It has been said that Japanese society is already a kind of multicultural society; there are many children who have different cultural backgrounds in Japanese schools. We think this change will be more and more visible in Japanese schools. As a result, educators have to reconsider some views about education and schools in our society. The concept of “equity” in education is one of the most important of them.
The theme of the 2010 annual research project of the Intercultural Education Society of Japan was “Equity from the Perspective of Intercultural Education.” The purpose of this project was to examine the impact of the multicultural setting found today in Japanese society, especially in Japanese schools.
To examine this problem, some cases in schools in both the United States and Japan which have tried to guarantee equity to multicultural and minority children were presented at the Society’s annual conference. The themes of the three presentations were as follows.
(1) Misako Nukaga, “Struggles over Equity at School: U.S. Schools Promoting “Ruthless Equality” under No Child Left Behind Act.”
(2) Seiji Kawasaki, “Social Decision Making Skills needed in a Multicultural Society: An Analysis of Classroom Data of Equity Pedagogy in Hawaii.”
(3) Ryoko Niikura, “Case Studies from Japan’s Culturally Diversifying Classrooms.”
To facilitate future discussions, we asked Gunei Sato to specify the points of each presentation. His remarks about them are given in “Reconsider “Equity” from the Perspective of Intercultural Education.”
As the author has already pointed out previously in the Bulletin of this Society (No.15，2001)， Equity Pedagogy is the most important element of multicultural education. Historically， research studies on multicultural education have been focused only upon the educational environment or the school system，not upon the students' learning or curriculum.
In order to make it clear what should be taught for Equity Pedagogy, this article initially touches on two United States Supreme Court decisions, “Plessy vs. Ferguson, (1896)” and “Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka (1954)”. However, it is easily realized that giving a definition of equity is very difficult task for researchers, not unlike the problem of understanding equality. The article then inductively examines Hawaii’s elementary school teachers’ teaching practices and their way of thinking to clarify how to help students to understand “equity.”
The contents are as follows: (1) Introduction to Recent Trends in Equity Pedagogy; (2) Purpose of this Article; (3) Points of View to Analyze Classroom Data: Supreme Court Decisions Related to Racial Discrimination and Mrs. Ching’s Teaching Practices; (4) Mrs. Kubo’s Teaching Practices; (5) Reverse Discriminations by Seeking Equity; and (6) Conclusion.
In 2002, the Bush Administration launched the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which places emphasis on standardized curriculum, high-stakes testing, and accountability. Advocates of multicultural education have shown concerns over NCLB’s negative effects on teachers and students, claiming that such neoliberal educational reform puts democracy and equity at risk. The definition of “equity,” however, is arbitrary and contingent on the social and historical context. According to Kenneth R. Howe, “equity” in education has been interpreted from three different perspectives: the formal, the compensatory, and the participatory. Drawing on Howe’s theoretical frameworks, this paper examines the ways in which the meaning of “equity” is interpreted by teachers, students, and parents at schools where NCLB policy predominates.
Based on fieldwork at elementary schools in Los Angeles, the paper finds that the formal conception of equity, or what the author calls “ruthless equality,” currently dominates everyday teaching practices in schools. Strong emphasis on testing and accountability has deprived teachers of their liberty to use teaching practices that are based upon the compensatory and participatory frameworks of equity. Such contests between teachers and neoliberal educational policy, however, need to be seen in a positive light, since they have a potential to become the very source of changing the existing system. The fieldwork data show that teachers attempt to negotiate and resist the “ruthless equality” through classroom teaching. Parents of ethnic groups also made claims regarding their special needs, making teachers realize the need to include deviant voices of minorities in the decision-making process. These findings suggest that systemic efforts to raise school members’ awareness and foster local discussions about “equity” are a prerequisite for constructing a multicultural society.
In Japan, the growing number of children with foreign roots is making the country’s classrooms increasingly multicultural in nature. Faced with the challenge of teaching students from different cultural backgrounds, teachers are reassessing their ideas of “fairness.”
There is consequently a need both for consideration of organized policy initiatives that map out a new framework for teacher training and for teachers themselves to reconsider exactly what they have regarded and practiced as being fair to date.
In this paper, teachers’ attitudes and ideas on judgments of fairness are reported, and their perspectives are examined based on case studies of Japanese teachers’ interpretations of fairness and what they judge to be fair.
This provides the platform for a discussion of the following issues in teacher training:
(1) Questioning of conceptions of “fairness” considered self-evident to date
Teachers’ interpretations of fairness need to be reconfigured. In other words, teachers themselves need to relativize and revisit those conceptions of fairness that they have until now considered axiomatic, reconsider their own cognitive frameworks, and acquire new frameworks.
(2) Exploration of the fluidity of judgments of fairness and underlying factors
The criteria and significance of judgments of fairness not only change according to historical, economic, and sociocultural circumstances, such as differences in social and interpersonal structure, they also fluctuate dynamically in the context of interpersonal relations. Teacher training therefore needs to be adapted to develop teachers’ capacity to understand the interplay of these various factors.
