chapter  8
Learning to Teach in the United States and Japan Contrasts and Conclusions
WithNobuo K. Shimahara, Akira Sakai
Pages 26

This chapter presents a comparison of teaching in the United States and Japan with a focus on shared attributes, patterns of teacher interaction, and definitions of schooling. It reviews the common attributes, and follows with a discussion of the contrasts in teaching between the two cultures. Both American and Japanese beginning teachers viewed learning to teach as an apprenticeship mediated by conversations with experienced teachers and adaptation according to individual needs. Japanese public schoolteachers are prefectural employees, with half their salaries funded by the central government, whereas American public schoolteachers are employees of local communities. Japan's post-World War II school system was established in 1947, based on the recommendations made to Japan by the United States Mission on Education. The internship program is a wide-reaching and costly undertaking by the government. It compensates for the inadequacy of student teaching, which had been a long-standing concern of the Ministry of Education.