Educational Studies in Japan
Online ISSN : 2187-5286
Print ISSN : 1881-4832
ISSN-L : 1881-4832
Volume 9
Showing 1-12 articles out of 12 articles from the selected issue
Editorial
Special Issue: Education as Culture: Traditions, Transformations and Transactions
  • Miki SUGIMURA
    2015 Volume 9 Pages 3-15
    Published: 2015
    Released: June 27, 2016
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS
     Educating minority people has been a subject of multicultural education and is still practised in a framework of the nation-state. Multicultural education guarantees opportunities for minority people’s education and tries to preserve their culture, but it is often a controversial point between the majority and minority. In a multicultural society, nation-building and national integration should be imminent tasks, as such, national education plays a significant role in creating a ‘national culture’ In this process, the differences between majority and minority cultures have been discussed, and in many cases, the minority has been required to assimilate into the majority. In particular, language is a key point in the discussion because the government often forms its national integration policy by designating a national language as the medium of instruction in the national education system. Therefore, the minority is forced to learn the national language, but they often also strive to use their mother tongue in education in order to preserve their history, traditional culture and ethnic identity.
     Meanwhile, in this context of internationalisation, minority groups have moved beyond nations and developed various needs for language education. Language can be chosen as a strategy depending on the people’s political, economic and social position. In other words, language as culture can be a strategy for people to acquire better opportunities for study or work, and sometimes more importance is placed on learning the national language, or English, in addition to their mother tongue. These changing roles of language should be considered as a new function in multicultural education to guarantee a minority group’s educational needs.
     This paper discusses the changing roles of language as a factor of multicultural education by focusing on the education of minority Chinese as immigrants in Malaysia and Japan. By using the research framework of essentialism and social constructionism on culture, it clarifies that people’s demands for language education depend on their social situation, and is influenced by their transition during the emigration process. Subsequently, this paper proposes that the conventional research and practices of multicultural education have attached importance to people’s roots, but it is also important to consider their various paths when designing multicultural education.
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  • Naoko SAITO
    2015 Volume 9 Pages 17-26
    Published: 2015
    Released: June 27, 2016
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS
     This paper will explore an alternative mode of thinking and language for higher education, centering on the idea of “philosophy as translation”—an idea drawn from the American philosopher, Stanley Cavell. This broader sense of translation is inseparable from our reengagement with cultures, language, self and others. From this philosophical perspective, the paper proposes to convert our ways of thinking so that we can re-encounter different cultures as other through a process of border-crossing. It has educational implications in terms of an art of dialogue through which one exposes oneself to the other by releasing oneself and one’s own culture towards the possibility of further growth. This, I shall argue, necessitates us the conversion of the discourse and mode of thinking that pervades the current education for global citizenship, political education and critical thinking in higher education. In conclusion, I shall present the possibilities of a perfectionist education—an idea drawn from Cavell’s Emersonian perfectionism. This is in service of the enhancement of an alternative mode of global and cross-cultural dialogue. We need to tap new human resources for the global citizen—for the individual who will live by taking a chance in uncertainty and who can speak “without bounds.” This I shall conclude to be the fundamental sense of liberal education.
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  • Hideki MARUYAMA
    2015 Volume 9 Pages 27-39
    Published: 2015
    Released: June 27, 2016
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS
     This article describes how a language minority student developed through flexible online learning assistance for the entrance examination of a Japanese public high school. The simple camera function of a digital tablet helped the isolated Thai student attain success in developing academic skills and self-esteem. The case also shows the insight that small public schools and local governments with few resources in remote areas can have advantages thanks to the tablet and the internet.
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Articles
  • Ryoji MATSUOKA
    2015 Volume 9 Pages 41-54
    Published: 2015
    Released: June 27, 2016
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS
     Sociologists in education have pointed out disparities associated with socioeconomic status (SES) in the Japanese compulsory education system that was once regarded as egalitarian. In addition to disparities between individual students, prior studies have empirically shown SES-based disparities among schools on important indicators such as academic performance. This study extends the literature on the disparities among schools in compulsory education by focusing on one critical but inadequately explored factor: teachers.
