Whittier Law Student and Center for Children’s Rights Fellow Lauren Caron was selected to present her paper entitled, “The Benefits of Approaching China’s Special Education System from a Collective Perspective” at the 11th Annual Hawaii International Conference on Education to be held from January 6 to January 9, 2013 in Honolulu, Hawaii. Congratulations Lauren!
Here is a summary of Lauren Caron’s paper: The Benefits of Approaching China’s Special Education System from a Collectivistic Perspective
In the United States, special education is largely about the individual and how to accommodate the student’s specific needs. This system has worked for the United States because of its individualistic culture and ideals. Unfortunately, this system has only been shown to work in an individualistic culture, whereas in a collectivistic culture, it is a little different. China is considered to be a collectivistic culture, influenced over the centuries by the teachings and philosophy of Confucius. Confucius emphasized respect for authority in order for a family and society to maintain harmony. Collectivism emphasizes the group over the individual, while individualism does just the opposite. This paper will examine the reasons why mirroring the special education system of the United States cannot be done in China, and will look into the implementation of ideas that incorporate helping the individual while still maintaining China’s traditional collectivistic culture.