Exceptionally informative, thoughtful and thought-provoking, A Mirror for Americans is exceptionally well written, organized, and presented -- making it an ideal curriculum textbook, as well as an unreservedly recommended addition to school district, college and university library Contemporary Teacher Education collections. — Midwest Book Review
In A Mirror for Americans, Grove, who has written extensively on pedagogy across cultures, accessibly discusses the reasons why students in East Asia have long outperformed Americans. Following the title, his goal is for this volume to serve as "a mirror for Americans" and enable readers to examine the values that drive educational principles and thinking in the US. The author questions whether the focus on individualism is a detriment to American schooling, making it less effective, and encourages readers to reconsider the beliefs that shape their own understandings of learning and teaching. Throughout the book, Grove works to cultivate awareness of East Asian schooling practices to inspire new ideas about shifting the focus of American schools away from the students to instead focus on the knowledge to be learned. He challenges readers to imagine the possibilities for improving the academic performance of American children by reflecting on these East Asian approaches to teaching. Overall, this clear, readable, and slim volume is excellent for anyone interested in global perspectives on education that examine how cultural values influence schooling practices. Highly recommended. General readers through faculty; professionals.— Choice Reviews
In A Mirror for Americans, Cornelius Grove again shows his chops as scholar, carefully reading, digesting, and explaining, in a compelling way, what we know about teaching and learning in Asian cultures, and how what we know about other cultures can impact our understanding of our own education system. As one of the researchers whose work is included, I can say that Grove gets it right. I urge anyone with an interest in schools, teaching, and learning to read this book.
— James W. Stigler, psychologist, University of California, Los Angeles, co-author, “The Learning Gap”
In this clearly written and engaging book, Cornelius Grove deftly navigates the voluminous research on differences between East Asian and American schools, extracting valuable insights into why students in the former consistently outperform those in the latter on international tests. One key finding: East Asian schools are neither “student-centered,” as American schools strive to be, nor “teacher-centered,” as many believe. In fact, Grove says, they are “knowledge-centered,” focusing on the content to be learned rather than assuming students can figure it out for themselves, perhaps at some later point. While Grove realistically concedes that the East Asian model can’t simply be transplanted to the United States, he uses the research to highlight assumptions about learning that Americans need to re-examine if they want to provide all students with a meaningful education.
— Natalie Wexler, author, "The Knowledge Gap"; journalist
Reviewing decades of research, Cornelius Grove provides a clear reflection in A Mirror for Americans that compels us to honestly look at how education has been done in the U.S. He asks us to think if American education can benefit from East Asian values, which apparently serve many children well. Readers may be surprised how this book breaks many myths of American education and points to ways for us to reimagine a better education for all.
— Jin Li, cultural & developmental psychologist, Brown University; author, “Cultural Foundations in Learning: East and West” (2012)