Educational Studies in Japan
Online ISSN : 2187-5286
Print ISSN : 1881-4832
ISSN-L : 1881-4832
Volume 4
Showing 1-12 articles out of 12 articles from the selected issue
Editorial
Special Issue: Educational Studies in Japan: Present State and its Challenges
  • Masami YAMAMOTO
    Type: Article
    2009 Volume 4 Pages 5-15
    Published: 2009
    Released: June 27, 2018
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS
    The aim of this paper is to consider the trends and problems of Japanese educational science from the viewpoint of Tokugawa educational thought. Firstly, I reexamine the past main works of the studies on Tokugawa educational thought, and conduct a survey of the trends of these studies. Second, through critical analysis of these studies I try to elucidate problems regarding Japanese educational science, and discuss viewpoints on the studies of Tokugawa educational thought in relation to future educational studies in Japan. In conclusion, we can ascertain the following two points on the characteristics of the trends; (1) most studies on the history of Tokugawa educational thought have been entirely-focused in their research on Tokugawa thought through educational theories valued by modern educational science or the degree of familiarity to modern Japanese education; (2) as a result, the so-called "theory about the lack of educational thought in pre-modern Japan" has been held as the most common evaluation of Tokugawa thought. With our full attention on the above two points, we must adopt research methods which first try to grasp Tokugawa educational thought in the historical context of the Tokugawa era, and second, try to examine various problems of modern education and educational science from the reverse perspective of the pre-modern era. We should be able to see another world of modern education and educational science from these viewpoints.
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  • Toshihiko SAITO
    Type: Article
    2009 Volume 4 Pages 17-25
    Published: 2009
    Released: June 27, 2018
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS
    Numerous historical studies have been done regarding education in modern Japan from a great diversity of viewpoints. It is true that studies of educational systems and history of educational policies have made considerable progress. Still, there remains great room for improvement in terms of both quantity and quality for studies of everyday educational activities that actually took place in school or of actual school lives of "learners." Then, what approaches are available to capture the history of the experiential world of the "learners"? Indeed, there are various difficulties related to historiographical theories. For instance, historical sources describing regular education in middle schools are in most cases not recorded as historical literature or they no longer exist. This paper is one approach to explore the history of the reality of "learners" in the Meiji era. Using the circumstances of illnesses in middle school students and withdrawals from school observed by Lafcadio Hearn, an English teacher in Japan, as a starting point, this study discusses the serious problems and fundamental issues in middle school education at the time.
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  • Etsuko YAGUCHI
    Type: Article
    2009 Volume 4 Pages 27-35
    Published: 2009
    Released: June 27, 2018
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS
    Social education is seen as one important way of building a learning society, through supporting people in solving their daily problems. In a learning society, people could participate in a big project to develop their community as well as enjoying learning, without being excluded because of economic status, gender age or ethnicity. Implementing a community education plan is the important role for social education, in other words, social education has become a main actor in a changing society.
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  • Yutaka OTSUKA
    Type: Article
    2009 Volume 4 Pages 37-51
    Published: 2009
    Released: June 27, 2018
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS
    The purpose of this article is not to discuss fieldwork at large but rather to examine the position and role of the research method in one discipline, comparative education. For this purpose, first of all, the content of articles published by the Japan Comparative Education Society's journal over the past 35 years is analyzed. Based on this analysis, the implications, significance as well as apprehension surrounding doing fieldwork in comparative studies of education are then discussed. There are 504 articles published from the first volume to the latest No. 39. The classification based on a full reading of all the articles indicates 86 (approximately 17.1%) are found to be based on the data and information collected and formed by the researchers themselves with the various techniques in their fields. While studies about Western advanced countries account for a majority in all articles, those utilizing various techniques in the field remain limited at 20. The rest of the fieldwork-based articles concern developing countries. However an increasing number of fieldwork-based studies have been appearing in the JCES journal. Not only has the speed of this increase been accelerating, but also the quality of the fieldwork seems to have been improving gradually. Similarly, countries and areas to be the object of investigation have been diversifying. What is perhaps the most salient phenomenon is that studies centering on advanced Western countries are also coming to adopt fieldwork as their primary research method. These recent academic trends may indicate that studies in Comparative Education in Japan are finally coming into their own: what was long considered a 'peripheral' or 'consumer' position in academia is now being replaced with hope for making original and active contributions to research in the field.
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  • Hiroyuki NOMOTO
    Type: Article
    2009 Volume 4 Pages 53-65
    Published: 2009
    Released: June 27, 2018
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS
    In Japan, the Ainu people have been living mainly in Hokkaido and many Koreans continue to live since the end of the World War Two. Since 1990's, the number of migrant workers has increased rapidly. In this sence, Japanese society has been multicultural and multiethnic. However, those minority groups have been strictly discriminated against in Japanese society and in schools, they have not been given opportunities to multicultural and multiethnic education. Against the ignorance of their culture and language, those minority groups established their own schools apart from existing school system to educate their children with pride of their own culture and language. Today those international and ethnic schools have an important role in providing foreign children with alternative education. Then, those schools have to be supported financially by the Government. The struggle of the Ainu people to establish their own school should be also supported by the Government, since the Ainu people have been recognized as an indigenous people by the Japanese Government. With globalization, the number of foreign students has rapidly increased in public schools. In order to respond to the educational needs of those children, the educational authorities have begun to provide them with special programs for teaching Japanese as a Second Language (JSL) and with native language instruction. Concerning JSL programs, the period of the program should be extended to more than 5 years. It is too short to develop cognitive/academic language proficiency (CALP). On the other hand, regarding the quality of JSL program, the content-based program has to be expanded instead of the program that develops only basic interpersonal communicative skills (BICS). Native language instruction for different cultural backgrounds should be implemented in every public school as quickly as possible if there is even one such student.
