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Comparative Education Research: Approaches and Methods

Comparative Education: Some Reflections As we started discussing deep topics in our class, I came to analyze the need for comparative education in research and the practical use of it in schools. How do different cultures and countries deal with educational policy, issues, and curriculum? Can policy be borrowed and implemented the same way in a completely different context? Is educational research essential for policy making? We know that people in different cultures and nations behave different in many aspects. Is it unknown what aspects of humanity can be considered homogenous, therefore the questions of comparison and the need to sample data from a wide variety of nations and cultures becomes crucial. People in different cultures learn to learn differently, so if one wants to establish a proposition with a specific group of children, this is where an experiment should be performed with a different group of children from another culture and compare the results. There must always be compared data, since comparison now enters into the study of human behavior at this point (Farrell, 1979).
If we want to take this position as valid, there is a need now for cross-national research, however, one must understand a single country first before comparing it to a second one. How can we compare the United States to New Zealand, if we do not provide an adequate explanation or research for the United States first? Comparative data can also explain single country findings and it is fundamental for the consequent comparisons of two countries. Now, who is to perform this job? A need for people engaged in educational research involving comparison arises since it would bring expertise from different fields into the field of comparative education. The term comparativist was created for this type of research, although, there is no concrete and specific field that must be acquired to be a comparativist. Researchers contribute their multi-disciplinary origins in different fields to inform their approaches and enrich the field of comparative education. Some requirements are needed though: intimate and expert knowledge of another society and its historical development, an acquired foreign language, they must be generalist scholars, well-traveled, and they must work within broader parameters, to have a wider perspective. Considerable knowledge of systems and different approaches and disciplines are necessary qualifications to be a comparativist and engage in studying education (Phillips, 2014).
What is it that comparativists are trying to compare? It is simple to state that these researchers want to study education, but what is education? As Bereday (1964) says, education is nothing else than an aspect of life, education includes the training of the body and the training of the intellect, it is something greater and deeper than physical and intellectual training, and a moral influence as well. Education is not a matter of schools and book-learning only, so in order to study foreign systems of education, our attention should not only be focused on the classrooms, teachers, and students only, we should go outside into the streets and homes of people, and engage into the intangible, spiritual force that holds the school system.
Comparativists should remember that the things outside the schools matter even more than the things inside of schools, and govern and interpret the things inside. Once that is done, the work of foreign systems of education will result in our being better fitted to study and understand our own (Bereday, 1964). However, not only comparativists can engage in studying comparative education. Any person who has worked in education before has some wise words to say, therefore it would be dangerous to just have the words of the specialist alone. We can all contribute to the field of education. What are some practical ways to engage on comparative education as a teacher or school administrator? An experienced teacher can learn significantly by visiting another school and watch another teacher at work. A very good way to improve this learning is if groups of experienced teachers could be sent abroad to see and to judge other systems of education. This way they would return home and inform their schools if what is been currently done is been executed correctly or needs improvement. Travel is important for educational researchers as well. Travel is one of the characteristics that most unites the work of contemporary comparative and international education researchers. The movement of educational policies, pedagogies, and curricula is much of what comparativists study as researchers and often engage in as practitioners (Sobe, 2002). This travel would create a view from the outside which is relevant for the social sciences, and also have the inside perspective that is already acquired and implemented. As Sobe states, these two components (the outside and the inside) should work in concert, integrally and mutually constituting one another to improve the study of comparative education.
In conclusion, a wide approach and perspectives of research should be taken into account in comparative education. One approach adds to another and would consequently enrich the systems of education. Comparative studies should not become trapped in one single tradition and we should explore the outside world to benefit ours. Consequently, we should also compare objects that are more than the observable. More than just the sex, color, and school attendance of pupils, but also the factors of social status and other sources of social power and prestige in societies where observable traces are not important (Farrel, 1979). If somehow we can unite these ideas of the inside, outside, and external factors, comparativists and educators would create an effective system of comparative research and improve our systems of education.
REFERENCES Bereday, G. Z. F. (1964). Sir Michael Sadler’s “Study of foreign systems of education.” Comparative Education Review, 307-314.
Farrell, J., P. (1979). The necessity of comparisons in the study of education: The salience of science and the problem of comparability. Comparative Education Review, 23(1). 3-16.
Phillips, D. (2014). ‘Comparatography’, history and policy quotation: some reflections. Comparative Education, 50(1), 73-83.
Sobe, N. W. (2002). Travel, social science and the making of nations in early 19th century comparative education. (141-166).

