Comparison of American and Japanese Early Childhood Education Term Paper

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American and Japanese Early Childhood Education

Comparison

Public education provides for many things in one's life, such as improved social standing, an educated electorate, and a greater opportunity for citizens of a democratic society. Education is a marker for career achievement and serves as an indicator of social equality or inequality. In most areas, education is seen as a prerequisite for professional advancement and related economic levels. Lack of education commonly receives blame for such social problems as inequities in employment, social aspirations, and perception. Equalizing education, therefore, has many dimensions that go beyond just the system of education.

Originally, most education systems centralized as a conscious effort to provide more education to more people and to improve the quality of that education. The expansion of education through the 19th and 20th centuries occurred simultaneously with the development of strong governments, allowing them to seek education standardization. In most countries, the governments ran the schools while others monitored schools run by non-governmental groups or private individuals. In all cases, however, the government assumed authority over the system.

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Centralization of the governance of education went hand in hand with population growth and urbanization. Further, nationalism and economic competition between nation-states increased the importance of educating citizens. Financing education was a function of the government via taxes at the national, state, and local levels. Countries that did not finance education lagged behind in enrolment. Public provision and government-controlled finance made education of reasonable quality available to more children.

In pursuit of improved quality and higher efficiency through standardization, most education systems became more centralized. Fewer decision-making bodies made more decisions over more domains of education. What has been achieved today is a large measure of standardization, made possible through centralization of the governance of education.

Term Paper on Comparison of American and Japanese Early Childhood Education Assignment

Decentralization occurs for a multitude of reasons: increasing efficiency in management and governance, dealing with teacher deployment, teacher payment, purchase and distribution of equipment and materials, maintenance of facilities, and the desire for people to be consulted and directly involved in decision making. It also serves as a means of strengthening accountability. Other reasons include government desire to weaken the power of teachers' unions and always the search for new resources. Decentralization allows local levels to have control of obtaining resources through taxes and community involvement - even when the state continues to finance certain levels of education.

Decentralization in education deals with decisions regarding public schooling, including who should pay for it and who gets to make the decisions. Facing pressure to reduce public spending and increase efficiency in the resources available, most countries have decentralized their systems - even in countries that have centralized systems of government.

In order to determine what should be done with the school systems in many countries, policy typologies were used. Policy typologies are by far one of the most significant and durable of the analytical frameworks within the field of political science. Originally, they were conceived by Lowi almost 40 years ago, and numerous variants of different policy typologies help to provide the theoretical structure for a very broad range of scholarship. The approach of typology, however, has some very well-known flaws. Typologies draw on their theoretical strength based on the idea that all public policies can be classified systematically and that there are distinct and very predictable patterns that are seen in political behavior.

The main difficulty for typologies, however, is the establishing of some means to be able to objectively assign the policies into specific and conceptually distinct categories. Once it was considered to be a natural precursor to a complete and general understanding of politics, but now the theoretical promise of typologies has been continually frustrated by an inability to construct a system that is valid and reliable when it comes to classification. It can be argued that a potential solution to the problem of classification therefore lies in an empirical (as opposed to a conceptual) construction of the policy categories.

The political debates of the 70s and 80s resulted in the disintegration of the western "Keynesian consensus" that had favored strong centralized governments, the outcome of which was a rethinking of the role of the central government. Economic and financial globalization also played a role. Supranational organizations reduced national sovereignty, and a shift towards market-based decision-making strengthened local groups. Together this made it more difficult for governments to garner funds for social programs. Decentralization advocates stressed the role of privatization and encouraged non-governmental organizations, in essence creating a new political-economic paradigm.

Coinciding with world events, enrolments in public education systems around the world doubled and tripled. The increases strained the ability for centralized bureaucracies to maintain quality, subsequently resulting in public pressure to shift the decision-making to local groups.

The emergence of new information technology also made it easier to achieve high levels of control over systems with decentralized management systems. A new educational paradigm developed emphasizing outputs rather than inputs, further strengthening local capacity for decision-making.

What is Early Childhood Education?

The concept of "early childhood" spans the ages from birth to age 6. Most of the early childhood education, however, begins at age 3. The education that is given to children during this time period is somewhat holistic in that it looks at physical, mental, emotional, and social education, at least if it is performed correctly, which it sometimes is not, in this country and in others.

Although the concept of early childhood education does not actually need to occur without the parent or the child's primary caregiver, the term is often used to denote an education that is given by someone who is not the parent or main caregiver. Research that has been done in the field of early childhood education as well as researchers into that field often see the parents as being an integral part of the process of educating very young children. This type of education also takes on many different forms which can greatly depend on both theoretical and educational beliefs that are held by the educator and/or the parent.

There are many other terms that are used interchangeably with "early childhood education." These are "early childhood learning," "early care," and "early education." It depends on the feelings and beliefs of the parent and the educator. One of the most important things that an educator can do for the child is to ensure that the parent is really involved in the education process, as this will allow the child to achieve the most potential. Children learn very quickly at young ages.

There are several different developmental domains for children, and they all relate to one another:

Physical development.

Perception and sensory development.

Communication and language development.

Cognitive development.

Emotional Development.

Social Development.

Recent studies into the issue of infant brain development indicate that most of an individual's neurons form when they are between birth and six years of age. If a child does not get sufficient nurturing, nutrition, interaction, and stimuli throughout that very crucial period of growth, that child may have a developmental deficiency that will hamper the child's success in preschool and kindergarten, and often beyond that.

Some of the worst-case scenarios, like those that are seen in both Russian and Romanian orphanages, show how a lack of social interaction and the development of attachments can affect the development of a child. Children have to receive both attention and affection from caregivers in order to develop in a healthy and strong manner.

There are a wide array of educational philosophies that circulate throughout the field of early childhood education. There are professionals that adhere to the behaviorist theory that was largely developed by B.F. Skinner, Edward Thorndike, and John B. Watson. Others are interested in theories that come from Maria Montessori and Jacques Rousseau. Still others are concerned with stage theories that came from the works of Erik Erikson and Sigmund Freud. Some of the theories from these individuals will be discussed here as a background to early childhood education.

B.F. Skinner held a basic opinion about personality theories. The main idea of his theory was that personality does not come completely from inside, as some think, or completely from outside forces, as others think. Rather, he believed personality to be a combination of these things. He hypothesized that who someone is, the things that they face in life, and how they react to those things all add up to create the true personality of an individual.

He was also very interested in the emotions and beliefs of the individual and how they affected the actual things that a person did. How people learn from what they see around them and how they then take that learning and utilize it was something that Skinner thought very important and understanding personality. He realized that personality is made up of many different things, and that no one thing can be definitely said to be the only thing that affects someone's personality. In this way, Skinner was very much interested in operant conditioning and existentialism.

Behavior modification therapy is… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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