THE JAPANESE JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL RESEARCH
Online ISSN : 2187-5278
Print ISSN : 0387-3161
ISSN-L : 0387-3161
Volume 75 , Issue 4
Showing 1-16 articles out of 16 articles from the selected issue
Urgent Special Issue: Teachers' Work and Needs/Publicness
  • Shinji NOBIRA
    2008 Volume 75 Issue 4 Pages 356-367
    Published: December 31, 2008
    Released: November 28, 2017
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Since the middle of the 1990's, a lot of educational and school teacher-related policies have been adopted in Japan. The policies represent the demands of the people for liberalization and diversification of school education on the one hand, and at the same time an effort to strengthen control of schools and teachers by the state on the other. Because of the policies, diversification of jobs for school teachers has resulted. Critical and evaluative discourse by people of school teachers concerning the unclear foundation of their professionalism has arisen. It is certainly important to bridge the gap between professionals and the public in general on the one hand. But, there can be some problems caused by bridging this gap, such as the inflow of many opinions from the public into schools, increasing and diversifying the jobs of teachers as educational service providers, and the change in direction of educational practice by the public's opinions instead of the professional knowledge and judgment of certified teachers. How should the professionalism of school teachers relate to the diverse demands for school education by parents and other people? What is one factor teachers as professionals should seek for in autonomy from the control of the state? In response to these questions, the foundation of school teachers' professionalism is reexamined in this paper concerning the public school education system as it is made available as a service to all citizens. The structure of this paper is as follows: First, the ambivalent tendency of school teacher policies towards professionalization and deprofessionalization in recent years in Japan will be examined (1). After a brief review of the development of research on the professionalism of school teachers in pedagogy of postwar Japan, four main theories on the public availability of school education will be examined. Through these studies the new foundation of the professionalism of school teachers is sought out in the communicative competence of teachers (2). In the final part of this paper the relation of the professionalism of school teachers to freedom of children and freedom of parents for the education of their children will be discussed (3). As for the conclusion of this paper, the communicative competence is considered to be at the base of the non-authoritarian professionalism of school teachers, which has a certain autonomy in relation to the diverse opinions of parents and the demands of the state, is also able to mediate between the two, and guarantees the right to education and development of children. The relationship between the professionalism of teachers and the freedom of children should be mutually regulated. On the other hand, it is concluded that the relationship between the professionalism of teachers and the freedom of parents to regulate the kind of education their children receive should be understood from the point of view of "the right of the parties concerned," which is able to transform the traditional concept of the authoritarian relationship between the professionals and the public putting the focus on "the right of the consumer."
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  • Yasuyuki IWATA
    2008 Volume 75 Issue 4 Pages 368-380
    Published: December 31, 2008
    Released: November 28, 2017
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    After WWII, teachers' pre-service education in Japan has taken place in a context of conflict between universities and faculties of education with obligatory courses for teachers' licenses (as required for students) and other general universities with optional courses (without any requirements for students). However, the conflict seems to be subsumed by recent trends for teacher education reform in Japan related to neo-liberalism. Then it can be said that a new type of conflict has arisen between the "political order" and the "educational order". From the beginning of the modern public school system in Japan, the teachers' preservice education system has been based on two sub-systems, namely the system fully and directly controlled by "public" government (such as Normal Schools) and the system without strong control (certain "private" institutions). Even before WWII, there existed a system based on the market theory for teachers' licenses such as "Approved Institutes for Non-examined Teacher's Certificate" and many private institutes have voluntarily had optional courses for teachers' licenses according to their own strategies. However, the balance between "public" and "private" changed after WWII, so "public" aspects in teachers' pre-service education have decreased. Therefore, there is apprehension that the "public" school system in Japan cannot be maintained. For example, teachers' licenses for primary school have come to be provided by more and more universities and faculties of human science while almost no universities and faculties of natural science can provide those licenses. Furthermore, no viable solution has been found to resolve this problem. From the other point of view, the phenomenon has occurred despite many partial amendments (without any drastic changes) to the original structure of the post-war teachers' pre-service education system, though many problems have arisen that could not be anticipated from the beginning. Expanded higher education has caused the overproduction of teachers' license holders and the decline in prestige of the licenses themselves. Moreover, the rise of "private" companies as the providers of various educational services has threatened teachers' identities in the "public" school system. At this point, it is necessary to comprehensively re-examine the status of teachers' pre-service education system, with regard to the entire public school system. Thus, educational researchers have to build a certain "grand design" to deal with the phenomena above. And it is crucial to seek a certain solution among various and possible options with careful recognition of the status quo considering the fact that achievements levels of the "East-Asian style" can easily be merchandised and that teachers' license holders in Japanese schools are requested to have many humanistic competencies other than the ability to "teach".
