Adolescence, stage of maturation between childhood and adulthood. The term denotes the period from the beginning of puberty to maturity; it usually starts at about age 14 in males and age 12 in females. The transition to adulthood varies among cultures, but it is generally defined as the time when individuals begin to function independently of their parents.


Dramatic changes in physical stature and features are associated with the onset of pubescence. The activity of the pituitary gland at this time results in the increased secretion of hormones, with widespread physiological effects. Growth hormone produces a rapid growth spurt, which brings the body close to its adult height and weight in about two years. The growth spurt occurs earlier among females than males, also indicating that females mature sexually earlier than males. Attainment of sexual maturity in girls is marked by the onset of menstruation and in boys by the production of semen. The main hormones governing these changes are androgen in males and oestrogen in females, substances also associated with the appearance of secondary sex characteristics: facial, body, and pubic hair and a deepening voice in males; pubic and body hair, enlarged breasts, and broader hips in females. Physical changes may be related to psychological adjustment; some studies suggest that earlier-maturing individuals are better adjusted than their later-maturing contemporaries.

See also Growth, Human.


No dramatic changes take place in intellectual functions during adolescence. The ability to understand complex problems develops gradually. The French psychologist Jean Piaget determined that adolescence is the beginning of the stage of formal operational thought, which may be characterized as thinking that involves deductive logic. Piaget assumed that this stage occurs among all people regardless of educational or related experiences. Research evidence, however, does not support this hypothesis; it shows that the ability of adolescents to solve complex problems is a function of accumulated learning and education.


The physical changes that occur at pubescence are responsible for the appearance of the sex drive. The gratification of sex drives is still complicated by many social taboos, as well as by a lack of accurate knowledge about sexuality. Since the 1960s, however, sexual activity has increased among adolescents; recent studies show that almost 50 percent of adolescents under the age of 15 and 75 percent under the age of 19 reports having had sexual intercourse. Despite their involvement in sexual activity, some adolescents are not interested in, or knowledgeable about, birth-control methods or the symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases. Consequently, the rate of illegitimate births and the incidence of venereal disease are increasing.


The American psychologist G. Stanley Hall asserted that adolescence is a period of emotional stress, resulting from the rapid and extensive physiological changes occurring at pubescence. The German-born American psychologist Erik Erikson sees development as a psychosocial process going on through life.

The psychosocial task of adolescence is to develop from a dependent to an independent person, whose identity allows the person to relate to others in an adult fashion (intimacy). The occurrence of emotional problems varies among adolescents.

See also Child Psychology.

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Educational Psychology


Educational Psychology, field of psychology concerned with the development, learning, and behaviour of children and young people as students in schools, colleges, and universities. It includes the study of children within the family and other social settings, and also focuses on students with disabilities and special educational needs. Educational psychology is concerned with areas of education and psychology which may overlap, particularly child development, evaluation and assessment, social psychology, clinical psychology, and educational policy development and management.


In the 1880s the German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus developed techniques for the experimental study of memory and forgetting. Before Ebbinghaus, these higher mental processes had never been scientifically studied; the importance of this work for the practical world of education was immediately recognized.

In the late 1890s William James of Harvard University examined the relationship between psychology and teaching. James, who was influenced by Charles Darwin, was interested in how people’s behaviour adapted to different environments. This functional approach to behavioural research led James to study practical areas of human endeavour, such as education.

James’s student Edward Lee Thorndike is usually considered to be the first educational psychologist. In his book Educational Psychology (1903), he claimed to report only scientific and quantifiable research. Thorndike made major contributions to the study of intelligence and ability testing, mathematics and reading instruction, and the way learning transfers from one situation to another. In addition, he developed an important theory of learning that describes how stimuli and responses are connected.


Educational psychology has changed significantly over the 20th century. Early investigations of children as learners and the impact of different kinds of teaching approaches were largely characterized by attempts to identify general and consistent characteristics. The approaches used varied considerably. Jean Piaget, for example, recorded the development of individuals in detail, assessing changes with age and experience. Others, such as Robert Gagné, focused on the nature of teaching and learning, attempting to lay down taxonomies of learning outcomes. Alfred Binet and Cyril Burt were interested in methods of assessing children’s development and identifying those children considered to be of high or low general intelligence.

This work led to productive research which refined the theories of development, learning, instruction, assessment, and evaluation, and built up an increasingly detailed picture of how students learn. Educational psychology became an essential part of the training of teachers, who for several generations were instructed in the theories emanating from its research to help train them in classroom teaching practice.

A Changing Approaches

Recently the approach of educational psychology has changed significantly in the United Kingdom, as has its contribution to teacher education. In part these changes reflect political decisions to alter the pattern of teacher training: based on the belief that theory is not useful, and that “hands-on” training is preferable. However, discipline and teacher education have each been changing of their own accord. Moving away from the emphasis on all-encompassing theories, such as those of Jean Piaget, Sigmund Freud, and B. F. Skinner, the concerns of educational psychologists have shifted to practical issues and problems faced by the learner or the teacher. Consequently, rather than, for example, impart to teachers in training Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning, and then seek ways of their applying it in classrooms, educational psychologists have tended to begin with the practical issues—how to teach reading; how to differentiate a curriculum (a planned course of teaching and learning) across a range of children with differing levels of achievement and needs; and how to manage discipline in classrooms.

Theory-driven research increasingly suggested that more elaborated conceptions of development were required. For example, the earlier work on intelligence by Binet, Burt, and Lewis Madison Terman focused on the assessment of general intelligence, while recognizing that intellectual activity included verbal reasoning skills, general knowledge, and non-verbal abilities such as pattern recognition. More recently the emphasis has shifted to accentuate the differing profiles of abilities, or “multiple intelligences” as proposed by the American psychologist Howard Gardner, who argues that there is good evidence for at least seven, possibly more, intelligences including kinaesthetic and musical as well as the more traditionally valued linguistic and logico-mathematical types of intelligence.

There has also been a shift in emphasis from the student as an individual to the student in a social context, at all levels from specific cognitive (thinking and reasoning) abilities to general behaviour. For example, practical intelligence and its links with “common sense” have been addressed and investigations made into how individuals may have relatively low intelligence as measured by conventional intelligence tests, yet be seen to be highly intelligent in everyday tasks and “real-life” settings. Recognition of the impact of the environment on a child’s general development has been informed by research on the effects of poverty, socio-economic status, gender, and cultural diversity, together with the effects of schooling itself. Also, the emphasis has changed from one of regarding differences in their performance on specific tasks as deficits compared with some norm, to an appreciation that deficits in performance may reflect unequal opportunity, or that differences may even reflect a positive diversity.

It is now apparent that there are also important biological factors determined by a child’s genetic make-up and its prenatal existence, as well as social factors concerned with the family, school, and general social environment. Because these various factors all interact uniquely in the development of an individual, consequently there are limitations in the possible applicability of any one theory in educational psychology.


Professional educational psychologists (EPs) draw upon theory and research from other disciplines in order to benefit individual children, their families, and educational institutions, particularly schools through the following activities:

A Individual Children

An EP may be asked to advise a parent on how to deal with a pre-school child with major temper tantrums; to assess a young child with profound and multiple disabilities; to advise teachers on the nature of a 7-year-old’s reading difficulties; to advise teachers and parents on an adolescent’s problematic behaviour; to undertake play therapy with an 8-year-old who has been sexually and physically abused; or to give an adolescent counselling or psychotherapy.

In each case there is an assessment to identify the nature of the problem, followed by an intervention appropriate to this analysis. The assessment may include the use of standardized tests of cognitive abilities, not necessarily to derive an Intelligence Quotient (IQ) but to investigate a range of aspects of intellectual development; informal assessment and standardized tests of attainment (such as reading and spelling); interviews; observation of the child in class, or with parents or friends; or methods designed to understand the child’s view of their world, including play and structured pictures and tasks where the child arranges the materials to represent their own views of family, or other social arrangements. The interventions (planned procedures) may be equally wide-ranging. In some cases the EP will try to help key adults to understand the child and the nature of the problem. In other cases, more direct advice may be given on how to handle disturbing aspects of a child’s behaviour. In other instances the EPs may advise or produce a specific programme of work, counselling, or behaviour change, which they might implement directly, or they may advise on and monitor the practices of teachers and parents.

In some instances the main basis for advice might be evidence obtained from research on child development; or evidence on intellectual development and its assessment in ethnic minority populations; or theories of learning and instruction as applied to helping a child with literacy difficulties; or theories of counselling or psychotherapeutic intervention may help an adolescent with significant emotional problems. EPs normally work collaboratively with teachers and parents, and with medical and other colleagues. They play a major role in providing advice to local education authorities or school districts in those countries which make statutory assessments of students’ special educational needs.

B Institutions

Often the involvement of an EP with an individual child in a school will lead teachers to recognize that the same issues apply more generally. For example, other children may also have similar learning difficulties or problems in controlling aggression. The EP may then provide a consultancy service to the teacher or school. In some cases this service may be sought direct, for example when a new headteacher wishes to review a previous assessment or the school’s current behaviour policy. Research has indicated, for example, how schools can reduce bullying, improve pupil performance by rearranging classrooms, for example, and optimize the inclusion of children with special educational needs.


