Last year I had a French foreign exchange student in Algebra 2. Periodically over the years I've had students escort a foreign student into class for a day, and yesterday an Argentinian student was such a guest (which was a real treat for my student whose mother is Argentinian).
Every foreign exchange student who's ever come into my class has always made the same comment: American students behave and pay attention much more than students "back home". This has always floored me, especially when it comes from students whose country's schools are said to be superior to those in the US (and especially to those in California). Yes, even the Germans have said this.
So I have to wonder: are the students at my school just especially well-behaved? (I do teach in an upscale neighborhood.) Are the teachers at my school just especially insistent on appropriate class behavior? Are we just getting foreign visitors from bad schools?
What other possibilities are there? I'm really curious about this topic.