The “didactic interpretation of music” theory was proposed by Karl Heinrich Ehrenforth, a German music educational theorist. Ehrenforth’s theory facilitates an understanding (Verstehen) of musical works. This study seeks to clarify how Ehrenforth’s theory conquered the problem of subject-object dualism in music education in German schools in the early 1970s and to examine the significance of his theory, including its perspective on the dialogic Bildung. This study reveals three points and their significance. The first point concerns the understanding of a musical work. Ehrenforth says that the structure of such understanding is a dialogic circle between the musical work and the person playing or listening to that work. The underlying theory behind this idea stems from Hans Georg Gadamer’s philosophical hermeneutics. Through this ontological theory, Ehrenforth conquered the subject-object dualism in the understanding of music. He asserts three principles: (1) the truth of the understanding resides not only in the musical work but also in human life (Leben), (2) the “life-world” lays the foundation for the understanding of musical works, and (3) the understanding of musical works contributes to self-understanding. These assertions are significant because such an understanding can lead not to one-sided (subjective or objective) musical reception but to a deep “concurrence” with the musical work. The second point concerns the didactic mediation between children and music that brings understanding of musical works. Ehrenforth uses the dialogic circle as a mediation model, saying that the dialogic circle should be founded on the “life-world”; in the dialogic circle, children revise their “prejudice” toward a musical work by sympathizing and criticizing in turn. Therefore, the dialogic circle represents a lifelong process of developing experiences and values. In music classes, the dialogic circle must be realized. The teacher must consider two dimensions: the objective aspect of instruction in musical works and the subjective aspect of the personal experience of children. Furthermore, Ehrenforth says that the model of the dialogic circle functions as a dialogic Bildung in music education. Dialogic Bildung refers to the process of self-formation through the dialogue between the world and oneself. To use German pedagogical concepts, intentional instruction about the musical work can be described as “Erziehung” and the process of self-formation founded on personal experience as “Bildung”. The significance of this theory is found in Ehrenforth’s location of Erziehung within the process of dialogic Bildung. The third point concerns general education. Ehrenforth believes that all school education must take the perspective of dialogic Bildung. The present pedagogy asserts the importance of competencies or qualifications useful to society. In contrast, the concept of dialogic Bildung has an existential perspective, and placing Erziehung within the dialogic Bildung demonstrates that children create new truths in the process of acquiring various viewpoints on the world, sympathize with and criticize these viewpoints in turn, and not only learn about but also find concurrence with the world and come to a deeper self-understanding. Therefore, the concept of dialogic Bildung has significance beyond the field of music education.
In this study, I discuss the history of Musashino Gakuin in Saitama, which was established as a national reform school in 1919, and specifically its practice developed based on educational philosophy. The research methods, focusing on the educational theory of the founding director Syuntai Kikuchi (1875-1972), analyze how his educational policy was accepted among the staff. The following three points are clarified. First, I examine the background of staff members and the educational structure of Musashino Gakuin during its early years. I then show that the practice of Musashino Gakuin through Kikuchi reflected the elements of holistic education and advocacy of children’s rights promoted by the Taisho new education movement. Second, I examine Morio Munakata (1891-1961), who worked at Musashino Gakuin for 14 years while receiving guidance from Kikuchi. He went on to become director of Hata Gakuin, a reform school in Nagano Prefecture, in 1935. His practice reflects of Kikuchi’s policies while demonstrating the changes in educational policy carried out by regional reform school directors during the war. Third, I examine the major changes in educational policy carried out by Takaharu Kumano (1882-1975), who was appointed as Kikuchi’s successor. He promoted education in accordance with the war footing, and advanced the reform of Musashino Gakuin. At this time, Noboru Ishiwara (1893-1984) et al., who had worked under Kikuchi, resisted Kumano’s policies, leading to conflict between staff over educational policy. After World War II, Kumano retired in 1946, and Ishiwara’s education policy became accepted in the field of child welfare. Regarding the educational policy of Musashino Gakuin, Kikuchi in his later years also criticized the policy of Kumano while lauding that of Ishiwara.
