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Is Spelling Bee Excellence Genetic, or Cultural Pride?

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  • Is Spelling Bee Excellence Genetic, or Cultural Pride?

    Are South Asians "better spellers", culturally inclined to study harder than others, or merely gravitating toward an endeavor where they see their own represented?

    http://www.theroot.com/views/spelling-cultural-activity

  • #2
    I'll speak to what I think about the US...

    Well, for one thing the US educational system downplays the importance of spelling.

    When I was a kid spelling was a course and you had words to study and a weekly exam to take.

    Now we have things like "spellcheck" software and an overall deemphasis on spelling english and punctuation.

    I dont agree with it nor do I understand it but thats where we are IMO
    The fool has said...there is no God. Psa 14

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    • #3
      Re: Is Spelling Bee Excellence Genetic, or Cultural Pride?

      Originally posted by bijanc
      Are South Asians "better spellers", culturally inclined to study harder than others, or merely gravitating toward an endeavor where they see their own represented?
      Those two things are so closely interrelated as to be the the 'same cause'.

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      • #4
        Spelling is an area where a smart kid can get a lot of recognition through sheer determination and fanatic devotion. It would naturally appeal to ambitious minority families.

        Also, it seems to me that a lot of the contestants (Asian and non-Asian) who make it as far as the televised events are home schooled. One wonders about the emphasis in the home curriculum.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by jhc68
          One wonders about the emphasis in the home curriculum.
          Memorising the dictionary?

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          • #6
            Re: Is Spelling Bee Excellence Genetic, or Cultural Pride?

            Originally posted by bijanc
            Are South Asians "better spellers", culturally inclined to study harder than others, or merely gravitating toward an endeavor where they see their own represented?

            http://www.theroot.com/views/spelling-cultural-activity
            Read "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell and you will have your answer.

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            • #7
              The key to good spelling is reading, reading, and more reading, from an early age onwards.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by dukehjsteve
                The key to good spelling is reading, reading, and more reading, from an early age onwards.
                The TOE must agree.

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                • #9
                  Not just spelling

                  "...The key to good spelling is reading, reading, and more reading, from an early age onwards..."

                  One could easiy substitute the words "...good writing..." above.

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                  • #10
                    Talk of reading reminds me of one of my favorite Dennis The Menace comic strips...it even has a Track connotation:

                    When told of the " 3 R's" ( reading, writing, and arithmetic) Dennis replies, " Naw, the 3 R's are Runnin', Rasslin', and Recess ! "

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Marlow
                      Originally posted by dukehjsteve
                      The key to good spelling is reading, reading, and more reading, from an early age onwards.
                      The TOE must agree.
                      You guys beat me to it.
                      "A beautiful theory killed by an ugly fact."
                      by Thomas Henry Huxley

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                      • #12
                        Re: Not just spelling

                        Originally posted by bijanc
                        "...The key to good spelling is reading, reading, and more reading, from an early age onwards..."
                        One could easiy substitute the words "...good writing..." above.
                        Indeed!
                        As a child this TOE was force-fed TONS of literature by a harsh and cruel school system that did not coddle us with a feel-good, self-esteem-building curriculum. One of the very best things that ever happened to me. My self-esteem grew because I bore the heavy load, not because it was lessened. Modern culture may have lost some of that along the way. My students don't always love me, but they do master the load.

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                        • #13
                          You cant give kids self esteem, they have to get it the old fashion way....EARN IT!
                          phsstt!

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                          • #14
                            "Better" or More Interested in?

                            The reason I broached the topic is its analogous nature to the question- are sprinters around the world who are descended from West Africans "faster", or do they compete in T & F because they see their peers well represented there (not only in US, but France, Cuba, UK, Can. West Indies)?

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                            • #15
                              I believe the disproportionate intellectual "superiority" of Asian children is cultural rather than genetic.
                              I do believe, however, that there is both a cultural and genetic aspect to the success of sprinters with West African ancestors and distance runners from East Africa.

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