     Using nationally representative data of junior high school teachers from the Teaching and Learning International Survey administered in 2013 (TALIS 2013), this study investigates whether teacher job satisfaction, which is known to be related to turnover, varies among schools, and whether teacher self-efficacy, a major factor influencing job satisfaction, differently shapes job satisfaction among schools. In addition, the study assesses whether school-level SES explains the disparities among schools in teacher job satisfaction and in the effect of self-efficacy on job satisfaction.
     Results using multilevel mediation modeling show that disparities in these two factors are indeed affected by SES. Specifically, school SES influences teacher job satisfaction through the frequency of students’ behavioral issues: teachers at higher-SES schools tend to face fewer student behavior problems, resulting in higher job satisfaction. Similarly, among teachers with the same level of self-efficacy, those at higher-SES schools have higher job satisfaction. These empirical findings indicate that teacher job satisfaction depends on the socioeconomic context in which teachers are embedded; the context influences teacher job satisfaction partly through students’ behavioral issues and the differing effects of teachers’ self-efficacy. Since the lower job satisfaction of teachers in lower-SES schools may lead to higher turnover rates, this situation calls for policy intervention to help teachers who face greater difficulties in the schools with less affluent students within Japan’s “egalitarian” compulsory education system.
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  • Wataru NAKAZAWA
    2015 Volume 9 Pages 55-68
    Published: 2015
    Released: June 27, 2016
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS
     This paper examines people’s attitudes toward public spending on education in Japan. It is well known that Japan has the smallest public education expenditure relative to GDP among the OECD countries, and this may yield unequal opportunities in education. The tax burden in Japan is small compared to those in OECD countries, and there may be no room to distribute public spending on education without a tax increase. The following three issues should be considered concurrently: people’s attitudes toward public expenditure on education, people’s attitudes toward the balance between tax burden and public services, and people’s trust in the government. In order to find simple patterns in these attitudinal responses, latent-class analysis was employed using data captured through the Japanese General Social Surveys conducted in 2010. As a result, four latent classes were found. The largest class accounted for over 40% of the sample, and members of this group think that the government should increase public expenditure on education and social security, even if tax increases are required. The same group, however, distrusted the government. Trust in small-government policy seemed to be weak among the Japanese people, because in all the latent classes, the majority of people wanted the government to improve public services, even if this would require tax increases. However, those who preferred no improvement in public services and did not trust the government were more likely to have a lower-level socioeconomic background, even though they would be the beneficiaries of those services. People who did not have children were less likely to agree with increasing public expenditure on education, because among the Japanese people, child-birth and child-rearing might be considered individual rather than social issues.
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  • William R. III STEVENSON
    2015 Volume 9 Pages 69-79
    Published: 2015
    Released: June 27, 2016
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS
     Over the past three years, Massive Open Online Courses, or MOOCs, have spanned the globe, educating millions with the potential to reach millions more. Taught by leading academics from top institutions, the courses are as complete as those offered in traditional settings; yet, in being web-based and tuition free, they disregard long-standing geographic and economic barriers. These qualities have led many to see MOOCs as a significant step towards universal education and the fulfillment of the United Nation’s goal of education as a human right. MOOCs, however, are not without precedent. As others have noted, the twentieth century witnessed several—generally unsuccessful—attempts at using film, radio, and television for large-scale learning. What has been mostly forgotten is that combining technology and methodology to increase efficiency and reach a “massive” number of students predates all of these examples. This study argues that the attempt to use technology for the purpose of mass education dates at least to the early nineteenth century with the educational system of Joseph Lancaster (1778-1838). Furthermore, the Lancasterian system was far more successful than most pre-MOOC applications of educational technology, having a profound and global impact. As such, the Lancasterian system deserves to be reevaluated in the context of recent developments and, as a predecessor to MOOCs, its successes and failures should serve as distant guideposts to further MOOC development.
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  • Yasuyuki IWATA
    2015 Volume 9 Pages 81-97
    Published: 2015
    Released: June 27, 2016
    JOURNAL FREE ACCESS
     A complication of teacher education policy in Japan is rooted in a gap between an image of teachers, which is held by society as a whole, and includes various character traits and the reality of Japanese university education. On the other hand, the expansion of an “open system” and lack of nationwide standard are making individual universities that provide teacher education programs in Japan to “narrow down.” The enforcement of the current approval system is deficient as a quality assurance measure, and therefore has many harmful effects. Accordingly, it is desirable to recognize the realities of teacher education and respect the independence of individual universities when considering teacher education reform in the future.
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