When I was 10 years old (which seems like a really long time ago), I was still wearing hot pink Limited Too pants, hanging out with my little brother on Friday nights, and learning all about fractions and prime numbers in school. Around the world, however, 10-year-old have vastly different experiences, not only in terms of their social lives, growth, and development, but also in terms of what they happen to be learning in school. To assume that everyone's learning capability is at the same level around the time we hit double-digit age would be misguided because, according to some research done by Hopes & Fears, science, reading, writing, math, and other topics are taught completely differently all over the world.
For the research, Hopes & Fears looked at public school curriculums from six different cities worldwide in their versions of Kindergarten through fourth grade. Private schools and magnet schools were left out of the analysis, mostly because those schools are specialized and have their own standards of learning.
Here's what Hopes & Fears found 10-year-olds were learning in the following six places: New York City, USA, London, UK, Tokyo, Japan, Hong Kong, China, Johannesburg, South Africa, and Moscow, Russia:
In London, New York, and Johannasburg students are expected to understand how to to round whole numbers, solve basic equations, add, subtract, multiply, divide, and understand three dimensional objects. Schools in Moscow have integrated computer science into elementary school experiences to keep students ahead of the curve, Japanese students in Tokyo are learning to measure angles, and in Hong Kong 10-year-olds are starting to understand linear equations.
2. Reading And Writing
Reading and writing curriculums vary widely in the six different represented countries, unlike math curriculums which aren't drastically different. In New York and Hong Kong, students are learning to read and write within themed language arts classes like and learning to identify with and understand characters. In London, there's more emphasis on technical aspects like vocabulary, grammar, and developing cursive. Tokyo schools pay particular attention to teaching students how to write with proper posture and utensils, as well as develop understanding of Japanese folklore. Johannesburg's curriculums focus on a combination of many things including: listening, speaking, phonics, and handwriting. In Russia, the focus is put on mastering the Russian language, since it's an important and large part of cultural identity.
Science curriculums in most of these cities mostly boil down to basic biology, chemistry, physics, geology, and astrology. 10-year-olds in Johannesburg also learn the importance of recycling for the environment and students in London begin to learn about basic anatomy and physiology.
4. Other Important Topics
Each country has important side topics emphasized in their curriculums. In the United States, it's instilling curiosity in students about current events and how to understand them. In Tokyo, there's an emphasis on foreign language, while London's emphasis is Geography. While Hong Kong doesn't focus on a brand new topic per se, Chinese curriculums tend to emphasis homework intensely and teach students why its so important for homework to be integrated with schoolwork.
To check out a full description about what 10-year-olds are learning around the world (and whether you are, in fact, smarter than a fifth grader), check out more here.
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