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Differing attitudes to education

THE disparity between Chinese and Western mothers can reflect the differences between Chinese and Western attitudes toward a child's upbringing and education.

Brigitte Elie is a 45-year-old Canadian who has been living in Shanghai for 11 years. She owns a company making washable, reusable eco-friendly products made from organic textiles and her daughter Naomi is a Year 10 student at the Shanghai Rego International School.

The mother does not focus on schooling. Although aware that school and good grades are very important, she considers they are only one aspect of becoming a complete person.

"I teach my daughter to be strong and in harmony with herself and the world," she says. "Because that's what she wants rather than what the family requires her to be."

Unlike Elie's international background, Xiao Yu's native Shanghai family lives a much more local life. The 38-year-old mother has devoted most of her time to taking care of her daughter Yang Yang, an 8th grader at a middle school in Minhang District.

"To get a job in today's world, academic performance is the key," Yang says. "I don't want my child to lose at the very start."

While the Western mother thinks that everyday is a learning process and they learn from and teach each other about the culture in Shanghai, the Chinese mother is busy pushing her child to achieve higher marks.

From the following questions and answers we can see some of the different attitudes between Chinese and Western mothers.


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