educational culture of care that offering challenging learning balanced with the freedom to play and create.