The popularity of smart kids

This article in the Guardian on how smart kids can’t be popular reminded me of this from the New York Times on why more girls don’t do math – particularly at the highest levels where the numerical arts are most creative.

Key quote from the NYT article:

“Kids in high school, where social interactions are really important, think, ‘If I’m not an Asian or a nerd, I’d better not be on the math team.’ Kids are self selecting. For social reasons they’re not even trying.”

And from the Guardian:

One girl told the researchers: “My friends are all really nice people and have [a] really good sense of humour, and they’re all really pretty and stuff, but because they do well in school they’re not popular.”

As far as I can tell  this situation — common in both England and America — does not  apply  in China. I’ve had to explain the negative associations of a ‘teacher’s pet’ to teenagers here and from what they tell me smart kids are the popular ones.

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