Online ISSN : 2187-5278
Print ISSN : 0387-3161
ISSN-L : 0387-3161
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  • Taiki KOYAMA
    2021 Volume 88 Issue 3 Pages 381-393
    Published: September 30, 2021
    Released: December 04, 2021

     Ikebukuro Jido-no-mura Elementary School is well known as the school attenmpting the most radical school reforms in the Taisho New Education movement. Elsewhere, the school concept held by the founding body, Kyoiku-no-seikisha, has been evaluated as an “education utopian experiment” that lacked “concrete philosophy and plans” while aiming to innovate old customs. However, previous studies of Jido-no-mura have not adequately examined the process and details of the school concept. Therefore, this study aimes to clarify the issue consciousness of Kyoiku-no-seikisha and its founding philosophy, focusing on the previously overlooked influence of new education information from abroad, and to reevaluate the conception of Jido-no-mura.

     The paper first analyzes the activities of the like-minded group which was predecessor of Kyoiku-no-seikisha, showing that the common task of raising teachersʼ motivation to reform. Next it examines this groupʼs research on advanced models of New Education reform. They attentively studied the Yasnaya Polyana School founded by Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy as a school model for Jido-no-mura which might resolve their issues. Eentaro Noguchi, a group member who became the principal of Jido-no-mura, sympathized with the Yasnaya Polyana School because of its character as a “laboratory of education” that supported teachersʼ research by allowing children freedom of activity. Finally, based on the above, the paper analyzes the “Jido-no-mura plan” and shows that Jido-no-mura was designed based on the following philosophy: creation of a new type of education by arranging a school organization and situation that would support and encourage teachersʼ research and study.

     Previous studies have overlooked the ideas of the Kyoiku-no-seikisha which emphasized changing the mindset of teachers in order to change education. This is one reason why the concept of Jido-no-mura has been evaluated as “unrealistic” or lacking in planning. Based on the findings of this study, the conception of Jido-no-mura was not established as a strategy to faithfully embodying the ideal image envisioned by the group, as to do so would have deprived teachers of the opportunity to change by confronting problematic situations as well as of the experience of creating their own practices through trial and error. By not specifying a concrete plan, they brought an unstable situation to the school, but they believed that this situation was inevitable in order to stimulate teachers into self-transformation and to create a new kind of school and education through the teachersʼ effort. Their scheme was, so to speak, to set up this meaningful instability. The significance of the Jido-no-mura project can be evaluated in terms of the existences of the stance and idea of this group: experimentally creating circumstances and situations that would support this change in teachersʼ consciousness.

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  • Junshin ITO
    2021 Volume 88 Issue 3 Pages 394-405
    Published: September 30, 2021
    Released: December 04, 2021

     Shimonaka Yasaburo is well known not only as a celebrated publisher but also as an opinion leader of the New Education Movement in early twentieth-century Japan. In the 1920s he was active in an educational promotion organization called Kyouiku-no-seikisha; he also established an experimental school called Jido-no-mura, which was a symbol of New Education in the age of Japanese democracy. He also wrote many articles on education from the viewpoint of child-centrism, arguing that "the true nature of education is life, a child's life is its only purpose." His standpoint in educational arguments can be characterized as Vitalism, in which life is treated as of superior value to anything religious or material. We may thus see Shimonaka as manifesting his child-centrism through the perspective of Vitalism. Here it is necessary to keep in mind that Shimonaka's concept of life approached the transcendental.

     Around 1930, however, Shimonaka shifted his progressive attitude to ultra-nationalism. This change was so drastic that it may be difficult to understand his conversion from democrat to fascist. Views on Shimonaka have been split for a long time. Some studies claim that he was a democratic socialist, while others indicate the anarchic tendency that took him back to anti-modernism. In contrast, little research has focused on his career as an ideologue of totalitarianism. The problem seems to lie in the fact that these preceding studies separated his democratic leanings from his nationalistic tendencies. He must be understood through his writings on progressivism and conservatism. This study discusses how Shimonaka's educational discourse can be seen as a continuity of thought about Vitalism.

     Shimonaka's statements in the 1930s are very different from those in the 1920s at a glance, but from a Vitalism viewpoint, their tendency is similar: there is nothing worth more than life. He regarded Japan as a Body Politic, whose core was the emperor. He declared that people must religiously believe in the emperor and acquire eternal life by sacrificing themselves in wartime. He read two goals of education from the principle of life: to build the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere, and to devote one's life to one's country. Shimonaka preached this educational theory based on nationalism and totalitarianism by expanding the transcendental concept of life, which he regarded as of utmost importance in the age of Japanese democracy, from "children" to "nation," with the emperor at the center. Why did Shimonaka come to advocate the idea of Body Politic, which he had never mentioned in the 1920s? He seems to have been inspired by the works of Okawa Shumei.