Educational psychology continues to provide a major basis for the initial education of teachers, particularly in management of learning and behaviour, but also on curriculum design, with special attention given to the needs of individual children. Increasingly, educational psychology is also contributing to student teachers’ understanding of the school as a system and the importance of this wider perspective for optimizing their performance; to their professional development by helping them analyse their own practice, beliefs, and attitudes and, once they begin the practice of teaching, to their continuing professional development based on experience in schools—particularly in areas such as special needs and disability. The impact of information technology and the increasing development of inclusive education provide particular challenges.

Contributed By:
Geoff Lindsay

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Animal Behaviour


Animal Behaviour, the way different kinds of animals behave, which has fascinated inquiring minds since at least the time of Plato and Aristotle. Particularly intriguing has been the ability of simple creatures to perform complicated tasks—weave the web, build a nest, sing a song, find a home, or capture food—at just the right time with little or no instruction. Such behaviour can be viewed from two quite different perspectives, discussed below: either animal learn everything they do (from “nurture”), or they know what to do instinctively (from “nature”). Neither extreme has proved to be correct.


Until recently the dominant school in behavioural theory has been behaviourism, whose best-known figures are J. B. Watson and B. F. Skinner. Strict behaviourists hold that all behaviour, even breathing and the circulation of blood, according to Watson, is learned; they believe that animals are, in effect, born as blank slates upon which chance and experience are to write their messages. Through conditioning, they believe, an animal’s behaviour is formed. Behaviourists recognize two sorts of conditioning: classical and operant.

In the late 19th century the Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov discovered classical conditioning while studying digestion. He found that dogs automatically salivate at the sight of food—an unconditioned response to an unconditioned stimulus, to use his terminology. If Pavlov always rang a bell when he offered food, the dogs began slowly to associate this irrelevant (conditioned) stimulus with the food. Eventually, the sound of the bell alone could elicit salivation. Hence, the dogs had learned to associate a certain cue with food. Behaviourists see salivation as a simple reflex behaviour—something like the knee-jerk reflex doctors trigger when they tap a patient’s knee with a hammer.

The other category, operant conditioning, works on the principle of punishment or reward. In operant conditioning a rat, for example, is taught to press a bar for food by first being rewarded for facing the correct end of the cage, next being rewarded only when it stands next to the bar, then only when it touches the bar with its body, and so on, until the behaviour is shaped to suit the task. Behaviourists believe that this sort of trial-and-error learning, combined with the associative learning of Pavlov, can serve to link any number of reflexes and simple responses into complex chains that depend on whatever cues nature provides. To an extreme behaviourist, then, animals must learn all the behavioural patterns that they need to know.


In contrast, ethology—a discipline that developed in Europe—holds that much of what animals know is innate (instinctive). A particular species of digger wasp, for example, finds and captures only honey bees. With no previous experience a female wasp will excavate an elaborate burrow, find a bee, paralyse it with a careful and precise sting to the neck, navigate back to her inconspicuous home, and, when the larder has been stocked with the correct number of bees, lay an egg on one of them and seal the chamber.

The female wasp’s entire behaviour is designed so that she can function in a single specialized way. Ethologists believe that this entire behavioural sequence has been programmed into the wasp by its genes at birth and that, in varying degrees, such patterns of innate guidance may be seen throughout the animal world. Extreme ethnologists have even held that all novel behaviours result from maturation—flying in birds, for example, which requires no learning but is delayed until the chick is strong enough—or imprinting, a kind of automatic memorization discussed below.

The three Nobel Prize-winning founders of ethology—Konrad Lorenz of Austria, Nikolaas Tinbergen of the Netherlands, and Karl von Frisch of Germany—uncovered four basic strategies by which genetic programming helps direct the lives of animals: sign stimuli (frequently called releasers), motor programs, drive, and programmed learning (including imprinting).


Sign stimuli are crude, sketchy cues that enable animals to recognize important objects or individuals when they encounter them for the first time. Baby herring gulls, for example, must know from the outset to whom they should direct their begging calls and pecks in order to be fed. An adult returning to the nest with food holds its bill downwards and swings it back and forth in front of the chicks. The baby gulls peck at the red spot on the tip of the bill, causing the parent to regurgitate a meal. The young chick’s recognition of a parent is based entirely on the sign stimulus of the bill’s vertical line and red spot moving horizontally. A wooden model of the bill works as well as the real parent; a knitting needle with a spot is more effective than either in getting the chicks to respond.

Sign stimuli need not be visual. The begging call that a chick produces is a releaser for its parents’ feeding behaviour. The special scent, or pheromone, emitted by female moths is a sign stimulus that attracts males. Tactile (touch) and even electrical sign stimuli are also known.

The most widespread uses of sign stimuli in the animal world are in communication, hunting, and predator avoidance. The young of most species of snake-hunting birds, for instance, innately recognize and avoid deadly coral snakes; young fowl and ducklings are born able to recognize and flee from the silhouette of hawks. Similar sign stimuli are often used in food gathering. The bee-hunting wasp recognizes honey bees by means of a series of releasers: the odour of the bee attracts the wasp upwind; the sight of any small, dark object guides it to the attack; and, finally, the odour of the object as the wasp prepares to sting determines whether the attack will be completed.

This use of a series of releasers, one after the other, greatly increases the specificity of what are individually crude and schematic cues; it is a strategy frequently employed in communication and is known as display. Most animal species are solitary except when courting and rearing young. To avoid confusion, the signals that identify the sex and species of an animal’s potential mate must be clear and unambiguous (see Courtship below).


A second major discovery by ethologists is that many complex behaviours come pre-packaged as motor programs—self-contained circuits able to direct the coordinated movements of many different muscles to accomplish a task. The courtship dancing of sticklebacks, the stinging action of wasps, and the pecking of gull chicks are all motor programs.

The first motor program analysed in much detail was the egg-rolling response of geese. When a goose sees an egg outside its nest, it stares at the egg, stretches its neck until its bill is just on the other side of the egg, and then gently rolls the egg back into the nest. At first glance this seems a thoughtful and intelligent piece of behaviour, but it is in fact a mechanical motor program; almost any smooth, rounded object (the sign stimulus) will release the response. Furthermore, removal of the egg once the program has begun does not stop the goose from finishing its neck extension and delicately rolling the non-existent object into the nest.

Such a response is one of a special group of motor programs known as fixed-action patterns. Programs of this class are wholly innate, although they are frequently wired so that some of the movements are adjusted automatically to compensate for unpredictable contingencies, such as the roughness and slope of the ground the goose must nudge the egg across. Apparently, the possible complexity of such programs is almost unlimited; birds’ nests and the familiar beautiful webs of orb-weaving spiders are examples.

Another class of motor programs is learned. In the human species walking, swimming, bicycle riding, and shoe tying, for example, begin as laborious efforts requiring full, conscious attention. After a time, however, these activities become so automatic that, like innate motor programs, they can be performed unconsciously and without normal feedback. This need for feedback in only the early stages of learning is widespread. Both songbirds and humans, for example, must hear themselves as they begin to vocalize, but once song or speech is mastered, deafness has little effect. The necessary motor programs have been wired into the system.


The third general principle of ethology is drive. Animals know when to migrate, when (and how) to court one another, when to feed their young, and so on. In most animals these abilities are behavioural units that are switched on or off as appropriate. Geese, for example, will only roll eggs from about a week before egg laying until a week after the young have hatched. At other times eggs have no meaning to them.

The switching on and off of these programs often involves complex inborn releasers and timers. In birds, preparations for spring migration, as well as the development of sexual dimorphisms (separate forms), territorial defence, and courtship behaviour, are all triggered by the lengthening period of daylight. This alters hormone levels in the blood, thereby triggering each of these dramatic but essential changes in behaviour.

In general, however, no good explanation exists for the way in which motivation is continually modulated over short periods in an animal’s life. A cat will stalk small animals or toys even though it is well supplied with food. Deprived of all stimuli, its threshold (the quality of stimulus required to elicit a behaviour) will drop sufficiently so that thoroughly bored cats will stalk, chase, capture, and disembowel entirely imaginary targets. This unaccountable release of what appears to be pent-up motivation is known as vacuum activity—a behaviour that will occur even in the absence of a proper stimulus.

One simple mechanism by which animals alter their levels of responsiveness (and which may ultimately help explain motivation) is known as habituation. Habituation is essentially a central behavioural boredom; repeated presentation of the same stimulus causes the normal response to wane. A chemical present on the tentacles of its arch-enemy, the starfish, triggers a sea slug’s frantic escape behaviour. After several encounters in rapid succession, however, the threshold for the escape response begins to rise and the sea slug refuses to flee the overworked threat. Simple muscle fatigue is not involved, and stimulation of some other form—a flash of light, for instance—instantly restores the normal threshold (a phenomenon known as sensitization). Hence, nervous systems are pre-wired to “learn” to ignore the normal background levels of stimuli and to focus instead on changes from the accustomed level.


