Online ISSN : 2187-5278
Print ISSN : 0387-3161
ISSN-L : 0387-3161
Volume 84 , Issue 4
Showing 1-15 articles out of 15 articles from the selected issue
Special Issue: Transformation of the Theory of Learning
  • 2017 Volume 84 Issue 4 Pages 397
    Published: December 31, 2017
    Released: October 12, 2019
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  • Noriaki MIZUMOTO
    2017 Volume 84 Issue 4 Pages 398-409
    Published: December 31, 2017
    Released: April 27, 2018

     This study investigates the kind of schools and teachers required by the transformation of the theory of learning. The organization and management of teachers and schools, as well as relevant underlying philosophies, differ according to the attitude to the complexity of education. The modern science of learning requires teachers and schools to respond positively to the complexity of education and to actively utilize it as a source of creativity. Just as improvisation and collaboration are important in educational activities, teacher autonomy and collaboration are viewed as important in school organization and management.

    However, in practice, reports reveal not so much autonomy and collaboration on the part of teachers as a decreased sense of self-efficacy, mounting stress and reduced perceived autonomy. This report analyzes the situation as a problem related to managerialism within the public educational administration. The issue is that managerialism, a private-sector approach, is institutionalized by public authorities within the education system, which is part of the public sector. The managerialism ideology proposes that societal problems are resolved exclusively through organizations and their management, and so requires the autonomy of organizations and their members. Most importantly, when managerialism is introduced into the public sector, it adopts strategies to increase the autonomy of organizations and their employees, including decentralization and relaxation of regulations. However, the influence of public authorities does not simply therefore recede. Instead, there is a change in the mechanism by which the authorities exercise influence.

     This change in mechanism can be analyzed using Searle's classification of regulative rules and constitutive rules. Specifically, among recent educational policies, the analysis covers official school evaluations, academic achievement surveys, and revision of curriculum guidelines. This analysis reveals that managerialism has shifted the format of authority in public educational administration from regulative rules toward constitutive rules. This is tantamount to a change in the nature of the agency of teachers. In an environment in which regulative rules hold sway, the teacher can hold on to the idea of being autonomous by resisting those rules. In contrast, in an environment in which regulative rules have given way to constitutive rules, autonomy has already been ceded to the teacher, although paradoxically reducing his or her perception thereof. In addition, to maintain the institutional facts produced via constitutive rules, institutional vocabulary must continually be used, increasing the use of insubstantial normative discourse. Thus teachers cannot be autonomous or collaborative even though, or even because, they are told to be so.

     Finally, this paper discusses the possibility of transforming the speech acts in public educational administration from declarations to directives. Not all teachers and not all schools are fully entrenched in the constitutive rules of managerialism. This allows alternatives to be found. It is possible for teachers themselves to redefine the problems by un-learning vocabularies of institution. They can acknowledge the actual situation in their own words by constructing their own relationships with children and/or parents. Thus they can restore autonomy as an ideal and look forward to collaborations based on this autonomy.

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  • Satomi SAITO
    2017 Volume 84 Issue 4 Pages 410-420
    Published: December 31, 2017
    Released: April 27, 2018

     The purpose of this paper is to explore how the spread of artificial intelligence (AI) and enhancement will change “academic ability” and “the meaning of learning” for human beings. It also speculates about the nature of future pedagogical challenges. To discuss AI and its implications for society, reports such as those issued by the Cabinet Office's Advisory Board on Artificial Intelligence and Human Society have already been published; however, the issues raised in these materials are as yet limited and have not been examined in depth. Therefore, this paper aims to investigate the impact of AI and enhancement on human learning with specific reference to “academic ability” and “the meaning of learning” in order to highlight pedagogical research challenges.

     Honda Yuki (2004) refers to the meaning and significance that children feel in relation to learning as “learning relevance” (gakushū reribansu) , which she broadly divides into the two categories of “contemporary relevance” and “future relevance.” Of these, the former refers to whether the experience of learning is itself perceived as interesting, while the latter refers to the sense of whether the learning will be of any use in future. She has also clarified that contemporary relevance for children is a prerequisite for future relevance.

     Elsewhere, the Cabinet Office (2017) has concluded that what is critical for education in the age of AI is “education for properly utilizing AI technology” and “the cultivation of capabilities that are essential for human beings and capabilities that only humans can perform.” As examples of the “academic ability” to be so cultivated, the report cites “semantic understanding,” “the ability to call up imagery and stimulate the imagination based on real experience,” “the ability to identify problems in need of solutions,” “communicative ability,” and “the ability to actively explore new information and incorporate different opinions.” However, the targeted academic ability required by what the Cabinet Office (2017) calls “an educational curriculum that develops capabilities that only humans can perform” will grow ever more sophisticated as AI technologies continue to develop.

     To address this sophistication, interest is increasing in “enhancements” that make use of research in the fields of AI and cognitive neuroscience. Matsuda Jun (2009) points out that “the idea of ‘enhancement’ risks making human beings the objects rather than the subjects of self-transformation, which threatens to damage individuals' free will and dignity.”

