Peter Goldsbury wrote:
I think "Shihan" (certainly) and "Sensei" (probably) do have a very close connection with teaching and I doubt whether the structure of the words (the putative original meaning of the characters) has such a strong influence on what they mean in contemporary Japanese.
I think that the contemporary view of the word "teach" also differs from its Old English origination. The word "teach" is overused and has lost much of its purity, as have the words "teacher" and "teaching" (noun). My own personal view on this subject is that most of what we call "teach" is actually "instruct", and that "teach" is a much more subtle and powerful force than what is relegated to the general process of social education.
The commonality between Japan and the West in terms of its educational patterns would have to be the feudal "master - apprentice" system Jun alluded to. It is there that we should identify the motives of teaching, study, and learning as well as their methods.
And Jun, you never got back to me on the essay I sent you. I think I redid parts of it, so if you would like a new version let me know.