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The IQ concept versus the philosophy of hard work

   The secret to the high performance of Asian students in school 
   is hard work and perseverance.  And underlying this is a 
   philosophy: the philosophy that you can do anything you want, 
   achieve anything you want, through hard work.  It is an 
   underlying belief in hard work as being the key to achievement 
   and success.  And this underlying philosophy gives a person the 
   courage, morale and strength needed in life to accomplish 
   things.  Standing in direct contrast to this belief in the 
   power of hard work and perseverance is the American philosophy: 
   the philosophy of "intelligence" or IQ --- the philosophy that 
   some have it and some don't, that you can only accomplish as 
   much as your intelligence allows.  Thus while the emphasis 
   among Asians is that a person can do anything he wants, the 
   emphasis among Americans is on the limitation imposed upon you 
   by your intelligence.  With the IQ concept there are gradations 
   of intelligence --- the genius, the quick learner, the normal 
   learner, the slow learner, the mentally retarded, the idiot, 
   the moron, etc. --- and how well one can do is limited by his 
   level of intelligence.  Under the American philosophy you just 
   find out what your IQ is and accept it.  There is nothing you 
   can do about it and there is no use in fighting it.  If the IQ 
   test says you are a moron that is just it.  There is no point 
   in working hard.  Perseverance will do nothing for you.  You 
   might as well just enjoy life the best you can and make the 
   best of the situation.  For a teacher to expect a student to 
   perform above the level of his intelligence would be cruel.  We 
   can only expect a person to do what he is able to do.  The 
   final effect of this philosophy is to weaken, to destroy 
   morale, to discourage, to cause people to question their 
   ability to do things.  And it has another effect: it causes 
   lack of confidence and creates inferiority complexes.  No one 
   in the American educational system ever talks about the 
   importance of perseverance or the power of hard work.  They 
   can't.  They believe in IQ.  That is what everyone has been 

   And so that is why the Asian students are outdoing American 
   students by so much all over the country, why the Asians are 
   taking over in our colleges, why Japanese students do so much 
   better than American students on standardized tests, etc..  The 
   Asians have not been so gullible as to buy the IQ concept --- 
   they have better sense. 

   Feb 1987

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