     Ours is an age in which it has become difficult to make learning meaningful simply because it may be useful in future. The conclusion of this paper indicates that, to recover the “meaning of learning,” it will be vital to reconfigure the concept of “academic ability” from the perspectives of “contemporary relevance” and “educational accomplishment (kyōyō)”.

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  • Katsutoshi MIZUHARA
    2017 Volume 84 Issue 4 Pages 421-433
    Published: December 31, 2017
    Released: April 27, 2018

     The Courses of Study were revised in March 2017, aiming to promote “competencies” and “generic skills” and calling for curriculum management and outcome measurement. In this paper, I focus on the concept that “competencies” is the primary factor in the 2017 revision of the Courses of Study, in order to reveal fundamental problems through the analysis of the deliberation process. I hold that “generic ability” is founded on building structural knowledge. From this point of view, I argue for the necessity of a “theory of knowledge” and liberal arts education.

     Chapter I: From the 1990s on, the theory of competency has been adopted for performance based evaluation in Japanese industry. After 2000, it was introduced into personnel evaluations of civil servants and teachers. I clarify that competency is a core concept of policy.

     Chapter II: I consider the introduction of competency theory into the university education curriculum. The Central Education Council proposed an original concept of the undergraduate curriculum and “generic skills” intended to create “21st-century citizens.” These skills are explained as “versatile fundamental capabilities”. Elsewhere, professional graduate schools have adopted competency theory, and have been advancing the core curriculum based on analysis of competencies for each occupation.

     Chapter III: I analyze the minutes of the Curriculum Council curriculum planning committee, and reveal that the Courses of Study revisions are reforms based on the rubric of competency theory until now. The basic theory of the curriculum policy is based on OECD competency theory. However, “generic capability” theory is mixed into this revision. In truth, competency is a separate capability distinct from “generic capability,” as competency is the ability to accomplish specific work in a given area, rather than generalized capacity. Therefore I analyze each capability separately.

     Chapter IV: I consider the essence of the subject and the relation between the knowledge system and competency. A Curriculum Council special committee explained that students will be able to assimilate knowledge rapidly if they can learn the essence and the structure of the subjects. This is a competency-oriented attitude focused on high achievement and productivity enhancement, but poses a problem from the viewpoint of “21st-century citizens”. An important point is that students have opportunities to restructure their own knowledge systems.

     Chapter V: I conclude that the root of “generic capability” is building structural knowledge and that both “theory of knowledge” and “liberal arts” education are necessary. Planning an educational curriculum in a near future dominated by artificial intelligence, I would propose a “liberal arts” education including structural knowledge of humanities, society, and nature in the high school common core curriculum. In addition, I propose the inclusion of “generic skills” to restructure knowledge constantly in the core curriculum.

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  • Satoru TANOUE
    2017 Volume 84 Issue 4 Pages 434-445
    Published: December 31, 2017
    Released: April 27, 2018

     When we think about learning, individuals and groups are important key concepts. Various learning methods have been developed and practiced so far based on individuals and groups as the foundation and premise. Studies have addressed the relative effectiveness of emphasis on the individual and on the group, and that of a basis of individualization and one of cooperation.

     However, the study of learning so far has considered individuals and groups to be self-explanatory. If we consider education from the viewpoint of human formation, it seems that individuals and groups themselves have not been sufficiently studied so far.

     It is important to clarify in principle how individuals and groups have been grasped in theories and methods of learning. The close inquiry therein allows us to obtain hints for thinking about learning that contributes to the human formation of learners.

     In this paper, based on an understanding of knowledge, I consider learning as two approaches: “learning based on essentialism (essentialist learning)” and “learning based on social constructivism (social constructivist learning)”. Focusing on evaluation and methods of learning, I analyze through an epistemological framework how each approach to learning addresses individuals and groups.

     This analysis clarifies the following. First of all, in both essentialist learning and social constructivist learning, when evaluations and methods about learning are carried out within given frameworks or standards, individuals and groups are regarded as unchanged and static, objects at rest. In other words, it became clear that they target individuals and groups with an abstract understanding, in the direction of “general to individual”.

     In addition, this abstract understanding of individuals and groups forms the views that evaluation is possible, that methods can be applied as types, and that learning can take place as intended.

     Therefore, the learner will be caused to learn in principle according to evaluation and method. At that time, learning strongly encourages passivity in the direction of “what we made to what was made” as an issue of human formation. Passivity is not necessarily something which must (or can) be excluded in human formation, but given the current situation, we need to think about learning that does not suppress activity, and learning that does not promote excessive passivity.

     Finally, based on the above considerations, I argue that this learning that contributes to human formation must address individuals and the group in the direction of “individual to general”. This involves thinking of our human formation in the direction of “what is made to what makes” and taking the position that “learning cannot be induced according to the teacher’s intentions”. In other words, the practice of learning must not depend entirely on formal methods or exclude exceptions and coincidences. In addition, it must recognize the “experience” of children, including “concrete experience” as individuals, prior to the human consciousness that leads to the development of “activeness”.

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Series Part 7: Current Issues of Education Research
Series Part 8: Current Issues of Education Research
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