Comparative Education can be defined as the study of the interaction of society and education with the goal of identifying similarities and differences across multiple countries, or within one country. Societal factors that influence and shape education within a country include language, culture, religion, politics, health care, environment, and economics. Recently, access to large data sets from international assessments has led to a focus on how societal factors and globalization influence teaching practices, expectations, and learning outcomes.
This course will examine comparative education in a global context, with emphasis on the countries visited in the spring 2018 SAS program. Specific topics that will be addressed include the economics of education; teacher preparation, pay, and status in the community; curriculum and pedagogy; assessment of learning; remedial programs and education of children with disabilities. The course will also look at the role of religion and colonization in defining systems, curricula, and values. Language development and mathematical literacy will provide the common content thread for analyzing programs and outcomes across countries, with attention paid to the impact of globalization on traditional learning and indigenous languages. Although the course will focus on primary and secondary education, access to preschool and tertiary programs as well as pass through rates at all levels will be examined.
Field WorkCountry: South Africa
Date: March 23, 2018
Students will visit a rural primary school in the winelands area of Cape Town, followed by a lecture on challenges for the South African education system at the University of Stellenbosch. During lunch at the university, they will have opportunity to engage with local university peers. The day will end at a farm, where students will visit a creche and after-school program for children of farm workers. Touring the farm will enable students to see the labor required in the wine industry, observe the homes and culture of farm workers, and learn about the unintended consequences faced by children of farm workers.
Following the field class, students will submit a report on their experience using the “Travelers’ story” format outlined in the Marshall text. This report may be a 1200 - 1500 word paper with photos, or may be submitted as a power point presentation.
1. Experience a South African “charter school” and its teachers and learners.
2. Visit the education department of a major university, Stellenbosch.
3. Observe and discuss challenges faced by educators in a rural, farm region.
4. Identify diversity among learners in both primary and tertiary institutions.