The fourth contribution ethology has made to the study of animal behaviour is the concept of programmed learning. Ethologists have shown that many animals are wired to learn particular things in specific ways at preordained times in their lives.

A Imprinting

One famous example of programmed learning is imprinting. The young of certain species—ducks, for example—must be able to follow their parents almost from birth. Each young animal, even if it is pre-programmed to recognize its own species, must quickly learn to distinguish its own particular parents from all other adults. Evolution has accomplished this essential bit of memorization in ducks by wiring ducklings to follow the first moving object they see that produces the species-specific exodus call. The call acts as an acoustic sign stimulus that directs the response of following.

It is the physical act of following, however, that triggers the learning process; chicks passively transported behind a calling parent do not imprint at all. (In fact, presenting obstacles so that a chick has to work harder to follow its parent actually speeds the imprinting process.) As long as the substitute parent makes the right sounds and moves, ducklings can be imprinted on a motley collection of objects, including rubber balls, shoe boxes, and human beings.

This parental-imprinting phase is generally early and brief, often ending 36 hours after birth. Another round of imprinting usually takes place later; it serves to define the species image the animal will use to select an appropriate mate when it matures. Ethologists suspect that genetic programming cannot specify much visual detail; otherwise, selective advantage would probably require chicks to come pre-wired with a mental picture of their own species.

As the world has become increasingly crowded with species, the role of sign stimuli in some animals has shifted from that of identifying each animal’s species uniquely to that of simply directing the learning necessary to distinguish an animal’s own kind from many similar creatures. This strategy works because, at the early age involved, most animals’ ranges of contact are so limited that a mistake in identifying what to imprint on is highly unlikely.

B Characteristics of Programmed Learning

Imprinting, therefore, has four basic qualities that distinguish it from ordinary learning: (1) a specific time, or critical period, exists when the learning must take place; (2) a specific context exists, usually defined by the presence of a sign stimulus; (3) the learning is often constrained in such a way that an animal remembers only a specific cue such as odour and ignores other conspicuous characteristics; and (4) no reward is necessary to ensure that the animal remembers.

These qualities are now becoming evident in many kinds of learning, and the value of such innately directed learning is beginning to be understood: in a world full of stimuli, it enables an animal to know what to learn and what to ignore. As though for the sake of economy, animals need pick up only the least amount of information that will suffice in a situation. For example, ducklings of one species seem able to learn the voices of their parents, whereas those of another recall only what their parents look like. When poisoned, rats remember only the taste and odour of the dangerous food, whereas quail recall only its colour. This phenomenon, known as rapid food-avoidance conditioning, is so strongly wired into many species that a single exposure to a toxic substance is usually sufficient to train an animal for life.

The same sorts of biases are observed in nearly every species. Pigeons, for instance, readily learn to peck when food is the reward, but not to hop on a treadle for a meal; on the other hand, it is virtually impossible to teach a bird to peck to avoid danger, but they learn treadle hopping in dangerous situations easily. Such biases make sense in the context of an animal’s natural history; pigeons, for example, normally obtain food with the beak rather than the feet, and react to danger with their feet (and wings).

Perhaps the example of complex programmed learning understood in most complete detail is song learning in birds. Some species, such as doves, are born wired to produce their species-specific coos, and no amount of exposure to the songs of other species or the absence of their own has any effect. The same is true for the repertoire of 20 or so simple calls that virtually all birds use to communicate messages such as hunger or danger.

The elaborate songs of songbirds, however, are often heavily influenced by learning. A bird reared in isolation, for example, sings a very simple outline of the sort of song that develops naturally in the wild. Yet song learning shows all the characteristics of imprinting. Usually a critical period exists during which the birds learn while they are young. Exactly what is learned—what a songbird chooses to copy from the world of sound around it—is restricted to the songs of its own species. Hence, a white-crowned sparrow, when subjected to a medley of songs of various species, will unerringly pick out its own and commit it to memory. The recognition of the specific song is based on acoustic sign stimuli.

Despite its obvious constraints, song learning permits considerable latitude: any song will do as long as it has a few essential features. Because the memorization is not quite perfect and admits some flexibility, the songs of many birds have developed regional dialects and serve as vehicles for a kind of “cultural” behaviour.

A far more dramatic example of programmed cultural learning in birds is seen in the transmission of knowledge about predators. Most birds are subject to two sorts of danger: they may be attacked directly by birds of prey, or their helpless young may be eaten by nest predators. When they see birds of prey, birds regularly give a specific, whistlelike alarm call that signals the need to hide. A staccato mobbing call, on the other hand, is given for nest predators and serves as a call to arms, inciting all the nesting birds in the vicinity to harass the potential predator and drive it away. Both calls are sign stimuli.

Birds are born knowing little about which species are safe and which are dangerous; they learn this by observing the objects of the calls they hear. So totally automatic is the formation of this list of enemies that caged birds can even be tricked into mobbing milk bottles (and will pass the practice on from generation to generation) if they hear a mobbing call while being shown a bottle. This variation on imprinting appears to be the mechanism by which many mammals (primates included) gain and pass on critical cultural information about both food and danger. The fairly recent realization of the power of programmed learning in animal behaviour has reduced the apparent role that simple copying and trial-and-error learning play in modifying behaviour.


Evolution, working on the four general mechanisms described by ethology, has generated a nearly endless list of behavioural wonders by which animals seem almost perfectly adapted to their world. Prime examples are the honey bee’s systems of navigation, communication, and social organization. Bees rely primarily on the Sun as a reference point for navigation, keeping track of their flight direction with respect to the Sun, and factoring out the effects of the winds that may be blowing them off course. The Sun is a difficult landmark for navigation because of its apparent motion from east to west, but bees are born knowing how to compensate for that. When a cloud obscures the Sun, bees use the patterns of ultraviolet polarized light in the sky to determine the Sun’s location. When an overcast obscures both Sun and sky, bees automatically switch to a third navigational system based on their mental map of the landmarks in their home range.

Study of the honey bee’s navigational system has revealed much about the mechanisms used by higher animals. Homing pigeons, for instance, are now known to use the Sun as their compass; they compensate for its apparent movement, see both ultraviolet and polarized light, and employ a backup compass for cloudy days. The secondary compass for pigeons is magnetic. Pigeons surpass bees in having a map sense as well as a compass as part of their navigational system. A pigeon taken hundreds of kilometres from its loft in total darkness will nevertheless depart almost directly for home when it is released. The nature of this map sense remains one of ethology’s most intriguing mysteries.

Honey bees also exhibit excellent communication abilities. A foraging bee returning from a good source of food will perform a “waggle dance” on the vertical sheets of honeycomb. The dance specifies to other bees the distance and direction of the food. The dance takes the form of a flattened figure 8; during the crucial part of the manoeuvre (the two parts of the figure 8 that cross) the forager vibrates her body. The angle of this part of the run specifies the direction of the food: if this part of the dance points up, the source is in the direction of the Sun, whereas if it is aimed, for example, 70° left of vertical, the food is 70° left of the Sun. The number of waggling motions specifies the distance to the food.

The complexity of this dance language has paved the way for studies of higher animals. Some species are now known to have a variety of signals to smooth the operations of social living. Vervet monkeys, for example, have the usual set of gestures and sounds to express emotional states and social needs, but they also have a four-word predator vocabulary: a specific call alerts the troop to airborne predators, one to four-legged predators such as leopards, another to snakes, and one to other primates. Each type of alarm elicits a different behaviour. Leopard alarms send the vervets into trees and to the top branches, whereas the airborne predator call causes them to drop like stones into the interior of the tree. The calls and general categories they represent seem innate, but the young learn by observation which species of each predator class is dangerous. An infant vervet may deliver an aerial alarm to a vulture, a stork, or even a falling leaf, but eventually comes to ignore everything airborne except the martial eagle.


Animal courtship behaviour precedes and accompanies the sexual act, to which it is directly related. It often involves stereotyped displays, which can be elaborate, prolonged, and spectacular, and includes the exhibition of sign stimuli (releasers), dramatic body colours, plumage, or markings. It may also involve ritualized combat between rival males.

Its primary purpose is to bring both partners to a state of sexual receptiveness simultaneously. This is especially important in aquatic animals whose eggs are fertilized externally and may be dispersed by water currents before sperm can make contact with them. Copulation is often over quickly and an elaborate courtship ensures its success.

A male three-spined stickleback starts his courtship by building a nest inside a territory he defends. When a female approaches he performs a zig-zag dance towards and away from the nest until she turns towards him and raises her head. He then leads her to the nest and waits, head down, beside the entrance. If she enters the nest he nudges her tail. She lays eggs, and leaves by swimming through the nest. He follows, fertilizing the eggs. In this ritual, each response stimulates the next activity and an incorrect response causes the last step to be repeated.

Courtship rituals differ from one species to another and individuals are attracted only by the attentions of members of their own species. This greatly reduces the risk of unproductive hybrid matings, especially between species that look alike. Male Photinus fireflies attract mates by patterns of flashing light, but each species has its own distinct pattern.

