How to Write a Compare & Contrast Essay in Education

Writing guide
Posted on September 12, 2019

Such social phenomena as training, upbringing and education are the main categories of pedagogy expressing its essence. Of course, they cannot be the same in all states without exception.

The main approaches to pedagogy and education in different countries are formed under the influence of politics, economics, culture, morality, and mentality of certain people. This is a real Klondike for research, so in this article, we will talk about how to write a comparison and contrast essay on pedagogy.

At the Junction of Sciences – What More Do You Need to Know

As a specific area of a pedagogical science and academic discipline, comparative pedagogy is associated with the history of pedagogy and education, Ethno pedagogy and ethnopsychology, didactics, the theory of education, psychology, ethnography, sociology, philosophy, as well as other sciences and research areas. And when you write a comparison and juxtaposition essay, you are dealing with comparative pedagogy.

Comparison and contrast research in pedagogy has its own object, subject, specific functions, and tasks. The history of pedagogy, philosophy and the history of education is of great importance for this task since it is within the framework of these courses that the problems of the development of pedagogical thought in various countries are most fully and comprehensively considered.

At the same time, the history of pedagogy, philosophy and the history of education do not duplicate the content of comparative pedagogy, which is aimed at identifying general trends in the development of education, considering the specific civilizational capabilities of a particular culture, in the context of which education is studied.

Object, Subject, Tasks, and Functions of a Comparative Essay

A comparison and contrast essay has a very specific object and the subject of study that determine the main tasks of this type of work.

The object of comparison is education on a global, regional and national scale. The subject is a comparative analysis of the state, trends, and patterns of development of foreign and domestic pedagogical experience and national pedagogical cultures of our time.
Thus, the main tasks of comparative work are:

  • analysis and description of facts reflecting the process of development of education in various countries;
  • classification, systematization, comparative analysis of quantitative and qualitative data on the development of education in various countries;
  • identification of patterns and trends in the development of education in various countries;
  • forecasting possible ways of developing education in various countries;
  • comparing and comparing the achievements and disadvantages of education in foreign countries.
  • general analysis of education systems in different countries.
  • a comparison of different models of education and educational policy, theoretical principles of foreign and domestic teachers and figures of education;
  • forecasting the probable future development of education.

Hint! Above, it was a clue what things you can compare and contrast in your essay.

In your comparative essay, you can study a fairly wide range of problems: not only the theory, content and the entire organization of education in different countries (both in the historical perspective and in modern conditions), but also the methods, forms and means of education, its organization, management, values, etc.

You can also investigate the patterns of functioning and development of educational systems in different countries by comparing and finding similarities and differences, compare educational systems and the dynamics of their development, considering cultural and historical specifics and socio-political characteristics.

Methodological Approaches to Writing Comparison and Contrast Essays

In the framework of one essay, it is impossible to study and compare the diversity of information on education in all countries of the world. There are countries that do not have a clearly defined state status in the world (for example, Abkhazia).

Despite this, it is quite possible to highlight some regional features of the development of education and its current state for countries that have some common essential grounds for comparison of the cultural and socioeconomic identity of historical development. The solution to this complex task will require the need to adhere to a combination of different methodological approaches in writing your essay.

