1st Generation Immigrants Provided an Environment and Best Practices in Raising Smart Kids

Smart Asian Kids play musical instrument

May is the month of school graduations.  In many ceremonies audience will witness many kids of different backgrounds receive honors and awards.  Out of the ordinary, they will hear an Asian kid is one of the top of the class despite being a minority.

After conversations and observations with many of my first generation Asian-American friends, I found out certain practices and methods that may contribute why their kids are smart.  I did some internet research to get some scientific explanation behind them too. The links are provided for you to know more. Just click on it at your convenience.

Music.  

In all first generation Asian-American homes that I visited, there is a piano.  The well-to-do immigrants have a grand piano.  Those who just immigrated have an electronic keyboard.   In my local elementary school talent show, the Asian kids play violin, cello, and piano.  In every recital I attended, I always see Asian kids playing an instrument.  There is something in the Asian culture that the kids have to play a musical instrument.

Several studies have confirmed that music directly enhances learning through increased spatial development. Math and reading are improved by learning rhythms and decoding notes and symbols. So there appears to be cross disciplinary learning in music.

Discipline.

First generation Asian families are very strict in their study time.  TV, iPad, and Game console are off Monday through Friday. Computer is used for research and study only during weekdays.  Completion of homework is the top priority.  If the homework is complete, they are expected to advance to the next chapter of the book.  

The good study habits will bring success when the courses become difficult. Kids with discipline will prevail in High School Advance Placement (AP) and College courses.

Spiritual.

Live Science study concluded that kids with religious parents are better behaved and adjusted than other children, according to a new study that is the first to look at the effects of religion on young child development.  Also, The kids whose parents regularly attended religious services—especially when both parents did so frequently—and talked with their kids about religion were rated by both parents and teachers as having better self-control, social skills and approaches to learning than kids with non-religious parents.

First generation Asian families are religious.  Many of them come from poverty stricken country and religion is part of their culture which makes their faith very strong.  Their spirituality brings balance to their child development.

Contentment.

Asian families are the most contented people in the world.  Contentment = Happiness.  The happiness in the family reflects on the child.  Happy kids perform better in school. It is the belief in United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) that a child that is happy will learn better and faster.

Environment.

Have you seen an Asian begging for food in America?  Or homeless or in the shelter? If yes, that’s a rarity.  They come to this country with nothing, and work their way up through grit and hard work. They put themselves in the nice neighborhood in the country with Blue Ribbon School District.  Many send their kids to private school and in the top universities in the country.  The parent of  Emily Tay, thought the only university they knew is Harvard before coming to America. Emily is a Harvard graduate, and a basketball star.  

Encouragement.

Asian parents challenge their kids to take advance courses or gifted programs.  They believe in their kids that by taking the difficult courses will make them better and ahead than the rest. There are some expectations to get high grades in all subjects. I found out from my conversation with my first generation Asian-American friends that their children are not forced but are encouraged to be the best in their academics along with their guidance and support.

Sleep.  

Because watching TV and playing computer games are not allowed in the Asian homes during weekdays, there’s nothing much else to do after dinner and homework are complete...but to sleep.

Science Daily concluded that students' sleep is inadequate, irregular and of poor quality, and all result in worsened academic performance. Over-use and availability of caffeinated beverages, the presence on campuses of all-night study areas and poor time-management all contribute to students' sleep deprivation.

Nikken Sleep System is Japanese technology that is scientifically designed to increase relaxation and support a variety of physical and mental functions for restful and restorative sleep.

Reading.

The first generation Asian-Americans do not read to their kids.  They read with them.  This method helps build the child reading skills. And, it’s a two way learning for both parent and child. Because the parent’s vocabulary is limited, they equip themselves with dictionary and thesaurus to define words and phrases.  This practice provides early literacy development of the Asian kids.

Nutrition.

Asian food is high-carb diet because rice is the main staple food. They are big on green leafy vegetables. They take with them the menu from their homelands which are actually very healthy.  The high-carb diet is superior to improving cognitive performance which is the mental act or process by which knowledge is acquired, including perception, intuition, and reasoning according to Medscape.

Learning.

No pun intended. Asians do not follow instructions.  Most of their learning is from trial and error. Sometimes this is costly and time-consuming, but many of them learned their lesson very well. The knowledge sticks to their brain. It seems there is much fun in learning by doing it the hard way than following rigid instructions --- this is called Active Learning.

Cornell University is engaging their students in Active Learning into the classroom which brings excitement to learning.

Exercise.

There is a correlation between sports and learning.  Scientific American research shows that when we exercise, blood pressure and blood flow increase everywhere in the body, including the brain. More blood means more energy and oxygen, which makes our brain perform better.

Asians are becoming aware that fitness is vital to their life and child development.  I see many Asian kids in swimming programs and competitions in my local Swim America program.

Why I focused on the first generation Asian-American?

I focused on the first generation Asian-American families because that who I know the most.
My first generation Asian-American friends knew other Asian-American kids whose parents are second and third generation who were compared by their classmates.  It may not sound right…. but reality is not all Asian-American kids are smart.

Therefore, every student regardless of ethnicity has the potential to be smart because of the best practices he/she gets from home, and environment where he/she is nurtured along with the support and guidance of his/her parent.

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