Shen, Shan-shan (Aug. 2000)

Shen, Shan-shan (Aug. 2000). Guo ji bi jue jiao yu xue. Tai-bei: Cheng Chung Shu Ju

An overview of the book (474 English words):

The book elucidates the definitions, scope and purposes of comparative and international educational fields and pinpoints the importance of international education to the foundation of comparative educational research in Taiwan. By introducing schooling structure, geopolitical and educational systems of nine foreign countries, the writer endeavors to broaden the horizons of educational reformers in Taiwan for the twentieth-first century by providing some comparative and international perspectives of theories and .

This Chinese book is composed of three sections.

Section I discusses the foundation of the ‘twin sisters’ of international and comparative education in six chapters. Chapter One mentions classification of developed and developing countries, their educational development trend, and collaborative international agencies and organizations like OECD, UNESCO, UNICEF, World Bank. Chapter 2 analyses the definitions, scope and their interrelationships of international and comparative, based on some international and western literature. In particular, the aims and functions of comparative education are pinpointed, according to some renowned comparativists’ viewpoints.

Chapter 3 traces out historical development of and paradigmatic shifts in comparative education: travelers’ tales (from ancient Greece, Roman to the nineteenth century), educational borrowing (in the nineteenth century), international education collaborations and social factor analysis in comparative education (1900-1960), social science methods adopted in comparative education (1960-1989) and fourthly, the reconstruction of theories and methods of comparative education (after 1990). Chapter 4 introduces theoretical background of comparative education, briefly mentioning multi-faceted applications of functionalism, Marxism, neo-Marxism, dependency, world system and postmodern theories in it. Chapter 5 classifies methodological traditions (its basic frameworks, social science methods) and types of comparative educational research. Chapter 6 not only sketches historical development of comparative education (as an academic discipline) under some external international, socio-historical and geo-political factors, but also provides a content analysis of past research Taiwanese literature in comparative education in the time period (1946-1998), with implications in addressing research gaps and potential research problems of comparative education in Taiwan.

Section II provides some resourceful information about geo-political forces, schooling structure, educational administrative systems and future national educational development trends of Germany, France, United Kingdom, United States of America, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore individually from Chapters 7 to 15.

Section III investigates the tension forces between international and Taiwan educational reforms in the era of information technology and globalization. Chapters 16 and 17 respectively anticipate future trends of international educational reforms, their determinants and objectives and content of global curricular reforms Chapters 18 scrutinize past current and future development of education in Taiwan, their possible causative forces, based on viewpoints of ‘comparative educational borrowing’ and  dependency theoretical framework. Chapter 19 depicts a retrospective view of past educational policies and reform rationales in Taiwan whilst Chapter 20 concludes by considering the possibility of learning fruitful lessons from United Kingdom to Taiwan by comparing similarities and differences in their social and educational background of high school reforms, implementation problems.

Background about the author:

Prof. Shen Shan-shan earned a master degree in education at National Cheng-chi University,  Taiwan and one M. A. and one Ph.D. degrees at the London Institute of Education, UK. She is currently a professor in the Dept. of Elementary Education at National Hsin Chu Teachers College, Taiwan. Her research interests lies in the fields of comparative education, sociology of education and political economics in education.

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