Chapter 9: Foundations of Group Behavior ETHICAL DILEMMA The antithesis of social loafing was brought into sharp focus back in 2009 when Shanghai became the first Chinese region to enter the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). In its first year, Shanghai topped mathematics, science, and reading, by a considerable margin. PISA looks at the attainments of 15-year-olds, and by 2012 (the latest data set available). Shanghai had cemented its position as home to the top-performing student groups. This is an incredible achievement for a region of just 23 million people. Preconceived visions of Chinese students suggest they learn from rote memorization, but in fact this is not the case. In terms of memorization, the Shanghai students performed less well than the UK students. So what is it that sets the Shanghai students apart from students in most of the rest of the world? A typical Chinese 15-year-old has eight 40-minute classes each day. Despite this heavy workload, the teacher-led sessions, according to observers, are performed with total pupil concentration, even though classes can often have more than 60 students. Age- old Chinese folktales recount the successes of those who show diligence and hard work. Concepts such as being gifted or talented have far less currency than simply working hard. For generations, Chinese students have worked hard to achieve good grades in their gaokao examinations. These are the key to university entrance. The combination of hard work and high-stakes examinations translates to an average Chinese 15-year-old doing three hours of homework every night. There is no time for social loafing; individual and cultural motivators drive Chinese students forward. Questions CHOOSE and answer Arm the following 9-27. The Chinese clearly feel that success does not come from chance or class and that it comes from application and hard work. Success is not about some kind of innate quality, anyone can achieve if they work hard enough. Do you agree with this belief? 9-28. Could this approach be adopted with any great success to other cultures where this deep-felt work ethic is not the norm? How could you instill it in a group? 9-29. Most Chinese 15-year-olds spurn watching television, using social media, and playing video games. On the other hand, many of the students do not excel in creative thinking or problem solving. To what extent might this be an issue compared with other societies that might focus on the latter aspects of learning?
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