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May 21, 2010

New research - future teachers in Japan emphasize traditional social values

3d7f0e5.jpg Edward Hoffman, a New York-based psychologist, who has been a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo, has carried out research on Tokyo college graduates planning teaching or child psychology careers. The results were very different from the results of similar research carried out in America. The skills that were considered most important for Japanese children to acquire were politeness, expressing gratitude, trustworthiness, the ability to apologize, and friendliness.

Hoffman wrote in the Japan Times: 'I expected that Japanese education majors would answer more or less like their American counterparts, who, for over 25 years, have been taught that empathy and attentiveness to others are the most vital traits for social success starting in childhood. Because Japanese society is regarded by foreign researchers as highly collectivist, I also expected that teamwork would be a paramount social value among my Tokyo participants. Both expectations proved completely wrong. In fact, findings surprised even my Japanese host colleagues. Why? Because they had accepted their country's popular view that its youth have become "Westernized" or "Americanized" due to Hollywood movies, pop music and the Internet. Yet, it's now clear that such global forces, whatever their impact, haven't really altered basic — and long-standing — Japanese social values.'

Click here for the full article in the Japan Times.

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