Many female animals secrete odours, pheromones, when they are sexually receptive. The female silkworm moth uses her wings to disperse bombykol, a pheromone secreted by abdominal scent glands, which is detectable by males up to 10 km (6.2 mi) away. Female mammals, including the rhesus macaque and other primates, also use pheromones as sexual attractants.

In most species, however, males court females. Females invest much more time and energy in producing eggs and raising young than males invest in producing sperm, and males usually contribute little or nothing to the care of offspring. It is in the interests of females to choose mates that will give their young the best start in life and in the interests of males to mate with as many females as possible. A male, therefore, must persuade females of his suitability; he must court them.

The song with which many male birds proclaim their presence also serves to attract females, but once they arrive the male must impress them, often by displaying extravagant or brightly coloured plumage. The plumage of the mallard drake is brighter in the breeding season, and the peacock impresses the peahen by displaying his huge tail. Males of some species, such as the sage grouse, gather in large numbers at a particular place, called a lek, where they all display while passing females make their choices. In other species, males present gifts to the female, and bowerbirds try to attract females into elaborate display grounds that they have constructed and decorated with brightly coloured objects.

Such extravagant plumage and behaviour evolved (see Evolution) by “runaway” sexual selection as opposed to natural selection. Males adorned with ornamentation that restricted their mobility, or who spent time obtaining gifts or constructing decorated bowers, showed their strength and competence. Females chose the most spectacular, so with each generation the displays became more extreme until they reached limits beyond which the males would be too encumbered to survive. Darwin’s view of male ornamentation was that it appealed, quite arbitrarily, to female “whim”, but other theorists believe that extravagant male ornamentation advertises genuine male qualities to otherwise sceptical females.


Animal social organization, the sum of all the relationships among members of a group of animals all of the same species, varies considerably. It ranges from the cooperation between a male and female during courtship and mating, to the most complex societies, in which only one female at a time produces young, all other females collaborating in the care of offspring and maintenance of the colony. Some animal societies are hierarchical, with dominant and subordinate members; others are loose arrangements of fairly independent family groups.

These relationships have evolved in response to the circumstances under which the species live. Many birds establish a territory during the breeding season. This ensures a supply of food for the young, but by excluding all other individuals the pair must mate only with one another. Because of this most birds are monogamous, even if they are not territorial. Some aquatic species mate for life. Only if one mate dies will an albatross, kittiwake, or swan seek a new partner. Monogamy is much rarer among mammals, although prairie voles mate for life, as do gibbons and some lemurs.

Where the food supply is dispersed, animals tend to be solitary. Bears, most cats, and European hedgehogs live solitary lives, the female accompanied by young which leave as soon as they are capable of living alone. Adult males and females meet only to mate.

Social groups based on mating and the rearing of young are often seasonal, members dispersing once the young leave. Other groupings, for protection or hunting, are permanent. In open country, many mammals live in large groups. Herds of antelope, deer, zebras, and horses, and troops of baboons are familiar examples. They benefit from the safety of numbers.

Often, these groups comprise females and their young with one adult male. This is a harem. The male mates with all the adult females and spends much of his time trying to prevent them deserting. Adult males without harems form all-male herds, but individuals constantly try to acquire harems by abducting females. The male of the harem is not necessarily the leader of the group. A herd of horses, for example, is led by the senior female, to whom all others defer. Other groups may have more than one male. A wildebeest herd comprises about 150 females and young and up to three bulls, which patrol outside the herd, keeping it together and guarding it from predators.

Elephants form extended-family herds of females and their young, which often include an old male relative among Asian elephants. Other adult males live outside the herd and male African elephants form their own groups.

Lions are the only cats that live in social groups and collaborate in hunting, a pride consisting of up to 3 males and about 15 females and young. Dogs are much more social. Hunting dogs live in packs of up to 90 individuals. They collaborate in hunting and share food amicably, allowing the young to feed first and disgorging food for latecomers. Wolves mate for life and packs consist of one or more family groups, sometimes with outsiders that have been accepted. A strict social hierarchy is maintained by ritualized postures and gestures.

Species that live in colonies exhibit extreme social relationships and are said to be “eusocial”. They include social insects, such as termites, ants, wasps, and some bees, and one species of mammal, the naked mole rat of eastern Africa. The organization of social insects is based on the roles of certain groups within the colony. There is usually one reproductive female, the queen, who may lay thousands of eggs in her lifetime. Most of the other insects in the colony are involved in the construction, maintenance, and defence of the colony. Certain groups of insects may have specific physical features which relate to their roles. The queen bee is usually much longer and has an enlarged abdomen for egg-laying, the worker bees are equipped with stings to defend the colony and pollen baskets for collecting pollen, while the drones are stingless and do not have pollen baskets as their only role is to mate with the queen before they die. Much of the insect colony behaviour is determined either by instinct or by pheromones released by the queen.

A The Question of Altruism

One fascinating aspect of some animal societies is the selfless way one animal seems to render its services to others. In the beehive, for instance, workers labour unceasingly in the hive for three weeks after they emerge and then forage outside for food until they wear out two or three weeks later. Yet the workers leave no offspring. How could natural selection favour such self-sacrifice? This question presents itself in almost every social species.

The apparent altruism is sometimes actually part of a mutual-aid system in which favours are given because they will almost certainly be repaid. One chimpanzee will groom another, removing parasites from areas the receiver could not reach, because later the roles will be exchanged. Such a system, however, requires that animals be able to recognize one another as individuals, and hence be able to reject those who would accept favours without paying them back.

A second kind of altruism is exemplified by the behaviour of male sage grouse, which congregate into displaying groups—leks. Females come to these assemblies to mate, but only a handful of males in the central spots actually sire the next generation. The dozens of other males advertise their virtues vigorously but succeed only in attracting additional females to the favoured few in the centre. Natural selection has not gone wrong here, however; males move further inward every year, through this celibate and demanding apprenticeship, until they reach the centre of the lek.

The altruism of honey bees has an entirely genetic explanation. Through a quirk of hymenopteran genetics, males have only one set of chromosomes. Animals normally have two sets, passing on only one when they mate; hence, they share half their genes with any offspring and the offspring have half their genes in common with one another. Because male Hymenoptera have a single set of chromosomes, however, all the daughters have those genes in common. Added to the genes they happen to share that came from their mother, the queen, most workers are three-quarters related to one another—more related than they would be to their own offspring. Genes that favour a “selfless” sterility that assists in rearing the next generation of sisters, then, should spread faster in the population than those programming the more conventional every-female-for-herself strategy.

This system, known as kin selection, is widespread. All it requires is that an animal perform services of little cost to itself but of great benefit to relations. Bees are the ultimate example of altruism because of the extra genetic benefit that their system confers, but kin selection works almost as well in a variety of genetically conventional animals. The male lions that cooperate in taking over another male’s pride, for example, are usually brothers, whereas the females in a pride that hunt as a group and share food are a complex collection of sisters, daughters, and aunts.

Even human societies may not be immune to the programming of kin selection. In their study of sociobiology, anthropologists consistently report that simple cultures are organized along lines of kinship. Such observations, combined with the recent discovery that human language learning is in part a kind of imprinting—that consonants are innately recognized sign stimuli, for instance—suggest that human behaviour may be connected more with animal behaviour than was hitherto imagined.

Reviewed By:
Michael Allaby

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Musical or Musical Comedy, theatrical production in which songs and choruses, instrumental accompaniments and interludes, and often dance are integrated into a dramatic plot. The genre developed and was refined in the United States, particularly in the theatres along Broadway in New York, during the first half of the 20th century. The musical has origins in a variety of 19th-century theatrical sources, including the operetta, comic opera, pantomime, the minstrel show, vaudeville, and burlesque.


The American musical actually began in 1796, with The Archers; or, The Mountaineers of Switzerland, composed by Benjamin Carr and with libretto by William Dunlap. The Black Crook, produced in 1866, is generally credited as the first musical; actually, it was an extravaganza, combining melodrama with ballet. In the late 19th century, operettas from Vienna (composed by Johann Strauss, Jr. and Franz Lehár), London (by Sir Arthur Sullivan), and Paris (by Jacques Offenbach) were popular with urban audiences in the eastern United States. At the same time, revues (plotless programmes of individual songs, dances, and comedy sketches) abounded not only in theatres but also in some upper-class saloons, such as the music hall operated in New York by the comedy team of Joe Weber and Lew Fields. The successful shows of another comedy team, Ned Harrigan, and Tony Hart were also revues, but with connecting dialogue and continuing characters. These, in turn, spawned the musical shows of producer-playwright-actor-composer George M. Cohan, the first of which appeared in 1901.

In the years before World War I began in 1914, several young operetta composers emigrated from Europe to the United States. Among them were Victor Herbert, Sigmund Romberg, and Rudolf Friml. Herbert’s Naughty Marietta (1910), Friml’s The Firefly (1912), and Romberg’s Maytime (1917) are representative of the new genre these composers created: American operetta, with simple music and librettos and singable songs that were enduringly popular with the public. The text of a musical (the libretto) has been divided since that time between the “book”, which is the spoken dialogue, and the “lyrics”, which are the words of the songs. These two are often by different authors.