Development of Education System

It is said that the future belongs to those who choose to stay pupils until the end…those who choose to learn out of every situation, from every man and with every possible chance. These are those who choose education…and they will lead the world to progress.
The base of a prospering society is education. This consists not only in the development of intellectual skills but also in the development of the individual through the assignment of certain moral qualities. All these aspects play a crucial role in the construction of a nation because through education one becomes a competent person and a responsible citizen.
Ada Kaleh will have a well-founded educational system in order to assure efficient future prospects for its society. As a model, we will have the Finnish educational system which in the year of 2012 has been considered the best system of the world. In 2016, this system kept its place in the top 10.
The educational units of Ada Kaleh will be a nursery, a kindergarten, a school and a university which will enclose numerous specializations. The first three units will occupy a central position making them easily accessible to parents and their children. The colleges as a part of the space university will be placed in the extremes of the ship, being visited only by those who are interested. All the units offering educational services will be provided with cutting-edge technology in order to enhance the attractiveness of the lessons .
Nevertheless, we do not want the presence of a teacher to be fully replaced by a robot. We do not wish to replace the traditional way with a completely digitalized teaching system, as we consider that education involves creative teaching techniques adapted to the own personality of the student. The transmitting of information requires a specific spontaneity and adjustment to the situation and the fact that the modern technology does not yet cope with these special situations is now widely known. The ideal manner of teaching is a combination between technology and specialized people who know how to use the provided technology.
The education will be divided into levels as follows:
Age Level
5-7 Foundation stage
7-11 Primary Education.
12-15 Secondary Education.
16-18 High-school
18 University
Notable is the fact that these categories of age are only indicative, children being able to start a level before or after growing to the necessary age. Individual skills and abilities are defining in this case not the established age.
Education will play an essential role from the first years of a child. Level 0 consists of the education the child will get from the parents. To be well informed and to offer quality education parents will have the opportunity to attend organized courses where they could accumulate precious knowledge.
In the incipient level, level 0, children will have the chance to take part in various activities which are meant to introduce them to the world and to create a foundation based on three values:
Respect for others
Individual responsibility
In our view, these three values are necessary to a citizen of the Ada Kaleh space ship in order to lead the society to evolution. How else can these values be assimilated, if we do not start from an early age?
In the foundation stage, the next level, will be the children who have gained a particular awareness of the things and events which surround them.
The unit which corresponds to this level is the kindergarten where, in groups of maximum 16 pupils the little ones will learn the letters and basic mathematical calculus. They will spend 4 hours here.
The aim of this level is to help the children to accommodate with the idea of school.
After that follows the school itself divided into three levels:
L1-primary level- consists of 4 classes
L2-secondary level: consists of 3 classes
L3-High-school: consists of 2 classes
Apart from the subjects which will be studied by pupils (scheme 2), they will also have a program of “clubs”, groups in which they can enroll in school to acquire deeper knowledge in certain passions or to develop them. These clubs will provide assistance to the teenagers in finding a future career. We strongly believe it is essential that pupils have the chance to search, practice and find a passion they can later transform into a job to bring benefits to the society. Occasionally, people of specialty from the station will be invited to hold lectures and to motivate the teenagers. Every pupil will have to be enrolled in minimum one such clubs.
In the followings, we will present a list of the subjects and of the aforementioned circles. They will be taught in a way adapted to each level and some of them will be introduced only in the upper grades(L2 )
School subjects:
English Grammar
Political science
Social Studies
Debate club: themes of contemporary significance will be discussed. The aim is to develop one’s ability to express and sustain a point of view clearly by giving logical arguments.
Leadership: pupils will learn to organize their time, to be strong and to have an entrepreneurial spirit. They will also develop team spirit and they will learn how to empathize with the others
Foreign Languages: This club is destined to the maintaining of multiculturalism. Every student will have the chance to choose the language he/she wants to learn
Music: pupils will have the opportunity to learn how to play any wanted instrument or to be a part of the choir. Their work will later be presented in cultural festivals on Ada Kaleh
Arts: they will develop their artistic abilities, maintaining, therefore, their inclination to culture
Public Speaking: the good speakers will be formed here
Space Exploration: they will gain expanded knowledge for the new environment
Theatre: where they will play important plays from the earth but also newly created one’s
Media Studies: for those who are interested in mass media. They will help at the media on the space ship. Write articles, present the daily news or make documentaries.
Level L3, the High-school is destined to the specialization of the pupils on a certain study to prepare him for the university. Teenagers will have the opportunity to choose the subjects they wish to study. They will then sit an exam out of the chosen subjects.
The university level is defined by the actual study at the university. The Ada Kaleh University will have the main unit with a central position and then, the other colleges will be located in the extremes of the station.
Crucial are also the teachers’ training programs. Educators will have the occasion to specialize themselves on minimum two subjects and they will participate in training courses every two years. We share the view that it is extremely important that teachers are always up to date with the news from their own teaching subject but also with the development trends of the society.
One of the essential values of the school system we are promoting on Ada Kaleh is teamwork. It is important that pupils learn from an early age to collaborate with the others in order to achieve collective success. One of the advantages this method has is that pupils will learn to accept many ideas and to combine them in a constructive way. So tolerance and flexibility in the attitude towards others are crucial. Moreover, they will be able to develop their communication skills, and open communication is essential in a prospering society.
The competition also plays an important role in the personal development. Therefore, we will organize contests. This way, pupils will be put in the situation of relying on their own abilities and ideas and to be independent, to trust their own initiative. Not only will they learn how to win, but also how to lose.
Through competition can the good ones be distinguished from the others. The ones that have great performances in different fields. By recognizing their potential, they could be guided to specific leading positions in our society.
The education we will promote on Ada Kaleh will be free and accessible to each and every inhabitant regardless of his nation of origin, of race and religion, because education is after all a human right!