The present study was organized to discuss the topic, “multicultural co-living” in real life settings, as part of the continuing effort to further examine the question presented in the previous special issue study of the 30th Annual Conference “Is multicultural co-living possible?” In this study, we attempted to respond to the following questions through real-life examples. What are the areas and settings in which “equity” becomes an issue? How is the issue of “equity” understood and reconstructed? What are the practices that attempt to rebel against “equity” in the status quo.
In this study, we discussed the following points: The areas and settings in which “equity” becomes an issue of concern; the way the idea of “equity” is understood and reconstructed by teachers; and examples of approaches in achieving “equity” by practicing teachers, whose approaches challenge equity in the status quo. As part of the study, three reports are included in this special issue. The first report by Dr. Misako Nukaga focuses on the conflicts’ between the policies around “equity” and real-life day-to-day problems faced by practicing teachers at public elementary schools in Los Angeles, CA. The second report by Dr. Seiji Kawasaki focuses on the way practicing teachers understand, interpret, and apply the concept of “equity” The third report by Dr. Ryoko Niikura discusses the necessity of developing new criteria for “equity” based on the examination of the criteria used by practicing teachers.
These reports share the following three points. First, they all consider “equity” as something that can be understood with consideration to the context and the circumstances it is in as opposed to something fixed. Second, they all utilize various perspectives in illustrating the conflicts and difficulties in dealing with the issue of “equity.” Third, they pay special attention to the process in which the concept of “equity” is interpreted and reconstructed by practicing teachers.
Future research needs to first address the training of teachers. For example, we need to provide educators with case studies that are effective in facilitating the awareness of the issue of “equity.” “Case conferences” can be used to promote reevaluation of the preexisting understanding of “equity.” Second, we need to expand our perspective from the individual to the collective level. Especially, there is a need for a more thorough description of the processes in which the shared concept of “equity” is formed. Third, in order to reevaluate and change the way “equity” has been interpreted in the preexisting system, we need to turn our attention to approaches to rebel against “equity” by practicing teachers.
The purpose of this study was to examine the structure of career decision-making self-efficacy and career support from teachers and staff towards Japanese language school students by factor analysis, and the influences of career support from teachers and staff in Japanese language schools on students’ career decision-making self-efficacy by regression strategies. 207 Chinese students and 212 Korean students in Japanese language schools were administered career decision-making self-efficacy scale and received career support scale.
By factor analysis, career decision-making self-efficacy were “future designing”, “information gathering”, “goal selection” and “accomplishment of plan”, and received career support were “mental and directive support”, “subsidiary informational support”, “basic informational support” and “offered opportunity support”.
Furthermore, regression strategies were employed to examine career support, clarity for one’s future job and Japanese language ability influence on career decision-making self-efficacy. The results showed the same factors and different factors had an effect on career decision-making self-efficacy by nationality. In the case of the Chinese students, “mental and directive support” and Japanese language ability had a significant influence on their career decision-making selfefficacy. On the other hand for the Korean students, “basic informational support” and clarity for one’s future job had a significant influence on their career decisionmaking self-efficacy.
Based on the findings of this study it is suggested that career support from teachers and staff who consider the students’ common points and characteristics by nationality have an effect on career decision-making self-efficacy of Japanese language school students when they decide upon their career.
The aim of this study is to investigate school life difficulties and coping behavior of newcomer students in Japan. The questionnaire was completed by 192 newcomer students of a public junior high schools and a high school in Hamamatsu city, Shizuoka. First, the factor analysis of school life difficulties of the newcomer student extracted six factors such as “Information and support shortage”, “School and teacher distrust”, “Discord with Japanese peer”, “Assimilation request”, “Japanese lack of understanding for different culture”, and “Perplexity to Japanese extracurricular activities”. The mean values of the factor scores of the junior high school students were compared with the high school students using at-test and significant differences were found in three factors. Junior high school students’ mean values were significantly higher than that of high school students in the “Information and support shortage” and “Perplexity to the extracurricular activities culture” factors. Within the “School and teacher distrust” factor, high school students’ mean value was significantly higher than that of junior high school students. The factor analysis of the coping behavior of the difficulties extracted five factors; “Problem solving”, “Emotional self-insistence”, “Positive evasion”, “Negative evasion”, and “Seeking support”. In these factors, there was no significant difference between junior high school and high school students, and the coping behaviors of both groups were similar. These results show the importance of the support according to educational stages. In junior high school, it is necessary for teachers to provide more information about school life to newcomer students. In high school, it is important for teachers to improve newcomer students’ selfefficacy and provide more support for newcomer students in general.
With the recent economic development in China, studying abroad has become a trend. Japanese language learners from various backgrounds have come to Japan. But the number of unmotivated students around the age group of 20, have rapidly increased in the past few years.