In 1914 the composer Jerome Kern began to produce a series of shows in which all the varied elements of a musical were integrated into a single fabric. Produced in the intimate Princess Theatre, Kern used contemporary settings and events, in contrast to operettas, which usually took place in fantasy lands. In 1927 Kern provided the score for Show Boat, perhaps the first musical to have a high-quality libretto. It was also adapted from a successful novel, a technique that was to proliferate in post-1940 musicals.

Gradually the old musical formula began to change. Instead of complicated but never serious plots, sophisticated lyrics and simplified librettos were introduced; underscoring (music played as background to dialogue or movement) was added; and new American musical elements, such as jazz and blues, were utilized by composers. In addition, singers began to pay more attention to the craft of acting. In 1932, Of Thee I Sing became the first musical to be awarded a Pulitzer Prize for drama. Its lyricist and composer, the brothers Ira and George Gershwin, had succeeded in intelligently satirizing contemporary political situations.

In the 1920s, satire, ideas, and wit had been the province of the intimate revue. These sophisticated shows were important as testing grounds for the young composers and lyricists who later helped develop the serious musical. One composer-lyricist pair who started in the intimate revues, Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, wrote Pal Joey in 1940, a show that had many of the elements of the later musicals, including a book with well-rounded characters. But it was not a success until its 1952 revival. In the meantime, Rodgers, with Oscar Hammerstein II as his new writing partner, had produced Oklahoma! (1943), which had ballets, choreographed by Agnes de Mille, that were an integral part of the plot. The choreographer-director was eventually to become vastly influential on the shape and substance of the American musical. Jerome Robbins, Michael Kidd, Bob Fosse, and Michael Bennett are were notable among the skilled choreographers who went on to create important musicals, most notably A Chorus Line (1975) and Dancin’ (1978).


As these and other innovations altered the familiar face of musical theatre, audiences came to expect more variety and complexity in their shows; a host of inventive composers and lyricists obliged. In 1949, Cole Porter, who had written provocative songs with brilliant lyrics for many years, finally wrote a show with an equally fine book: Kiss Me, Kate. Rodgers and Hammerstein followed Oklahoma! with Carousel (1945) and South Pacific (1949). Irving Berlin, who had been writing hit songs since 1911, produced the popular but somewhat old-fashioned Annie Get Your Gun (1946). Frank Loesser provided both words and music for Guys and Dolls (1950), with its raffish Damon Runyon characters. Brigadoon (1947) was the first successful collaboration of the composer Frederick Loewe and book-and-lyric writer Alan Jay Lerner, who were later to contribute My Fair Lady (1956), based on George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion, and Camelot (1960).

In the 1950s a number of composers gained prominence. Leonard Bernstein wrote the scores for Candide (1956) and West Side Story (1957). The latter, a modern adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, mostly danced and heavily underscored, was greatly influential. Jule Styne wrote the music for Bells Are Ringing (1956) and Gypsy (1959). In the 1960s and 1970s the composer John Kander and the lyricist Fred Ebb collaborated on Cabaret (1966); composer Sheldon Harnick and lyricist Jerry Bock produced Fiddler on the Roof (1964); and Stephen Sondheim, who wrote the lyrics for West Side Story and Gypsy, did the entire scores for a series of musicals, including Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), and Sweeney Todd (1979).

A show that opened on Broadway in 1968 and went on to affect world theatre was Hair. Called a folk-rock musical, it presented a situation rather than a plot, and its lyrics were often unintelligible. But its youthful exuberance, ingenious theatricality and concentration on rock music produced many imitators, notably Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar (both 1971). The score for the latter was the work of the English composer Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber, who went on to write the hits Evita (1978), based on the life of the Argentine political figure Eva Perón; Cats (1981), adapted from poems by T. S. Eliot; and Song and Dance (1982). Webber’s adaptation of Gaston Leroux’s novel The Phantom of the Opera opened in London in 1987; the show received wide critical acclaim and achieved great popularity, and was followed by Sunset Boulevard (1994).

By the mid-1980s the traditional La Cage aux Folles (1983) by composer Jerry Herman and playwright Harvey Fierstein and the innovative Sunday in the Park with George (1984) by Sondheim, to a book by James Lapine, marked possible new trends. For their dramatization of the life of the French painter Georges Seurat, Sondheim and Lapine shared the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for drama. In 1986 the musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables opened in London to popular acclaim and on Broadway the following year.

Bill Kenwright’s 1988 revival of Blood Brothers by Willy Russell became an enduring success in the West End and on Broadway through the 1990s. Other successful musicals of the decade included Miss Saigon (1991) by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg; The Kiss of the Spider Woman (1993) with music and lyrics by Kander and Ebb of Cabaret fame; Rent (1996) by Jonathan Larson, which in that year collected four Tony Awards and the Pulitzer for drama; and Fosse (1999), a celebration of the work of the legendary choreographer and showman Bob Fosse. There were the stage versions of popular Walt Disney films Beauty and the Beast (1994) by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, who later collaborated with Elton John on the hit The Lion King (1997). Whistle Down the Wind, the classic film about some farm children who find an escaped convict hiding in a barn and believe him to be Jesus Christ, was the basis of a musical of the same name by Lloyd Webber and Jim Steinman, which opened in 1998.

At the start of the new century, Lloyd Webber’s next productions were Bombay Dreams (2002), a musical influenced by the Bollywood film genre, and The Woman in White (2004), an adaptation of the Wilkie Collins novel. A US television talk show inspired the Sherman brothers to write Jerry Springer—The Opera (2003), which received several prestigious Best Musical awards after its West End opening (although a performance screened by the BBC in 2005 attracted vociferous protests of blasphemy from some Christian groups). 2005 also saw the premiere of Billy Elliot, an exuberant stage adaptation of the successful 2000 film (both directed by Stephen Daldry), with a score by Elton John.

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Educational Broadcasting


Educational Broadcasting, use of radio and television to assist teaching and learning.

Pioneers of wireless telegraphy (radio), such as Marconi, working 100 or so years ago, believed the new technology would soon be put to useful purposes. Shortly after it was set up in 1922, the British Broadcasting Company, later the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), began to see how it could use “wireless”, as it was first called, to assist learning. John Reith, who, as a public service broadcaster, aimed to “educate, inform, and entertain”, set up the first National Advisory Committee on Education in 1923 and appointed a Director of Education, a school inspector, who, in 1924, wrote an article in the BBC’s programme listings magazine the Radio Times, proposing a Broadcasting University.

The earliest experimental broadcasts to schools emanated from Glasgow and London in 1924 and by the autumn of that year regular secondary school and adult education broadcasts were in place, with regular supporting publications coming soon after. A new weekly publication, The Listener, began publishing transcripts of educational talks from 1929 and developed into a magazine until 1991 when it ceased. As the services grew, education officers were appointed to liaise with the educational world and to advise on policy. Separate Advisory Committees for School and Adult Education were set up and, for the latter, a Group Listening movement was encouraged. During the 1930s the whole system flourished, with most subjects on the curriculum treated. Mathematics was, interestingly, an exception.

Among initiatives at this time were new ways of learning, emphasizing a more imaginative, child-centered approach. Programmes in Gaelic and Welsh were introduced for children in Scotland and Wales. In the early 1930s, it was not thought appropriate to make broadcasts for younger pupils. However, largely because of improved broadcasting practices, using drama and music in place of straight “talk”, such broadcasts quickly became successful later in the decade. History and foreign language teaching series were firm favourites.


The British system of educational broadcasting, transmitted nationally, was soon widely studied and used as a model in many countries, notably those in what, later, became the Commonwealth, and in more distant countries, such as Japan. It was realized that radio had great potential in both formal and informal education by adding to what teachers could provide, reaching isolated groups of learners, filling in for non-existent teachers, and acting as an agent of in-service training. Before long, “radio schools” were operating in countries with dispersed and remote populations, a notable example being the School of the Air in Australia, where two-way radio supplemented correspondence courses.

World War II severely disrupted life in Britain, but school broadcasting flourished and by 1945 some 2,000 more schools were using the service than in 1939, with 30 weekly series offered. Music, drama, and arts and crafts became popular subjects, along with civics and current affairs. Educational broadcasts became an anchor for teachers who, in the words of one headmistress, saw them as “lifebuoys in a queer, turbulent, scholastic sea”. As the war ended, Forces Educational Broadcasts were devised to help demobilized service people with their return to civilian life. Television then became the centre of interest, with pilot experiments in school television in 1952 leading to a permanent service in 1957.

By the mid-1960s a comprehensive system of school broadcasts was being provided both by the BBC and Independent Television (ITV), which had started school television broadcasts just ahead of the BBC in 1957. Channel 4, which was launched in 1982, now handles school broadcasting for commercial television. The visual medium added a new dimension to learning and, significantly, mathematics became a successful subject for educational broadcasting, helping pupils and teachers to deal with the “new maths”, then much in the news. Apart from continuing series in such subjects as modern language teaching, science, and history, adult education broadcasts began to address social issues such as parenting, old age, illiteracy, and unemployment—what became known as Social Action broadcasts.

