- Paperback: 240 pages
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (January 26, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0671880764
- ISBN-13: 978-0671880767
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 13.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #331,603 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Learning Gap: Why Our Schools Are Failing and What We Can Learn from Japanese and Chinese Education Reprint Edition
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From Library Journal
Stevenson (psychology, Univ. of Michigan) and Stigler (psychology, Univ. of California, Los Angeles) offer a comparison between American (Chicago, Minneapolis) and Asian (Taiwan, China, Japan) elementary schools. Quantifiable variables include instruction time, test data, length of school year, curriculum studied, and instruction strategies. Another factor the authors consider is attitude (e.g., parental attitudes toward schooling, children toward learning, society toward educators, etc.). The writing style is informal, and sufficient statistical data is presented to support the findings. Some challenges are offered: "The American educational system as it currently exists is producing an educationally advantaged minority and a disadvantaged majority." The authors conclude that "Americans are proud of their individualism; Asians are proud of their group orientation." For large public and academic libraries.
- Lois F. Roets, Drake Univ., Des Moines
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
The book starts out with test results from China, Japan and the U.S. and shows that students in China and Japan, not surprisingly, surpass the median test scores of U.S. students in the first and fifth grades (unfortunately no results are presented for grades two through four) in a number of fields (i.e., math, science, reading, geography, etc.). These differences start small (in the first grade they are not that large) but become much larger by the fifth grade. The authors, in most of the remaining sections of the book discuss factors they consider responsible.
There are a fairly large number of such factors. Some of the more important are that teaching, as a profession is considered much more highly in Asia than the U.S. As a result the profession is able to draw on a much higher caliber of applicants. In Japan, for example, three times as many applicants take exams for teaching positions than the U.S. In the U.S., on the contrary, teachers, providing they are willing to relocate, have relatively little problem finding work (i.e., there are about as many applicants as there are positions). Another important factor contributing to Asian success, again in the author's opinion, is teaching technique. Teachers there spend considerable time preparing classes and homework and much less time than their counterparts in the U.S. This permits them to prepare higher quality classes (again in the authors' opinions) . Teaching is also much more centralized in Asia, from the perspectives of both financing and curriculum. This makes movement within these countries less detrimental to students and reduces inequities stemming from regional differences in financing. Schooling in Japan is also organized around more breaks and playtime for students in the U.S. In the U.S. there is typically only one major break between classes (other than lunch) with more breaks for "playtime". In the authors' opinion this leads to the students being much more attentive and interested than in U.S. classes. Teachers in Asia also are not expected to serve as social workers, unlike in the U.S. where they are expected to assist students with problems in the home . In Asia these problems are considered in the realm of family responsibility as opposed to be being a teacher's. This enables teachers to spend more time and effort on teaching. Asian teachers also serve much longer apprenticeships and much more closely supervised and for much longer periods of time than American teachers (who receive little in the way of training through apprenticeships).
The book also provides many tid-bits of information that are quite interesting. Some of these include, for example, the fact that American parents do not know that their offspring's are doing relatively poorly compared to Asian students. Also, American parents are much more likely to take the side of their sons or daughters in disciplinary issues with teachers. American parents are much more likely than Asian parents to overestimate their children's' performance compared with the counterparts in the U.S. (i.e., students of same age). Asian teachers receive far less education than U.S. teachers. In Asia they typically only have Bas (in many cases in China not even that) where as U.S. teachers tend, in general, to have MAs.
All and all a very interesting book. Much of the research contained therein, however, needs to be updated and expanded (unfortunately the authors' studies only looked at 3 cities in Asia and about an equal number in the U.S.) . This is especially relevant considering the large amounts of money that are being thrown at the U.S. education in an attempt to provide a much needed "reform" .
Worth a look to broaden your educational vision. Not a content heavy book but more like a novel-light and sweet.