Confucius vs. Socrates: The Impact of Educational Traditions of East and West in a Global Age

By Kumiko Aoki.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

There are countries where their basic educational philosophy is originated in Confucius; such as Japan, Korea, and China. The Confucian philosophy of education values diligence in studying. In Confucian philosophy, studying means finding a good teacher and imitating his words and deeds. Education is the corrective means to curb any tendencies to stray from ethical behavior. In contrast to Western education in which students are encouraged to engage in debate, Confucian education has emphasized rote learning and memorization. For example, in Japan, such tradition is exemplified in the “examination hell” in which rote learning for taking exams which consist primarily of multiple choice questions is practiced virtually throughout one’s early life. In classrooms, challenging one’s teacher is often considered as a taboo. On the other hand, in Western education, critical inquiry and dialogue have been valued and students are always taught of “critical thinking skills.” In today’s world where globalization affects education and the technological tools mostly invented in Western countries prevail in the global educational market, there seems to be a conflict between the values those technological tools are attempting to introduce and the values of the traditional educational systems in some Asian countries. Some Asian countries are adapting to the change well while others are not. The paper poses such questions as: is it possible to combine Confucian philosophy of education and educational philosophy of Socrates? In today’s fast-changing information society, are educational practices of Confucian philosophy effective means of educating youths to become global citizens?

Keywords: Educational Philosophy, Confucius, Socrates, Globalization of Education

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 11, pp.35-40. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 468.701KB).

Dr. Kumiko Aoki

Associate Professor, Research and Development Division, National Institute of Multimedia Education, Chiba, Chiba, Japan

I hold an M.A. in Communication from the University of Wisconsin and a Ph.D. in Communication and Information Sciences from the University of Hawaii. I have taught information technology at the Rochester Institute of Technology and research methods at the College of Communication, Boston University, in the U.S. Currently I am a researcher at the National Institute of Multimedia Education in Japan, a quasi-governmental research institute that research and promote e-learning in higher education. My current research interests are in the areas of international distance education, internationalization of e-learning, cross-cultural educational exchanges, the use of ICT in teacher training and learning styles.


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