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Educating Hearts and Minds: Reflections on Japanese Preschool and Elementary Education

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The question of how children become eager, motivated learners and caring, responsible citizens has perplexed educators around the world. Educating Hearts and Minds, a portrait of Japanese preschool and early elementary education, offers a fresh perspective on these questions. Its thesis--which will surprise many Americans--is that Japanese schools are successful because th The question of how children become eager, motivated learners and caring, responsible citizens has perplexed educators around the world. Educating Hearts and Minds, a portrait of Japanese preschool and early elementary education, offers a fresh perspective on these questions. Its thesis--which will surprise many Americans--is that Japanese schools are successful because they meet children's needs for friendship, belonging, and contribution. This book brings to life what actually happens inside Japanese classrooms. In a sharp departure from most previous accounts, this book suggests that Japanese education succeeds because all children--not just the brightest or best-behaved--somehow come to feel like valued members of the school community. Ironically, Japanese teachers credit John Dewey and other progressive Western educators for many of the techniques that make Japanese schools both caring and challenging, but that never caught on in this country. This book brings to Americans the voices of Japanese classroom teachers--voices that are at once deeply consonant with American aspirations and deeply provocative.


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The question of how children become eager, motivated learners and caring, responsible citizens has perplexed educators around the world. Educating Hearts and Minds, a portrait of Japanese preschool and early elementary education, offers a fresh perspective on these questions. Its thesis--which will surprise many Americans--is that Japanese schools are successful because th The question of how children become eager, motivated learners and caring, responsible citizens has perplexed educators around the world. Educating Hearts and Minds, a portrait of Japanese preschool and early elementary education, offers a fresh perspective on these questions. Its thesis--which will surprise many Americans--is that Japanese schools are successful because they meet children's needs for friendship, belonging, and contribution. This book brings to life what actually happens inside Japanese classrooms. In a sharp departure from most previous accounts, this book suggests that Japanese education succeeds because all children--not just the brightest or best-behaved--somehow come to feel like valued members of the school community. Ironically, Japanese teachers credit John Dewey and other progressive Western educators for many of the techniques that make Japanese schools both caring and challenging, but that never caught on in this country. This book brings to Americans the voices of Japanese classroom teachers--voices that are at once deeply consonant with American aspirations and deeply provocative.

41 review for Educating Hearts and Minds: Reflections on Japanese Preschool and Elementary Education

  1. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    The topic seems narrow--an pedogical study of early education in one country--but its implications are vast. It describes how children learn critical thinking and empathy/compassion, the two traits that (it seems to me) best serve our world. NOTE: The author is simply describing Japanese education, not comparing it to that anywhere else. But I will mention that measurements of Japanese students in various subjects indicate high-level comprehension. Key points: 1) Preschool is play. Children play in The topic seems narrow--an pedogical study of early education in one country--but its implications are vast. It describes how children learn critical thinking and empathy/compassion, the two traits that (it seems to me) best serve our world. NOTE: The author is simply describing Japanese education, not comparing it to that anywhere else. But I will mention that measurements of Japanese students in various subjects indicate high-level comprehension. Key points: 1) Preschool is play. Children play indoors, outdoors in the mud, supervised or unsupervised; this is punctuated by brief, highly structured formalities. There are also longer sessions of "reflection", wherein the teacher leads a discussion of that day's incidents, eliciting students' observations and ideas for problem-solving. The main goal of preschool is helping kids to enjoy and listen to each other. Teachers do not generally scold or punish students. 2) Elementary school continues the theme of community-building and reflection (now including both social and academic topics). Students make up their own classroom rules, after the teacher has let them "bump up against each other" for a few weeks, in order to feel the need for order. 3) By placing social goals AHEAD of academic goals, teachers help students to enjoy school and feel comfortable discussing complex ideas. A teacher might spend 10 minutes getting the kids emotionally "hooked" into a lesson before actually doing academic work--and so, being invested, the kids learn deeply. 4) Teachers do not use rewards and punishments (sticker charts, national exams, etc.) The emphasis is on building a child's bonds with classmates and helping him to internalize values. It works. In conclusion: If we want our future leaders to be both wise and kind, we need to make sure that every child is well educated.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Welborn

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

  5. 4 out of 5

    lorena ortega

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nguyen Khoa Huan

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tatum

  8. 5 out of 5

    Deann Armstrong

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kellen

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  11. 5 out of 5

    Carla

  12. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ngoc

  14. 4 out of 5

    Nguyen Vy

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jude

  16. 5 out of 5

    Stanislaw Pstrokonski

  17. 4 out of 5

    Joseph Gorski

  18. 5 out of 5

    Teresawynne3

  19. 4 out of 5

    Panna

  20. 4 out of 5

    Devon

  21. 5 out of 5

    Melon109

  22. 4 out of 5

    Anika

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sophie

  24. 5 out of 5

    Molly

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nadia

  26. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Frank

  27. 5 out of 5

    Revanth

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chris Lim

  29. 4 out of 5

    Janet

  30. 5 out of 5

    Tip

  31. 5 out of 5

    Muycheng Sok

  32. 4 out of 5

    Carol Mann Agency

  33. 4 out of 5

    Dandan Chen

  34. 4 out of 5

    Abi Inman

  35. 5 out of 5

    Kristina Burbaite

  36. 4 out of 5

    Julia

  37. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

  38. 5 out of 5

    Erica

  39. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Basler

  40. 4 out of 5

    Ben

  41. 4 out of 5

    May

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