Professor co-authors new book; examines how teachers act, think, talk
Early childhood education professor Joseph Tobin's new book, "Teaching Embodied: Teaching Practice in Japanese Preschools," was recently featured in Japan's only independent English-language newspaper, the Japan Times.
Co-authored by Akiko Hayashi, the book draws on extended interviews, real-time observations and hours of video footage that examine how teachers act, think and talk in the classroom. "Teaching Embodied" looks beyond lesson planning and what most people associate with education by focusing instead on how teaching is shaped by "a rich array of implicit habits, comportments and ways of communicating."
Organized in six thematic chapters, the book follows three Japanese preschool teachers who offer an illuminating analysis of the gestures that comprise total body language--something all teachers share to a degree, according to Hayashi and Tobin.
In addition to examining how teachers use their hands to comfort; how they use the tone of their voice to communicate empathy; and how they direct their posture to indicate degrees of attention, Hayashi and Tobin also offer a deeper understanding of how teaching actually works no matter where it's being practiced.
According to the Japan Times, "even for those without children, 'Teaching Embodied' offers cultural insights that explain many fascinating details of Japan's group society."
Both Hayashi and Tobin have long-studied early education from a cross-cultural perspective.
Joseph Tobin is the Elizabeth Garrard Hall Professor of Early Childhood Education in the University of Georgia College of Education's Department of Educational Theory and Practice. He has published many works on childhood education and is primarily focused on cross-cultural studies of early childhood education, immigration, qualitative research methods and children and the media.
Akiko Hayashi is a postdoctoral fellow in education at UGA.