2011 Volume 56 Issue 2 Pages 373-390
In Japan, teachers not only teach students inside the classroom, but also manage extracurricular sports activities outside the classroom. This system of extracurricular sports activities is a distinctive feature of school education in Japan, and is totally dependent on the voluntary attitude of teachers. Although extracurricular sports activities are not included in the Course of Study, teachers are positively willing to manage them as school educational activities. Why should this be so? Furthermore, the contents of extracurricular sport activities seem to have no relationship with school education. Then, how do teachers identify sports as school educational activities? In order to examine these questions, this study focused on teachers' interpretations of difficulties in combining sports with education, as these difficulties ultimately determine whether teachers are positively willing to manage extracurricular sports activities. In managing school educational activities, teachers inevitably encounter certain difficulties (e.g. coping with diversity among students). How, then, do teachers interpret these difficulties?
The purpose of this study was to clarify the reasons why teachers are positively willing to manage extracurricular sport activities in Japan by analyzing their interpretations of difficulties with combining sports and education. The data were gathered by fieldwork at a public junior high school in the Kanto area. At this school, 12 teachers who managed extracurricular sport activities were observed and interviewed. Among them, a male teacher managing the rugby club was the most positive. This study focused on this individual as a case example to examine the reasons for his positive attitude.
This teacher divided the students into a high-skill and a low-skill groups in order to coach them efficiently. However, that division caused high-skill students to bully those with a low skill level, which obviously was not desirable in educational terms. However, the teacher interpreted the presence of a bully as a good opportunity to educate his students. Therefore, this difficulty was “solved” by the interpretation of this particular teacher.
In conclusion, various individual teachers' interpretations can “solve” certain difficulties and allow them to combine sports with education, allowing them to positively manage extracurricular sports activities as school educational activities without any conflict.