Preschool in Three Cultures Review
This week's reading by Patricia Clancy discusses how Japanese mothers help their young children to learn empathy and other important communicative ideals. In it, she discusses a number of important Japanese cultural values related to interaction and politeness. For this assignment, you are to write a short (500 word) paper where you apply Clancy's analysis, including the Japanese concepts she discusses, to the video footage of Japanese preschool in the documentary "Preschool in Three Cultures Revisited" (2009).
"Preschool in Three Cultures" was a study comparing preschool in China, Japan, and the
U.S. that was published as a book in 1991. The study the book was based on was based on documentary footage and fieldwork in preschools in the three countries. The authors, Joseph Tobin (an educational anthropologist specializing in Japanese culture), David Wu (a Taiwanese cultural anthropologist), and Dana Davidsen (an American early childhood specialist), observed preschools in each country, interviewing students, educators, parents, and teachers, and shooting video footage for later analysis. They focused their in-depth research on one school in each country: Komatsudani Hoikuen in Kyoto, Japan, St. Timothy's Preschool in Honolulu Hawaii, and Dong Feng (a pseudonym) in Southwest China. Because they were comparing preschool experiences in three different countries, they wanted to ensure that their footage and data of a single school was indeed typical of preschools nationwide. To verify that it was, they showed their footage to educators, administrators, specialists, and teachers in each country where they worked. In addition, they showed the footage from each country to educators in the other two countries in order to get their opinions on how things worked in the other countries. These viewing sessions provided a wealth of additional data. Tobin worked with two new collaborators, Mayumi Karasawa (a Japanese comparative psychologist) and Yeh Hsueh (a Chinese educational specialist) to produce an update of the original study, Preschool in Three Cultures Revisited in 2009. The new study updated the first one by returning to the original schools as well as studying three new schools for comparison. The new study was also released with a documentary film about the study. For this assignment you will be watching the segment of the new documentary on Komatsudani Hoikuen. The updated documentary includes new footage but it also includes some of the most important moments from the original study, showing both change and continuity in the methods, activities, and values of Japanese preschool.
Before you watch the Komatsudani Hoikuen segment of the documentary, make sure you have read Clancy's article using the study questions and key terms. . Once you are finished reading the article, watch the segment of "Preschool in Three Cultures Revisited:"
As you are watching the documentary, think about whether Clancy's analysis fits with what you are seeing. Treat the footage as data and Clancy's analytical ideas and the Japanese cultural concepts she discusses as analytical tools to apply to the documentary. Take notes as you are watching to prepare for your write up. Once you are done, write up a short analysis in at least 500 words that addresses the following questions:
What is the Japanese communicative style, according to Clancy? Describe it briefly, choose at least three important concepts she discusses in the article and briefly define and explain them.
What is the nature of preschool in Japan, according to the documentary's discussion and footage? Explain briefly.
Finally (and most importantly) where do the Japanese preschool children in "Preschool in Three Cultures" display the elements of communicative style Clancy identifies? Identify and explain the three concepts you chose with examples. Feel free to use the footage from the original study and the footage from the updated Revisited study.
From Clancy, "The Acquisition of Communicative Style"
1. What is the definition of communicative style? How does Japanese communicative style contrast with American?
2. What is omoiyari? Provide examples from the discussion.
3. What is enro?
4. What is the difference between honne and tatemae? How are they seen as related by Japanese? How does this differ than the U.S.
5. What are some of the “sixteen ways of saying no” in Japanese the author mentions? Why is saying “no” so important?
6. Why does Clancy believe that the social homogeneity of Japan is critical for the functioning of the preferred speech style Japanese?
7. Why are formulaic responses more commonly found in Japan than in the U.S.
8. What is the “conduit metaphor”?
9. What is amae and why is it important?
10. What differences in the use of directives does Matumori identify?
11. What did Clancy study? What were Clancy’s methods? What factors did she investigate?
12. Be familiar with what Clancy says about a) listening and responding, b) directives/indirection, c) empathy training d) conformity training (why does Clancy say empathy is a double-edged sword), e) hazukashii f) strategies for saying “no” (including mothers’ compliance with directives and requests)