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  • Masafumi OBINATA
    2008 Volume 75 Issue 4 Pages 381-392
    Published: December 31, 2008
    Released: November 28, 2017
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    The formation of cooperative relationships between teachers and parents is becoming increasingly difficult in contemporary times. We can view such a phenomenon as something derived from a "privatization" stance adopted by parents. In other words, parents' interests are concentrated only on their children. Thus, it is plausible that publicness in education has been weakened. In such a situation, this paper investigates the manner in which dialogue can be established between teachers and parents. To this end, I observed the teaching methods adopted by a primary school teacher, San-ni Shimomura. His method entails the issuance of classroom newsletters to parents of pupils on almost all working days. Through his classroom newsletter, Shimomura intends to communicate with the parents. In the newsletter, the parents' views appear as responses and lead to a dialogue. Since the replies are published in the newsletter-whose readership is constituted by parents-an element of publicness is evident. For the purpose of examination, I set two requisites for publicness-"potentiality of the expression of parents' views" and "potentiality of the establishment of common interests among parents." These parameters have been adopted from Hannah Arendt's theory of publicness. The idea of an "intimate sphere" is also researched as part of the examination, since an atmosphere of security and reliability is required for modern-day parents to air their views. The following are the findings of the research. First, the characteristics of the classroom newsletter are explained. I ascertain the process through which parents begin to develop interest in all the children in the classroom and in the classroom atmosphere by means of the newsletter. Second, I examine the cases of two parents whose views were published in the classroom newsletter. It was difficult for both of them to express their views because their own children were physically handicapped. However, the responses of these parents reflect the faith that they have in other parents and the teacher and the sense of security they feel in. the medium of communication. This suggests that parents express their views in a public sphere if they perceive a sense of reliability and security. Third, I determine how the space where parents can express their views develops. This space was developed and maintained only by the appearance of parents who voiced their concerns. Fourth, I study the position and role of the teacher in the context of dialogue and publicness. In a dialogue that leads to publicness, a teacher should be one of the parties in the dialogue and serve as a moderator of the space. We find that to be in such a position, teachers are required to engage in reflection and exercise discretion as professionals.
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  • Yuto KITAMURA
    2008 Volume 75 Issue 4 Pages 393-404
    Published: December 31, 2008
    Released: November 28, 2017
    JOURNALS FREE ACCESS
    Given the growing importance of demonstrative data in the process of public policy formulation including educational policies, many countries adopt education indicators in the evaluation of their educational policies. This paper provides an overview of the utilization of various education indicators for the purpose of understanding the educational situation in developing countries and discusses how such indicators are applied in connection with educational development assistance to these countries. The policy-making process in the education sector in developing countries can be all the more complex because it is necessary to analyze the education sector itself, in terms of the implementation of educational policies, levels of student achievement, and educational development aid provided by developed countries (donor countries) and international agencies. In other words, evaluation must concern both the practical efficacy of educational policies in developing countries and the effectiveness of educational development aid to these countries. Although in either type of evaluation, the importance of internationally comparable education indicators is generally understood, education indicators are not necessarily most effectively utilized in actual evaluation. In view of the need to ameliorate this situation, this paper discusses education indicators that have been developed in connection with educational policy-making in developing countries, as well as how they have been, and can be or should be, utilized. Firstly, the paper points out the importance of utilizing education statistics to analyze the educational situations of developing countries and formulate, monitor and evaluate their educational policies. Secondly, the paper provides an overview of a range of indicators that have been developed mainly by international agencies such as UNESCO and OECD thus far for international comparison of education. These indicators include the World Education Indicators and the EFA Indicators, both of which have been widely utilized in order to assess the educational situation of developing countries. The paper also introduces the EFA Development Index, which is adopted for measuring the degree of EFA achievement in respective countries. Thirdly, the EFA FastTrack Initiative (FTI), which is being actively introduced into low-income countries, is taken up as a case of international assistance to developing countries, to examine how educational reforms in developing countries have been actually assessed with the use of education indicators. The paper concludes that evaluation based on education indicators in connection with the international community's assistance to developing countries does not necessarily reflect clearly justifiable criteria as the case of the EFA-FTI shows that further examination is required concerning optimal application of education indicators in consideration of actual situations in developing countries. One major future challenge lies in defining ideal education indicators and their position in understanding the situation of the education sector of respective developing countries as accurately as possible in the evaluation of educational policies from various approaches including the evaluation of EFA-FTI effectiveness. In meeting this challenge, a multifaceted approach and reasoning framework should be established, so as to realize educational policy evaluation that can truly contribute to improving the educational situation in developing countries.
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