In less-developed countries, educational broadcasts became a tool in social and political development, with campaigns treating health and farming issues. By the 1960s there was considerable evidence that educational broadcasting was a powerful branch of distance learning.

Much work had been done worldwide, when, in 1969, a major step was taken in the United Kingdom with the setting up of the Open University (OU). This combined the practice of correspondence learning, a well-proven distance learning technique, with educational broadcasts. It was effected by an alliance with the BBC, which created a department to make the radio and television programmes. These were the first broadcast in 1971, accompanying the OU printed courses, prepared by course teams, including the BBC producers. The OU model is now being used worldwide and uses a very broad range of new educational technology.

In the late 1990s the consultative method of deciding educational output with councils started in the 1920s, was changed. An important strand of programmes supported pupils taking new national examinations, and the Internet came into play. The “new” technology was now more interactive.


The Internet is the latest “new” technology to propel a development in educational broadcasting. Prominent examples in the past have been the transistor, which allowed many more people to use radio conveniently, especially in developing countries where teachers were scarce; stereo sound; black and white television, followed by colour television, which was an important addition to programmes dealing with subjects such as natural history and geography; improvements in recording techniques, cassetting, and disc recording (CD-ROMs); and the growth of transmission systems, such as cable and satellite, resulting in much increased coverage.

There have been many successful and unsuccessful attempts using satellites to transmit educational radio and television. India, in 1975, saw the Satellite Instructional Television Experiment, aimed at small, distant villages, supported by money and know-how from the United States. Canada and Australia, among many other countries, devised distance learning projects. Most of these earlier, often ambitious, schemes, faced the problems experienced by their earthbound forerunners in the 1920s, namely inefficient transmitting and receiving apparatus, unreliable liaison between users and providers, inadequate backup print material, inappropriate syllabuses, and ultimately the need for human contact.

Most of these problems have been solved to some degree in developed countries, with even liaison and interactivity partially solved. Efficient postal systems, the telephone (fixed and mobile), and various recording and playback systems based on computer technology all have a part to play in educational broadcasting in the new millennium. The Internet and its websites are now familiar to many children in developed countries and among educational elites elsewhere, but it remains of little significance to very much more, who lack the most basic means of subsistence.

Reviewed By:
John Cain


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Education, International Standards in

Education, International Standards in, the international comparison between school systems. Such comparisons are useful in describing a narrow range of performances, although, in their present state of development, they do little to explain, in ways that could help policymakers nationally, the reasons for the differences that such tests reveal.

The main cross-national comparative studies of learning achievement have been carried out under the auspices of the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). Other major studies have been international versions of the United States’ National Assessment of Educational Progress programme. These International assessments of Educational Progress studies are known as IAEPs.

The 14 international studies of this kind that have been carried out between 1960 and 1995 have been predominantly concerned with levels of literacy, mathematics, and science. A unique feature of these studies, or at least most of them, is their use of common assessment instruments (questionnaires) to record learning achievement in specific areas. These are applied to national samples of students of the same ages or school grades in the countries concerned. However, several technical problems arise in establishing valid comparisons between school systems of different countries.

The first problem concerns the sample of school students to be tested. Testing is expensive and samples tend to be small. Much, therefore, depends on the composition of the samples. For example, students from private schools were not included in French studies. Such an exclusion would have had a marked effect in the United Kingdom (which did not, in this case, take part).

The second problem arises from the nature of the questions used in the tests. Different countries have different syllabuses that place different emphasis on different aspects of the school curriculum. Although through international cooperation between those responsible for developing the questionnaires that incorporate the tests, every effort is made to establish common ground, it is inevitable that the questions will suit some national systems better than others. In the 1991 IAEP assessment study of mathematics, for example, 30 percent of the questionnaire was devoted to “number and operations”. In response to questions about the emphasis placed on this area, Israel described it as representing 10 percent of its goal in mathematics, while Switzerland accorded it 50 per cent. In the area of “algebra and function”, however, the percentages were reversed.

Problems of this kind make comparisons between the quality of different education systems difficult to measure. The results of such comparisons do not give an explanation for the differences that emerge. However, information collected at the time of the testing confirms that, unsurprisingly, above-average performance is related to the amount of time spent on silent reading, to the emphasis on storytelling in the early years of school, and, above all, to the level of access to books. On the other hand, there did not seem to be any close connection between the length of the school year or class size and the results achieved.

Comparisons between standards achieved at different ages in different areas of the curriculum in different countries are in principle difficult to make and in practice have so far provided little reliable evidence. Fresh efforts are being made to improve the quality of that evidence in relation to science and mathematics, subjects which, unlike languages, have a degree of consistency of approach internationally, thereby enabling comparisons to be made with some confidence.

Contributed By:
Peter Anthony Newsam


Education Act 1944

Education Act 1944, legislation that radically changed the structure of education in England and Wales. Rab Butler, as Minister of Education, championed the progression of the Act, and it is after him that the Act is commonly known: “The Butler Act”. The Act affected education in four main ways.

Education Act 1944

First, it increased the role and powers of the Minister of Education. Before 1944, the Minister was simply responsible for “the superintendence of certain matters relating to education in England and Wales”. Under the 1944 Act, the Minister was charged with a positive duty to “promote” education and to “secure the effective execution by local authorities, under his control and direction” of the national policy for education. These strengthened ministerial powers created an education system that came to be known as “a national service, locally administered”.

Second, the administration of education was itself re-shaped: 169 of the 315 local education authorities that existed before 1944 were abolished on April 1, 1945. That left the local administration of all forms of public education in the hands of 146 county councils and county borough councils.

Third, the Act restructured the school system. Previously, publicly funded schools and colleges were either “elementary” or “higher”. “Higher” institutions included everything that was not elementary. So secondary schools, to which about 20 per cent of children went at the age of 11, and junior technical schools, to which only about 1 percent of children were admitted, were both distinguished from “elementary” schools, attended by nearly 80 per cent of the school population. Compulsory education ended at the age of 14 so the country’s 11-to-14-year-olds were in two overlapping systems leading to a very different job or further education opportunities. The Act put an end to this. It organized schools “in three progressive stages to be known as primary education, secondary education, and further education”. This structural change often described as “secondary education for all” was perhaps the Act’s greatest achievement. Part of that achievement, at a time of great economic difficulty, was to raise the school leaving age, initially from 14 to 15, in 1947.

Finally, Butler, the government minister responsible for seeing the Education Bill through parliament, brought about a compromise between schools maintained by councils and denominational schools. The essence of this “dual control” system, which still exists, was that nearly all church (denominational) schools chose either to become “controlled” or “aided”. Controlled schools were entirely funded by the local council, whereas the governors or managers of aided schools remained responsible for capital expenditure on the fabric of the buildings, which they continued to own, and had increased rights over staffing and the curriculum (see Religious Schools).

Much of the framework of the 1944 Education Act remained in place until the end of the 20th century. Although it achieved much, the Act left two important issues unresolved. One was the structure of the newly created secondary schools. Initially, the emphasis was on a tripartite system: grammar schools for some, technical schools for a very few, and secondary modern schools for most. Selection of these schools was managed by local education authorities. The 11+ tests, as they came to be known, were taken in the last year of primary education by all children, and usually consisted of a general intelligence test, a test of attainment in English and arithmetic, and a report from each child’s primary school teacher. As the pattern of schools that followed the 1944 Act has increasingly been replaced by schools that combine all three elements in one “comprehensive” school, by January 2000 the 11+ examination was retained only in the areas served by the 164 remaining grammar schools. Specialisms within comprehensive schools have, however, been encouraged, and aptitude testing related to specialisms, such as music, foreign languages, and technology, has steadily increased.

A second unresolved issue was the school curriculum. The Act deliberately left the curriculum to be determined locally by schools and local education authorities. It was not until 1988 that the notion of a national curriculum, defining a common entitlement for all children in whatever type of school they were enrolled, was given legislative force.

Contributed By:
Peter Anthony Newsam


Education and Economic Development

Education and Economic Development, exploration of the relationship between the economic development of a country and its educational performance. The relationship between economic development and the level of education a country can afford to provide is both close and important.

In considering educational issues arising worldwide, international agencies often refer to “developed” as opposed to “developing”, including “least developed”, countries. These terms mainly relate to the stage of economic development reached by a country, measured in part by the gross national product per head of the country’s population. Other characteristics, such as the artistic, moral, or political condition of a country, fall outside the definitions of “developed” or “developing”.

Occasionally, in place of the term “developing” the phrase “Third World” is used. Again, because many of the developing countries with the most serious economic and educational problems are in the Southern hemisphere, notably in the African continent south of the Sahara Desert, the issue of economic development is seen in terms of geographical area: the comparatively prosperous north is contrasted with the substantially poorer Southern hemisphere.

