Non-Western Educational Traditions: Alternative Approaches to Educational Thought and Practice

Non-Western Educational Traditions: Alternative Approaches to Educational Thought and Practice

Non-Western Educational Traditions: Alternative Approaches to Educational Thought and Practice

Non-Western Educational Traditions: Alternative Approaches to Educational Thought and Practice

Synopsis

This text provides a brief, yet comprehensive, overview of a number of non-Western approaches to educational thought and practice. The history of education, as it has been conceived and taught in the United States (and generally in the West), has focused almost entirely on the ways in which our own educational tradition emerged, developed, and changed over the course of the centuries. Although understandable, this means the many ways that other societies have sought to meet many of the same challenges have been ignored. This book seeks to redress this omission. Its premise is that gaining an understanding of the ways that other peoples educate their children--as well as what counts for them as "education"--may help us to think more clearly about some of our own assumptions and values, as well as to become more open to alternative viewpoints about important educational matters. Because it is not traditionally included in the training of educators, very few have had any real exposure to non-Western educational traditions. Thus, the audience for this book is broad and diverse. Intended as a text for both preservice and in-service teachers, each chapter includes pedagogically helpful "Questions for Discussion and Reflection" and "Recommended Further Readings." The book is equally appropriate for advanced students in graduate programs as well as faculty members. New in the Second Edition: The text has been thoroughly revised to expand and clarify points, update chapters as needed, and improve the pedagogical usefulness of the text. A section on Mayan education has been added to the chapter on the Mesoamerican educational experience. One entirely new chapter "'Familiar Strangers': The Case of the Rom" has been included.

Excerpt

In all societies, throughout human history, people have educated their children. Indeed, one of the fundamental characteristics of human civilization is a concern for the preparation of the next generation. From one generation to the next, we seek to pass on what we know and have learned, hoping to ensure not merely the survival of our offspring, but of our culture as well.

The history of education, as it has been conceived and taught in the United States (and generally in the West), has focused almost entirely on the ways in which our own educational tradition emerged, developed, and changed over the course of the centuries. This is, of course, understandable, but it means that we have ignored the many ways that other societies have sought to meet many of the same challenges. In this book, an effort is made to try to provide a brief overview of a small number of other, non-Western approaches to educational thought and practice. An understanding of the ways that other peoples have tried to educate their children, as well as what counted for them as "education," may help us to think more clearly about some of our own assumptions and values, as well as to help us to become more open to alternative viewpoints about important educational matters.

Unlike most areas traditionally included in the training of educators, very few individuals have had any real exposure to non-Western educational traditions, and so the audience for this book is a very broad and diverse one. The book was written to be accessible to both preservice and inservice teachers, but may also be of interest to advanced students in graduate programs as well as faculty members. Although both the book as a whole and particular sections of the book may be of considerable interest to educators in other societies, the book is written from the perspective of American readers and presupposes that readers are, at the very least, familiar with the Western educational tradition.

ORGANIZATION OF THE BOOK

Non-Western Educational Traditions: Alternative Approaches to Educational Thought and Practice consists of nine chapters dealing with a wide variety of different, non-Western cultural and historical educational traditions. In chap-

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