This paper examines a controversy in the late 1950s between Kuwabara Masao of the Council of Hometown Education (Kyodo Kyoiku Zenkoku Kyogikai) and Takahashi Shinichi of the History Educationalist Conference of Japan (Rekishi Kyoikusha Kyogikai), and reconsiders it in the context of the history of post-war education in social studies. This paper analyzes a wide range of material, such as textbooks and sub-textbooks in social studies and papers written during the period of the controversy with a focus on descriptions of street advertisers (chindon-ya), and examines the process and causes through which the relationship of the two councils transformed into controversy in 1957 and 1958 despite the cooperation seen in the making of the 1955 elementary school social studies textbook Akarui Shakai. In addition, the paper looks at the supplementary teaching materials made by Kuwabara in an attempt to put his theory into practice after the controversy. The issues of the controversy included dimensions of the conflicts of the relationship between teachers and parents and the conflicts of social epistemology over what aspects of society should be taught in social studies. Kuwabara described competition among small and medium-sized capital in his sub-textbook, intended to give children a capitalist perspective to begin with, and then tried to make children notice how their hometown was deeply involved in the system of capital competition. This form of Hometown Education originated as a mediating item between Seikatsu-Tsuzurikata (life narratives) and history education in social studies. Due to changing movement policy on Seikatu-Tsuzurikata and history education, Kuwabara’s Hometown Education in social studies faded from view after the controversy. However, it presents us with many suggestions, given its aspect rooted in the diversity of parents’ lives in society, and its intentions to make children aware of the diversity of their parents’ lives as structural relationships based on the commonality of working capital.
In the United States, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) was enacted under Republican President Bush in 2002. NCLB is the latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), enacted in 1965 as part of the Johnson administration’s War on Poverty, and NCLB’s goal is to close the achievement gap for disadvantaged children, inherited from the original goal of ESEA. NCLB’s egalitarian goal is laudable, but it has received a lot of criticism as it strengthened the federal role of education to an unprecedented level and required each state to implement rigid accountability policies based on standards and tests along with specific sanctions. There are many studies that criticize NCLB from various perspectives, such as problems regarding teaching to the test, a narrow focus on the tested subjects, varied levels of standards across states, etc. There are also studies that clarify the emergence of New Democrats who changed their views and supported accountability-based reform in exchange for federal aid, and the presence of business and civil rights groups that supported NCLB with President Bush and bipartisan lawmakers. However, there has not been sufficient analysis of the reasons and strategies by which rigid accountability policies were promoted by liberal civil rights groups in particular in their pursuit of equality. This study aimed to find out why and how civil rights groups ended up promoting rigid accountability policies by focusing on the Education Trust. The research methods consist of a review of congressional hearings and other documents related to the Education Trust and of literature on the political background for promoting accountability-based reform, as well as an analysis of interviews with President Kati Haycock, etc. President Haycock became influential in federal education policy making as she participated in the Commission on Chapter 1 (Title I) in the early 1990s to review Chapter 1 policies-the major component of ESEA-and presented a reform proposal to the Congress. Regarding the reasons, the Education Trust actively promoted accountability-based reform because of disappointment and resentment toward unsatisfactory results and underutilization of input-based Chapter 1 programs over decades. Regarding the strategies, the Education Trust employed a shift of focus from disadvantaged children and special programs to all students and the whole-school approach during Phase 1 (1990-99), pursuit of rigid sub-group accountability and highly qualified teachers during Phase 2 (1999-2004), and defense of the merits of NCLB and promotion of ESEA reauthorization during Phase 3 (2004-08). This study revealed that the Education Trust utilized its accumulated knowledge of policy contents and processes of ESEA reauthorizations in the past and adopted the above strategies to improve the academic achievement of disadvantaged children and narrow achievement gaps, despite its recognition that there are discrepancies between its original intents and the actual provisions of the ESEA reauthorizations. Further studies are needed to examine how civil rights groups, such as the Education Trust, became involved in education policy making under the Obama administration from the perspectives of this study.