For the purposes of considering the relationship between the state of development of a nation and its educational performance, UNESCO, in its 1995 World Education Report, uses the level of literacy as a key indicator. The reason for doing so is that the connection between the level of literacy a country achieves and its level of economic development has, in recent years, become increasingly important. Even routine tasks, such as operating machinery or following simple instructions, require a degree of literacy that in the past, particularly in predominantly rural societies, was unnecessary. The accompanying tables show the changes that have occurred between 1980 and 1995 and, in the final column, estimate the position reached by the year 2000.

Within the developing countries, improvement is expected throughout. In several instances, levels achieved by developed countries in 1980 were attained by some of the developing countries, notably in eastern Asia, by the year 2000. So any gap to be closed elsewhere relates to improvements that are seen to be possible in a single generation.

The educational opportunities open to women in developing countries and the literacy levels achieved, although generally improving, remain markedly worse than those of men in the same countries. On the other hand, in certain regions, notably in sub-Saharan Africa, the Arab states, and southern Asia, the absolute number of illiterate adults appears to be increasing, with women in the substantial majority.

A report released by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) on December 8, 1998, declared that about 130 million children between the ages of 6 and 11, including 73 million girls, go without basic education. This shortfall has broad implications for those children’s welfare, and by extension, for world peace and security, UNICEF argued in its annual State of the World’s Children Report. Although the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child established the right to education as a basic human right, more than 850 million people—about a sixth of the world’s population—would enter the 21st century unable to read or write. UNICEF’s report devoted special attention to girls and women, who, according to the report, comprise two thirds of the world’s illiterate population. Discrimination is a major impediment to educating girls and women, but the rewards of overcoming this bias are far-reaching. Educated women were found to contribute more to the economic and political life of their countries and have fewer and healthier children than uneducated women. Their children were also more likely to be educated themselves. Basic education could be achieved worldwide with an investment of US$7 billion per year, the report said.

Illiteracy is the single most important factor in holding back economic development in developing countries; but even relatively prosperous countries, such as the United Kingdom, find their economic performance held back by a workforce lacking in vocationally orientated skills. In developed countries, the nature of functional literacy is having to be re-thought: familiarity with computer-generated, information-based technologies is increasingly necessary for successful economic performance. So it has become a major aim of educational policy in those countries, from the first years of school to higher education, to ensure that the requisite skills are acquired by an ever-increasing proportion of the population.

Contributed By:
Peter Anthony Newsam

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – JANUARY 15: Socialite Ivanka Trump arrives at the NBC/Universal Golden Globe After Party held at the Beverly Hilton on January 15, 2007 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)


Nursery Education


Nursery Education, term universally applied to the education of children aged two to six before they enter primary school. The ages of the boys and girls depend on the admission requirements of the nurseries and schools, the availability of places in the area, and the educational policy of the country.

Most nurseries and playgroups operate policies of learning through play, and activities are informal and flexible to suit the needs of young children. Sand, water, and paint form the basis of many learning exercises. Storytelling, nursery rhymes, and the development of early literacy and numeracy skills are also an important part of the curriculum.

State and private nurseries in the United Kingdom are staffed by qualified teachers and nursery nurses. Playgroups are run by workers with qualifications in the education of young children, helped by parents and volunteers.

But in developing countries nurseries are either non-existent or very few in number.


The day nursery movement began in Europe in the early 19th century as a response to the increasing employment of women in the industry. The absence of large numbers of mothers from their homes during the day led to child neglect, which in turn stimulated a variety of charitable agencies to seek ways of caring for the children of working parents.

In 1816 the socialist and philanthropist Robert Owen opened one of the first nursery schools in the world at the New Lanark cotton mills in Scotland to improve his workers’ quality of life. Another early leader of this movement was the French philanthropist Jean-Baptiste Firmin Marbeau, who in 1846 founded the Crèche (French, “cradle”) Society of France, with the aim of fostering child care. Within a relatively short period, day nurseries were established in many parts of France and in several other European countries. In the United States, the first-day nursery was opened in 1854 by the Nursery and Child’s Hospital of New York. Many nurseries were wholly or partly supported by local and national governments. A large number were set up in factories so mothers could look after their children while they were at work.

Most of the nurseries established in the latter half of the 19th century were supported by charitable organizations. Both in Europe and in the United States, the day nursery movement received great impetus during World War I, when unprecedented numbers of women replaced men in the industry. In Britain, France, Germany, and Italy nurseries were established even in munitions plants, under direct government sponsorship.

As studies of children revealed the importance of the early years in physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development, the nursery school movement gained momentum in Britain and other European countries.

With the outbreak of World War II, the number of day nurseries increased rapidly as women were again called on to work in industry. The expectation that most employed mothers would leave their jobs at the end of the war was only partially fulfilled, and during the post-war years, a widespread movement developed, headed by sociologists, social workers, teachers, and other groups, which sought renewed government aid to meet the need for a comprehensive day-care programme.

Today there is a consensus that education for the under-fives is important in its own right, as well as being beneficial for later schooling.


Nurseries throughout the world normally educate young children in small, informal groups with higher adult: child ratios than in later schooling. Nursery education in not compulsory, but it has become the norm in many developed countries. In the United Kingdom, for example, where children start primary school at the age of four or five, every three- and four-year-old child is entitled to a free part-time nursery place. In the Republic of Ireland, although the chool is not compulsory until the age of six, well over half of four-year-olds and almost all five-year-olds are in infant classes provided by state-funded primary schools. However, in less affluent countries such as India, although the demand for nurseries is high, there are not enough places. In Indonesia, primary school is compulsory from the age of six but enrolment is low. Development agencies are encouraging nurseries in an attempt to boost primary school rolls.

Early years experts regard Denmark and New Zealand as examples of good practice because these countries have developed national early childhood policies that have led to state-funded and integrated education and care services.

In England some experts are concerned about the pressure to formalize the education of children at an increasingly younger age. In 2005, as the Labour government sought to encourage breakfast clubs and after school care in the nation’s primaries, critics, while applauding the investment in the early years, claimed little children were spending too many hours of the day in institutions.

For example, in South Africa, Indonesia, and Australia children stay at nursery school until they are around the age of six, and in Singapore young children often do not start primary school until seven. But in the United Kingdom, although primary school is not compulsory until the age of four or five, many parents are pressurized into placing their children in primary school nursery classes to secure a primary place.


In most countries there is no national curriculum for nurseries, although governments often promote guidelines and examples of good practice. Learning holistically is important, as is learning in fun ways to prepare life-long learning. Typical nursery curricula in many countries include personal, social, and emotional development; communication, language, and literacy; mathematical development; physical and creative development; and responsibility and integrity.


In 2005 the Labour government in England and Wales published the Childcare Bill. Hailed as a “once in a life-time bill” by early years experts, it promised to guarantee by law accessible, high-quality childcare and education for all children under five.

From 2008 the bill will force childminders and nurseries to follow an early years curriculum from birth until the age of five. Three- to five-year-olds already have to learn core skills but this is the first time the British Government has prescribed what children should learn under the age of three. Critics dubbed the new measure “a national curriculum for babies”.

The bill sets out four different stages of development, from the youngest babies who are “lookers and communicators”, through the stages of explorers (8 to 18 months), players (18 to 24 months), and walkers, talkers, and pretenders (25 to 36 months).

Regular inspections by government inspectors will ensure children receive the early years foundation curriculum.

The bill also sets out a framework for “extended” schools, whereby in 2010 all children will be entitled to wraparound care from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Contributed By:
Linda Ann Blackburne


Chinese Cinema


Chinese Cinema, historical development of the cinema in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Although the cosmopolitan port city of Shanghai held projections of films from unidentified Western companies in 1896 and 1897, China’s capital Beijing had to wait until 1902 for its first glimpse of the new medium. There was also a disastrous attempt to screen films for the Empress Dowager Cixi in the Forbidden City in 1904. The earliest known Chinese production was Dingjun Shan (Dingjun Mountain, 1905), a record of the Peking Opera star Tan Xinpei in scenes from the stage opera of the same title, made by staff of the Fengtai photographic store in Beijing. The short comedy Tou Shao Ya (Stealing the Roast Duck), also based on a stage opera scene, was shot in Hong Kong in 1909 by the theatre director and sometime actor Liang Shaobo, with financial backing from the American entrepreneur Benjamin Polaski.

By 1920, Shanghai was established as the centre of Chinese film production, with a modest amount of ancillary activity in Hong Kong. However, the Chinese market for films was surprisingly small (a United States government trade official noted that there were fewer than 100 cinemas in 1922, almost all of them in the treaty ports of the east coast), and the bankruptcy rate among film companies was high. At the time, 80 to 90 per cent of all films screened in China and Hong Kong were American imports. China’s own production in the 1920s divided neatly into two types of film: those derived from Hollywood models (chiefly melodramas, comedies, and romances) and those drawn from sources in Chinese popular culture (chiefly historical and legendary stories from the opera stage, and martial arts fantasies from pulp fiction). Very little Chinese cinema from this period survives today.