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Articles
  • Tomoka TORAIWA
    Type: Article
    2009 Volume 4 Pages 67-78
    Published: 2009
    Released: June 27, 2018
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS
    One of the original goals of women's studies programs in the United States has consisted in empowering women to enable them to take control of their own lives. In order to achieve that goal, feminist scholars have developed a new pedagogy aimed at empowering students through the creation of equal relations between faculty and students, as well as among students in the classroom. In this paper I address the paradox raised by a concept of empowerment as applied to a site like women's studies and argue that the role of instructors' authority and power in the construction of a safe space is in this case fundamental to students' empowerment. The argument is based on data collected through semi-structured interviews conducted at a research university in the United States. Research participants narrate that the creation of a learning environment where students feel safe to express themselves on delicate issues of gender race, class, or sexuality, and where they can voice their personal experiences, is necessary for empowerment to unfold. However, my research suggests that there are a number of obstacles that hinder the emergence of a safe space in women's studies classrooms. These involve the presence of fault lines of class, race, and sexuality, as well as the rise of strong emotional intensities. To overcome those obstacles, the interviewees revealed that the role of instructors was central; instructors exercised power and authority in the classroom and constructed a safe space from "above." The interviews suggest that the type of power in operation in the women's studies classroom helps overcome obstacles to empowerment rather than prevent it. In conclusion, I suggest that the seeming paradox of empowerment is produced by the conceptual association of "power" with a coercive, rather than an enabling definition of its effects.
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  • Koji TANAKA, Niels VAN STEENPAAL
    Type: Article
    2009 Volume 4 Pages 79-89
    Published: 2009
    Released: June 27, 2018
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS
    The recent "Nationwide academic achievement and study situation survey" was clearly influenced by the idea of "authentic assessment" an educational assessment perspective focused on "quality" and "engagement". However, when "performance assessment", the assessment method corresponding to this focus, is adopted in academic achievement surveys, it runs the risk of turning into a rigid hollow structure. In this paper I will reflect on the ideal application of performance assessment in academic achievement surveys, and will investigate the concepts of "consequential validity", "equity", and "moderation" in regard to their potential to further develop the discourse.
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Symposium:Social Changes in East Asia and Education Reforms
  • Type: Appendix
    2009 Volume 4 Pages 91-
    Published: 2009
    Released: June 27, 2018
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS
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  • Youl-Kwan SUNG
    Type: Article
    2009 Volume 4 Pages 93-102
    Published: 2009
    Released: June 27, 2018
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS
    This study seeks to explore whether unregulated school choice has the potential to diversify the high school curriculum, as elitist conservatives and neoliberals in Korean argue. Making use of qualitative research methods, this paper examines how national curriculum policies are implemented at two selected high schools (high-achievement 1, low-achievement 1) in a non-HSEP area. Elective curriculum and ability grouping, as two core policy measures of the current national curriculum, are intended to overcome the monopolized curriculum implementation that has plagued Korean education. However, the study finds that the term 'curriculum diversity' in the document of national curriculum, rather than indicating inclusiveness, actually means 'curricular variety' and 'differentiation of curriculum' through electives and between-classroom ability grouping. While the mandated elective curriculum appears on the surface to realize students' career aspirations, it actually turns out to emphasize particular subject matters thought to be fruitful for higher college entrance exam scores. In addition, a cream-skimming effect is observed as a result of between-classroom ability grouping that makes it difficult for teachers to implement prepared lesson plans, especially in classrooms with low-scoring students.
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  • Xiangming CHEN
    Type: Article
    2009 Volume 4 Pages 103-115
    Published: 2009
    Released: June 27, 2018
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS
    Traditionally school teachers have been considered as lacking knowledge of their own. They were regarded as consumers of knowledge created by university researchers outside their practice. With the increasing call for teachers to assume a role as researcher in recent China, more and more research has been conducted into the knowledge of school teachers. This paper discusses a research project on school teachers' practical knowledge. As one of the many reform strategies, the research is conducted by a collaborative team of university researchers and school teachers. The purpose of the research is to empower school teachers by identifying and acknowledging a special kind of knowledge of their own. By way of classroom observation, interviewing and document analysis, the team finds that teachers' practical knowledge can be conceived as composing 4 major components. 1) Subject: the owners of the practical knowledge are teachers instead of academics. 2) Problem situation: teachers are confronted with a puzzling problem to be solved. 3) Reflection-in-action: teachers need to take measures to solve the problem in order to obtain an "experience" in Dewey's sense. This experience relates "doing" to "receiving" (interactive), and will guide teachers' teaching in the future (continuity). 4) Beliefs: although practical knowledge is embedded within the whole "experience", it can be distilled into a belief which will be subsequently verified by teachers' actions and will direct their follow-up actions.
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  • Atsuko SHIMBO
    Type: Article
    2009 Volume 4 Pages 117-122
    Published: 2009
    Released: June 27, 2018
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS
    The symposium entitled "Social Changes in East Asia and Educational reforms: China, Korea, and Singapore" suggested that these countries are carrying out rather drastic educational reforms in the context of rapid social changes. The knowledge gained from the symposium also has important suggestions for Japanese educational reform. In addition, as a result of the discussions among the three panelists, common challenges in educational reforms in Asia emerged. These include, for example, the rise of the post-modern type meritocracy represented by learning ability and human power; the pursuit of excellence versus fairness and equality of education; the increase of poverty and deterioration of learning environments for children during economic recessions; and the improvement of teacher quality.
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