     It is possible to conclude that Shimonaka's discourse on education drastically changed as a result of his expanding the notion of life and internalizing the Body Politic via Okawa. Through the metaphor of the Body Politic, paradoxically, he could play a role in the ideology of Pan-Asianism in the age of fanatic nationalism.

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  • Tomoko YAMAZAKI
    2021 Volume 88 Issue 3 Pages 406-418
    Published: September 30, 2021
    Released: December 04, 2021

     The aim of this study is to reconsider the idea of ‘university’ in England in the 1900s. In this period, ‘civic’ university colleges, originally established in industrial cities in the late 19th century, obtained university status through a Royal Charter. Previous studies on the history of English universities have tended to take the influence of Oxford and Cambridge on newly established universities for granted, but little attention has been paid to how new universities were established. This study attempts to clarify the idea of ‘university’ in the 1900s from the viewpoints of institutions and education.

     From the perspective of institutions, in the 1900s, the concept was introduced in England when establishing six civic universities in the sense of ‘single/unitary’ universities. Until then, there had only been federal universities, including both Oxford and Cambridge, with colleges that offered courses, whereas the universities conducted examinations and conferred academic degrees. ‘Single’ or ‘unitary’ institutions offered both courses and examinations, rendering university education cohesive.

     From the perspective of education, it can be pointed out that the definition of ‘liberal education’ was changed through several inspections of civic colleges and universities for distribution of state grants. The inspection reports noted that a ‘university rank education’ should be an ‘advanced liberal education,’ using this term to mean the same thing as an ‘arts and sciences education’, which included English, classics, French, German, history, philosophy, mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. However, inspectors found it difficult to clarify the boundaries of liberal education from those of ‘technical and professional education’ in terms of university subjects. In the 1900s, the state grants committee defined university education as potentially including technical and professional subjects, as ‘scientific and general knowledge’ could be tested through these subjects as well.

     The civic ‘single/unitary’ universities, with a different institutional structure from Oxbridge, introduced a new idea of universities to England, although the Oxbridge ideal remained to some extent in terms of education. This study found that the Oxbridge influence was limited in the establishing of these new universities. In the England of the 1900s, the idea of ‘university’ was re-examined and re-defined: these new institutions were to offer liberal education through various subjects including not only the arts and sciences but also technical and professional subjects, conduct examinations, and confer degrees cohesively.

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  • Naomi KATSURA
    2021 Volume 88 Issue 3 Pages 419-431
    Published: September 30, 2021
    Released: December 04, 2021

    Referring to Elliot W. Eisner's and Maxine Greene's reconsiderations of educational objectives and standards, this article explores the problems of preset educational objectives that function as the criteria of curricula and teaching, confirming that the objective-focused Tyler Rationale is still a dominant framework in Japan today. To determine what curricula and lesson structures can overcome this problem, I examined Greene's aesthetic education philosophy and her approach to curriculum creation, constructed with the practice of art as the paradigmatic example. Dewey, who viewed aesthetic experiences in art as being continuous with experiences in daily life, saw art as a consummatory experience or the fullest expression of human experience. From this perspective, Eisner and Greene discussed not points unique to art and music, but rather art education as a model of exemplary educational experience.

     Accordingly, this article also considers ways of thinking in art as the means by which to generate an alternative curriculum structure, which neither sets teaching objectives as criteria nor perceives art as a given work. Rather, art is considered an aesthetic experience achieved socially between people and the artworks themselves. Consequently, as both the teacher and the students are able to express themselves subjectively, a creative lesson structure that employs contingency and perspectival multiplicity can be enacted. This lesson structure, which originates from such artistic thinking, suggests that the aesthetic experience of learning should also be considered for other non-arts subjects.

     In summation, the article first states that the realms of education benefiting from the application of a curriculum structure that sets objectives as criteria are, in fact, limited to the fundamental phase. On that basis, the article indicates the necessity for curriculum structures with the aim of generating new inquiries during activities by extrapolating questions from students and keeping goals open-ended. This lesson structure model is guided by the intrinsic nature of art and directs students toward freedom of thought and autonomy. Second, the article demonstrates the importance of evaluation in the form of critique, that is, investigation, judgment, and decision-making, which stem from the internalized ability of the individual to face the unique existence of artworks. As an alternative to assessments based on external criteria, this educational critique instead fosters perspectival multiplicity, which becomes a resource for learning, as its functioning is grounded in the context of each unique child's experience. Third, the article shows that the teacher must demonstrate leadership regardless of the lack of predetermined objectives. The teacher aims to reach unforeseen possibilities rather than a singular destination following set objectives.