Chinese cinema reached remarkable creative heights in the 1930s, partly because the medium began to attract young artists and intellectuals, such as the American-educated writer-director Sun Yu and the Japanese-educated Communist screenwriter Xia Yan, and partly because the growing threat of a Japanese invasion provided the impetus for films to become the voice of patriotic resistance and national identity. Formal innovations, generally derived from experimentation in Hollywood and Soviet silent cinema, meshed with an agenda of Communist-inspired themes, including women’s rights, social inequality, and national defence. Technique, however, lagged behind; silent films and part-sound hybrids remained in production until 1935.

The combination of under-investment, poor distribution, and political censorship by the Kuomintang (KMT) government guaranteed that many production companies were short-lived, but the industry was dominated by two “majors” in the 1930s. One was the MGM-like Star Company (Mingxing, founded in 1922 by pioneer directors Zhang Shichuan and Zheng Zhengqiu); the other was United Photoplay Service (Lianhua, founded in 1930 by Luo Mingyou). Both companies averaged one release per month. United, which had the star Ruan Lingyu (“China’s Garbo”) under contract, made such outstanding films as Wu Yonggang’s Shennü (1934; The Goddess), probably the world’s first non-moralistic film about prostitution, and Sun Yu’s startlingly erotic patriotic thriller Da Lu (1934; The Highway). Star peaked with such sophisticated films as Yuan Muzhi’s Malu Tianshi (1937; Street Angel), a tough-but-romantic vignette of life, love, and social injustice in Shanghai’s “lower depths”.

This golden age in Shanghai cinema was abruptly curtailed when the city fell to the Japanese in 1937. Few directors stayed to work under Japanese supervision; most fled to Hong Kong or inland to Wuhan, using severely limited resources to make agitprop films for the war effort. When production resumed in Shanghai in 1946, much had changed. The approaching civil war between KMT Nationalists and Communists sharpened the political climate, forcing all film-makers to take sides. Some left-wing directors fled to Hong Kong to avoid persecution; they were followed by many right-wing directors after the Communist victory in 1949. Shanghai films of the late 1940s relied more on dialogue and theatrical-style staging than had the pre-war films, but included a number of titles now internationally acknowledged as classics, such as Fei Mu’s searching analysis of post-war depression Xiao Cheng zhi Chun (1948; Spring in a Small Town) and Zheng Junli’s parable of working-class solidarity Wuya yu Maque (1949; Crows and Sparrows).

Joey Wong


The establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949 split Chinese cinema into three kinds. In China itself, the Communists set about reinventing cinema as a popular medium for the vast rural hinterlands, which had never seen films before; most films became vehicles for government propaganda, challenging feudal traditions and superstitions, offering ideological education, and publicizing national movements and campaigns. Soon after 1949, foreign film imports were limited to titles from other Communist countries. New state-run film studios were opened in many regions, while distribution and exhibition were expanded to reach the furthest-flung parts of the country. Some 600 films were produced in the years between 1949 and 1966, which marked the start of the hugely disruptive Cultural Revolution and the enforced shutdown of the film industry for six years. Some films from the first 17 years of Communist rule did their best to revive the old Shanghai traditions of entertainment value, style, and sophistication; the best were Xin Juzhang Daolai zhi Qian (1956; Before the New Director Arrives), a Gogol-esque satire by the ex-actor Lü Ban, and Wutai Jiemei (1964; Two Stage Sisters), a sumptuous melodrama about the theatre world by Xie Jin.

The retreat of KMT Nationalists to Taiwan in 1949 laid the foundations for film production on the island. The KMT’s own Central Motion Picture Corporation (CMPC) was the first (and for many years the biggest) producer, specializing in anti-Communist propaganda films, historical dramas, and middle-class melodramas. The CMPC’s example gradually brought other producers into the field, and a thriving subculture of low-budget features in Taiwan’s own dialect took shape alongside the “prestige” productions in Mandarin Chinese. However, the most prominent directors—Li Hanxiang, King Hu (Hu Jinquan), and Li Xing—were all ex-mainlanders dedicated to upholding pre-Communist cultural traditions.

The most prolific centre for the production of Chinese films after 1949 was Hong Kong, where the many companies producing films in the local Cantonese dialect were joined by as many new companies producing films in Mandarin. Production in Cantonese remained extremely prolific until the advent of broadcast (as distinct from cable) television in 1967: averaging 125 features a year throughout the 1950s, production peaked at over 200 films a year in 1960 and 1961. Mandarin production got off to a hesitant start (6 features in 1946, 15 in 1950), but was up to nearly 80 films a year by 1970. Both film industries had dissident left-wing factions determined to raise difficult social questions, but both were dominated by Hollywood-style entertainment films with a Chinese twist. The single most popular genre was the swordplay/martial arts film, which, in its early 1970s incarnation as the kung fu film, gave Chinese cinema its first palpable international successes and made Bruce Lee the first globally famous Chinese star.


Like their contemporaries in North America and Europe, the major Chinese film companies (Shaw Brothers and Golden Harvest in Hong Kong, CMPC in Taiwan) gradually lost touch with the tastes and interests of audiences seduced by the newly available medium of television. By the late 1970s, the industries in Hong Kong and Taiwan were in a slump; at the same time the state-run studios in China were struggling to find a role in the new political and economic climate after Mao’s death. These developments created the conditions for the arrival of successive “new waves”, which transformed Chinese cinema and gradually won it a substantial international audience.

The first “new wave” broke in Hong Kong in 1979, when Ann Hui (Xu Anhua), Tsui Hark (Xu Ke), Yim Ho (Yan Hao), and other young directors—most of them trained in European or American film schools—moved from television into film production, generally working with small, independent production companies and bringing a strong engagement with social realities into their films. Taiwan soon followed suit: the CMPC began producing portmanteau films with episodes by hitherto untried directors such as Edward Yang (Yang Dechang), Hou Xiaoxian, Wang Tong, and Wan Ren. And a ‘new wave’ reached China in 1984, when recent graduates from the Beijing Film Academy began making films with innovative structures and tones, asking questions rather than providing pat political answers. Through such films as Huang Tudi (1984; Yellow Earth, Chen Kaige), Daoma Zei (1986; Horse Thief, Tian Zhuangzhuang), and Hong Gaoliang (1987; Red Sorghum, Zhang Yimou) this group (nicknamed the “Fifth Generation” film-makers by Chinese critics) transformed the image of Chinese cinema at home and abroad.

But the early creative momentum of these “new waves” proved impossible to sustain. As the interest of domestic audiences waned once again in the 1990s, many of the leading directors were forced into commercial or political compromises. Thanks to investment from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan, those in China initially weathered the storm better than their contemporaries. Films such as Zhang Yimou’s Ju Dou (1990) and Dahong Denglong Gaogao Gua (1991; Raise the Red Lantern), Tian Zhuangzhuang’s Lan Fengzheng (1993; The Blue Kite), and Chen Kaige’s Bawang Bieji (1993; Farewell, My Concubine) won festival prizes, Academy Award (Oscar) nominations, and widespread distribution. However, the Chinese government’s attempts to reform the film industry by privatizing the studios and tightening the rules around censorship and foreign investment halted most of such production in its tracks. Meanwhile audiences in Hong Kong and Taiwan were en masse transferring their allegiance from local films to imports from Hollywood and elsewhere. The economic depression of the late 1990s and early 2000s intensified the problems.

All three Chinese film industries are currently shadows of their former selves. Production levels have fallen sharply, and mainstream Chinese films no longer dominate the distribution circuits of East Asia. Paradoxically, though, commercial decline has spurred creativity. Individual film-makers in China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong (many working through their own independent companies) continue to produce outstanding work and win both festival prizes and foreign sales. In Hong Kong, this field is led by Wong Kar-Wai (Wang Jiawei), whose Hua Yang Nian Hua (2000; In the Mood for Love) is one of the most profitable Chinese films ever released in Western Europe. In Taiwan, the most high-profile exports have been Edward Yang’s Yi Yi (2000; A One and a Two…) and Hou Xiaoxian’s Hai Shang Hua (1998; Flowers of Shanghai); younger directors such as Tsai Mingliang have also made their mark, and the Taiwanese-American director Ang Lee gave Chinese cinema its first multiple-Oscar winner with Wo Hu Zang Long (2000; Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon).

There has also been a surge of low-budget “non-professional” film-making throughout the region, most visibly in China, where young directors unable to find support in what remains of the film industry have taken matters into their hands by making independent films outside the law. In the 1990s, Wang Xiaoshuai, He Jianjun, Zhang Yuan, and other “indie” film-makers effectively displaced their peers in the industry as upholders of artistic excellence and the spirit of innovation in Chinese cinema. Thanks to the example of Jia Zhangke, director of Xiao Wu (1997), Zhantai (2000; Platform), and Ren Xiao Yao (2002; Unknown Pleasures), more of these “outlaw” film-makers are appearing in China every year. The irony of their success abroad is that their films cannot legally be distributed in China itself. See also New Wave.

Reviewed By:
Tony Rayns

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