In this study, I analyzed how teachers deal with the problems from their Chinese students who repeat the same level at a Japanese language school, using modified grounded theory approach. Results revealed that, the structure of the teachers conflict and causal attribution of problems for the learners who re–take the same course.
Teachers put more effort with the students who find it hard to understand the lessons and try to motivate these learners but it doesn’t give results. Then teachers attribute its cause to the school and give up their effort.
It is required that the teachers devote themselves in their work and improve their method of teaching. To do this, it is necessary to remove the conflicts with learners who repeat the same level again. It is because that. the attitude of the teacher towards the students has a great influence on the attitude of the student towards his classes and also makes him yearn to learn more.
A teacher tries his best to motivate his student but when he fails, he accuses the educational system instead of himself. The system usually puts a lot of pressure on the teachers, asking them to follow the system’s curriculum. This puts the teacher in a dilemma and he is distracted.
So it is necessary that, the teachers and the school authorities plan together and make a curriculum that helps students who re–take the course to learn in a better way.
Due to the paucity of systematic studies on Chinese friendship, this study compared 169 Japanese, 172 Taiwanese and 260 Chinese university students’ perceptions of friendship. A quantitative approach was chosen after examining the concept of “intersubjectivity” that indicates self as a creation of culture and as having shared dimensions with others in the culture. Specifically, a questionnaire including 30 questions about friendship (e.g., “I often visit my friend without telling s/he beforehand,” “When I worry about my parents’ quarrels, I talk about my worries with my friend,” “When I’m short of money and my friend has some, s/he will help me,” etc.) was constructed based on previous interviews and a preliminary descriptive study conducted in 2009.
This study collected data in the three countries in 2009, and performed factor analysis to discover factors influencing participants’ friendship. The five factors that emerged included “closeness of social–distance,” “non–politeness,” “trustful relation,” “psychological burden” and “frankness with concerns of saving face,” respectively. Then, analysis of variance was utilized to compare the three groups in terms of the five factors. Results revealed the following two major findings:
1. Chinese participants tended to show the closest and most trusting relationships paying least attention to manners, and to express their opinions most straight–forwardly to friends among the three groups.
2. Japanese participants were inclined to indicate the farthest social–distance of the three groups, and to be concerned about manners most in order not to make friends feel uncomfortable.
Theoretical discussion in the framework of Umesao’s “Ecological View of History” helped provide reasons for Chinese participants’ strongest personal bond with friends, followed by the Taiwanese, and the Japanese weakest relations among the three groups.
The aim of my research is to examine the relation between Chinese students’ expectations and their negative perceptions towards association with Japanese students; besides, this research especially focuses on the gap between their expectations and experiences. As a result of the examination, 5 factors from each expectation and perception category were found by factor analysis, and in order to see the relation between ’Expectations in friendship’ and ’Negative perception towards friendship,’ multiple regression analysis was used. The result has proved that two major points have become quite clear in this examination. First point is that, ’A sense of discrimination’ is influenced by the expectation of “cooperative relationship with both Chinese and Japanese students on equal footing,” “Japanese students’ interests in Chinese students’ regions of origin” and the attribution of “age.” The result suggested that Chinese students who do not expect the cooperative relationship with Japanese students on equal terms so much, but expect Japanese students to be interested in their regions of origin, and those who are relatively older are more likely to feel a sense of discrimination against them. Second, their negative perception of “The failure of the cooperative relationship with both Chinese and Japanese students on equal footing” is influenced by the expectations of “cooperative relationship with both Chinese and Japanese students on equal footing” and “sharing activity.” Another conception of “The difficulties in making relationship” is influenced by the expectation of “reliable supports” while the other, that is, “The difficulty of interaction caused by differences in the styles of interaction” is influenced by “The empathy and interest for the individual.” Likewise, the result suggests that the Chinese students who expect interactions with Japanese students but feel unfulfilled with their expectations in their experiences are likely to have negative perceptions because of the dissatisfaction with the present situation.
Currently, the number of cross-cultural education supporters are increasing exponentially, resulting in developments of their careers. In areas with high concentration of foreign residents, the organization of several seminars aim to either improve the Japanese-language teaching skills of these cross-cultural education supporters or to encourage them to become coordinators of multicultural education and foster the realization of a multicultural society.
However, it is impossible to achieve those tasks by exclusively relying on techniques learned at these seminars. Moreover, in the fields of cross-cultural learning support, there is a power relation between the supporters and the people who is being supported, which becomes an obstacle for the concretization of multicultural coexistence.
This article offers insights towards the modification of that power relation. It relies on data analyses from research conducted among cross-cultural education supporters. This modification, namely a reciprocal relation, could be the first step towards the construction of multicultural society. On the other hand, it also incestigates the mechanisms through which career development addresses the educational difficulties of Brazilian children in Japan. Overcoming those situations could also benefit to the realization of multicultural society.