1st Edition

Learning to Teach in Two Cultures Japan and the United States

By Nobuo K. Shimahara, Akira Sakai Copyright 1995
    274 Pages
    by Routledge

    274 Pages
    by Routledge

    Originally published in 1995. This ethnographic account of teaching practise in both Japan and the USA offers an excellent cross-cultural perspective of education. It focuses on beginning teachers and particularly highlights both the similarities and the contrasting elements between the two countries. In part the authors inquire into the socialisation of new teachers in their particular culture. Chapters provide detailed accounts of how teachers in the study in both countries learned to teach and the strategies they used when facing problems and key issues such as child motivation. Both countries have sought to learn from each other’s practices but this fascinating study will be of interest to anyone in the teaching world.

    Series Editor’s Foreword 1. Introduction 2. How American Teachers Learn to Teach 3. Expectations and Classroom Control: The Case of American Teachers 4. Development of Teaching Strategies and Perspectives 5. How Japanese Teachers Learn to Teach 6. Japanese Pedagogy and Teachers’ Expectations of Students 7. Occupational Socialization of Beginning Teachers in Japan 8. Learning to Teach in the United States and Japan: Contrasts and Conclusions


    Nobuo K. Shimahara

    Reviews of the original edition:

    "Both those interested in teacher preparation and development and those concerned with comparative education have much to gain from Learning to Teach in Two Cultures. In particular, those who have urged us to emulate Japanese education in the interests of increasing academic achievement may be surprised to learn about the focus on social and moral development that Japanese teachers are prepared to bring to their classrooms.

    "The authors document a number of similarities in the experience of prospective teachers in the two nations, but they also display striking contrasts-in the purpose of education, school structure and governance, the cultures of teaching, and the induction of beginners. i recommend Learning to Teach in Two

    Cultures as a valuable and provocative addition to the growing literature on teaching and teachers."

    -Mary Anne Raywid, Professor Administration and Policy Studies Hofstra University


    "This is a highly provocative and insightful ethnographic study of a small number of beginning primary schoolteachers in the United States and Japan. Based on the assumption that learning to teach depends not only on academic training, but also on a large repertoire of cultural knowledge each beginning teacher brings to the classroom, the study provides the reader with insight into how young teachers in two countries learn their craft and how two very different schooling and cultural traditions operate. The authors wisely avoid interpretations that would imply one teaching orientation is better or worse than the other; rather, they focus on similarities and differences of beginning teachers and how these reflect larger cultural similarities and differences. The study is well written and has a style that engages the reader. Any educator or member of the general public interested in teaching would find value in reading this study."

    -Val D. Rust, Professor of Education, Graduate School of Education University of California, Los Angeles