  • An ambivalent approach is implemented in the study of conflicting trends in the development of a phenomenon. This method allows you to study the problems of comparative pedagogy, considering the contradiction between the identity and the specifics of the development of education in a country, taking into account the inevitability of its some unification in the modern world. This approach is also useful in analyzing the crisis phenomena in the development of education, which are characteristic of many countries.
  • An integrated approach is important for the identification and analysis of the most significant components (components) of modern education (for example the content of education, educational methods, forms of organization of education, educational values, main stages or levels of education, etc.). The implementation of this approach allows you to compare educational systems among themselves for one reason or another. Very important for comparing different educational systems are such components of modern education, as, for example, the goal of education or the goal of upbringing, which gives an idea of the educational ideal of the system.
  • The humanistic approach is significant for understanding the ways and means of personality development in education, its role, and significance. Here, the subjective position of both the teacher and the pupil is important, the analysis of the account of the humanistic possibilities of education in different countries and the importance of outstanding educational figures who have made a significant contribution to world pedagogy. This approach helps in analyzing the relationship between teacher and students in various educational systems, as well as understanding the social and individual position of the personality of each student in a particular educational institution.
  • The historical approach allows us to analyze and characterize education in different countries, taking into account the formation process, the dynamics of development over time and in changing historical, socio-economic, political and other conditions. When implementing this approach, it is necessary to consider historical events, which largely determined the development trends of education in a particular country.
  • The culturological approach makes it possible to correlate the state of development of education in a particular country with the foundations of the development of a society’s culture. The ethno psychological approach is based on an understanding of the influence of national characteristics of peoples, their self-awareness, customs and traditions on the development of education, upbringing and training of the younger generation.
  • Especially significant is the consideration of specific cultural conditions and ethno psychological features that determine the development of education. So, comparative researchers have proposed a civilizational approach to the analysis of historical and pedagogical phenomena, aimed at understanding the essence of a particular civilization, without which it is impossible to objectively study education, its origins, trends, and patterns. With a certain degree of conventionality, the civilizational approach is a combination and integration of cultural, ethno psychological and historical approaches.
  • The axiological approach allows us to analyze the processes of education in the context of their focus on the main values and meanings that are realized when the social experience is transferred from one generation to another in a particular country.

Using any method involves solving the main methodological issue of comparative pedagogy, which consists of what means and in what forms it is possible to most effectively use the achievements of modern foreign educational experience in domestic theoretical and practical pedagogy.

The USA vs Japan – Compare and Contrast Education Essay Example

A change in the living conditions of people on Earth is accompanied by a whole series of social phenomena that require cardinal reforms in the field of educational technologies from government departments of all countries. The modern world of global information technologies poses new challenges to society, and schools and universities are still oriented to the political and economic needs of specific countries.

Today, the interests of states are aimed at eliminating illiteracy and career guidance for young people, seeking innovative prospects and adapting national education systems to the needs of the common market. From a scientific point of view, it would be interesting to analyze how these problems are solved by the leading countries of the world, for example, the USA and Japan.

The education system in Japan is rightfully considered one of the oldest in the world. The origins of development lie in the VI-VII centuries when the mainland education system from developed Asian countries was brought to the island.

The state educational system in Japan is very distinctive. Despite the fact that the American education model was the basis of Japanese education after the Second World War, they differ in the most striking way. Education in the “Land of the Rising Sun” is a cult fully supported by family and society, therefore, the reason for Japan’s long technological superiority over other countries lies in the Japanese ability to listen to teachers and work with teaching material patiently.

The American model of education, on the one hand, does not burden children with excess knowledge; on the other hand, it tries to adapt a person as much as possible to competitive relations in a market environment. There is a widespread opinion about the intellectual limitations of the American layman, with his characteristic sharpness, business acumen, and enterprise. The obvious drawbacks of the US education system include the fact that it does not produce either well-educated citizens or professionally trained workforce. Naturally, the outpost of world democracy cannot rest on such a layman alone. A significant part of young people wants to study and gain deep knowledge in certain fields of activity, and they have such an opportunity, studying at prestigious universities in America. Thus, the country provides excellent education and jobs for the elite but does not provide a high average level.

Values and approaches in education directly affect the values of future employees after graduation. And here we can see a significant difference. Unlike Europe and America, where jobs are easily changed in search of higher salaries and better working conditions, Japan is known for its ‘lifelong hiring’ system, which creates an atmosphere of company loyalty. Many organizations call this ‘team spirit’ or ‘teamwork,’ in essence, the meaning is the same. The most important common feature of these two education systems is that it is possible to get an education only by paying for it without any guarantee of employment.

Some More Final Recommendations

  • Choose the topic that will be most interesting to you for analysis or comparison. If you are analyzing education systems in different countries, select the country that you have already visited. In addition to research from scientific sources, you will have something to say about the mentality of these people, their life values, approaches to raising and educating children, and so on.
  • Do not limit yourself to the method of comparison and contrast in your essay. Remember, we listed a few more useful methods above? Try to use them to make the essay comprehensive and deep.
  • Pay attention to what changes have occurred in education systems in recent times. Education is becoming innovative and technological, so what was relevant a couple of years ago today may be hopelessly outdated.
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