最近我在相熟博客的網誌中看到介紹一書本 Freakonomics. 於是由圖書館借來一看. 它是在2005年出版, 是講一些有關美國的事情, 例如美國地產等. 部份主題的內容雖然是老生常談, 但它看問題的角度則頗有新意. 例如第五章的名稱 是 'What Makes a Perfect Parent?'. 它談及美國人教養小孩方法和它的有效性. 作者在分析十六個教導兒童有關的方法或者現象, 用統計數字來證實它是否有效. 書本第166頁摘錄如下:
According to the the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study ( ECLS) data, eight of the factors show a strong correlation - positive or negative - with test scores. The other eight don't seem to matter. Feel free to guess which are which.
1.The child has highly educated parents.
2.The child 's family is intact.
3.The child's parents have high socioeconomic status.
4.The child's parents recently moved into a better neighbourhood.
5.The child's mother was thirty or older at the time of here first child's birth.
6.The child's mother didn't work between birth and kindergarten.
7.The child had low birth weight.
8.The child attended Head Start.
9.The child's parents speak English in the home.
10.The child's parents regularly take him to museums.
11.The child is adopted.
12.The child is regularly spanked.
13.The child's parents are involved in the PTA.
14.The child frequently watched television.
15.The child has many books in his home.
16.The child's parents read to him nearly every day.
據作者(Steven D. Levitt)分析, 以上十六個主題, 只有八個是在統計學上與學生的測驗得分有關(正面或者負面). 我的感覺是以上的觀察可能只適合美國情況, 如果在世界其他地方, 可能未必適用, 不過仍然有參考價值. (答案: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15). 至於是正面或是負面影響及其原因, 讀者可以從書本中找到.
1.ECLS measured the student's academic performance and gathered typical survey information about each child: his race, gender, family structure, socioeconomic status, the level of his parent's education etc.
2. PTA is Parent-Teacher Association
3. Head Start is a federal pre-school program in the US