Awhile back, Jerry Seinfield’s wife released this crappy cookbook, “Deceptively Delicious” which tricked kids into eating vegetables by hiding them in everything. So, a literal spinach sundae. MMMM.

I grew up in Taipei, Taiwan, and did some early schooling there, so sometimes I think it’s ridiculous the lengths we go to to try and make school fun/engaging for kids. There is a lot of catering. I don’t think any young child in Taiwan or China is ever like, “I LOVE SCHOOL.”From my memories, school is the least fun place ever (physical punishment was still okay when I was there…), and it takes up so much time. I think there’s a lot of argument about whether creativity can come out of the Asian school system, whether it encourages outside the box thinking since it requires so much rote memorization. Honestly, I don’t think that was ever the main concern for a country trying to go from third world to first world. They just want to raise literacy rate and math skills – basic things that serve as foundational knowledge. There’s a very different mindset. And for what it’s worth, in my life, memorization has worked wonders. The pieces eventually come together. It requires more student effort, but why should educators be scared to demand this of our students? If we don’t set a environment or expectation of success for them, why do we bother teaching?

So, this week, when I reading about Zoombinis and games that try and teach subjects…. it just seemed so unnecessary. Like, why? I can’t imagine bringing this idea to ethnic or immigrant communities and seeing it fly. Well, I can’t imagine my mom responding kindly to it.

More than playing educational games, I think the most important thing for underserved communities is making knowledge relevant. This might be including more diverse histories in our textbooks, showing how math can be used to help balance checkbooks, or how literacy makes you a better poet or MC. It might mean having teachers who are invested in their personal and academic development. It doesn’t always mean serving them spinach sundaes and hoping some nutrition is absorbed.

And as for Tiger Moms, oh god, that woman has nothing on my mom. Being demanding and strict works. Single mom, 6 kids, all college bound or educated. #immigrantworkethic

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