     The teacher embraces his or her own perspectives and questions to generate inquiries based on new questions created through dialogue, in turn creating a new beginning for further inquiry. The relationship between the teacher and learner can be altered from one who teaches and one who is taught, to viewing the artwork together: joint-attention. This thereby affords each individual a sense of agency based on his or her own unique perspectives and questions.

     These considerations rooted in thinking of art allow for a practical framework for the composition of dynamic and emergent curricula that both focuses on the individuality of the learner and fosters individual initiative.

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  • Toshiya SAWADA
    2021 Volume 88 Issue 3 Pages 432-444
    Published: September 30, 2021
    Released: December 04, 2021

     This paper aims to reveal the influence of the variables of teachers, schools, and municipalities on teachers’ receptiveness of the lesson standards created by municipalities.

     In recent years, the standardization of education has been expanding. As the implementation extends to teaching strategies, municipal boards of education have formulated lesson standards to indicate the norms thereof. However, previous studies have not fully clarified teachers’ receptiveness to lesson standards of this kind. Therefore, this study examines how the variables of teachers, schools, and municipalities affect teachers’ receptiveness to municipality-created lesson standards.

     The study conducted a questionnaire survey of a municipal board of education as well as elementary and junior high school teachers working in that municipality.

     As a result of multi-level analysis, the following became clear.

     Regarding teacher-level variables, it was clarified that teachers with longer careers were more likely to recognize and practice lesson standards. In addition, it was found that teachers who were intrinsically motivated to learn about subject instruction or wanted to improve their teaching skills were likely to recognize, practice and internalize lesson standards. Considering that teachers with long teaching experience possessed various teaching strategies, they may have responded that they recognize and practice lesson standards because of having already acquired the same teaching strategies shown therein. Moreover, it was suggested that teachers with high intrinsic motivation or proficiency orientations might accept lesson standards when their goals were not to pursue their original teaching strategies but to acquire a specific teaching strategy shown therein.

     Concerning school-level variables, it was found that teachers were more likely to recognize and practice lesson standards in schools where they were actively engaged in lesson study. In addition, it became clear that teachers were more likely to recognize, practice and internalize lesson standards in schools where senior teachers responsible for school-wide lesson studies showed stronger transformative leadership. Previous studies have indicated that teachers tend to discuss their teaching strategies, not their educational beliefs, when lesson studies are conducted only by teachers. Considering this finding, it was suggested that school-wide lesson studies might contribute to the spread of lesson standards in situations where teachers are only interested in acquiring teaching strategies.

     As for municipality-level variables, it was found that teachers tended to recognize, practice, and internalize lesson standards when required by the municipality to incorporate them.

     Based on the above results, it is considered that unless teachers, schools, and municipalities conduct active discussion on better education, teachers may tacitly accept lesson standards.

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Research Note
  • Naoko MOTOHAMA
    2021 Volume 88 Issue 3 Pages 445-454
    Published: September 30, 2021
    Released: December 04, 2021

     Studies in educational reform in higher education in Japan have mostly focused on policy, with little attention paid to the individual institutions, organizations, and staff in charge of the implementation thereof. That is why some literature has called for more studies concerning local contexts, that is culture, complexity, and diversity. Little is known, however, in what respect shedding light on these aspects will help the studies grasp the changes in universities through the reform policies. This study investigates the self-reflective discussion of studies in quality assurance in Europe, aiming to gain implications on what may be dismissed in policy-focused reform studies and how perspectives on local contexts can compensate for the missing pieces.

     The study findings indicate that until recently, European studies on quality assurance mainly addressed policy establishment. The two problems below have, however, gradually been changing the situation. First, although a gap between the ambitions of research on policymaking and the outcomes in individual local contexts has been revealed, there is still little evidence on why the gap is caused and how to bridge it. This is, according to some studies, partly because local actors’ actions misaligned to policy were negatively viewed as “resistance” by a considerable number of studies, which has often blinded the researchers to how institutions, organizations and staff community of universities deal with reform policy.

     Second, policy-focused studies themselves have come to face criticism as contributing to the construction of the globalization discourse. Some studies have revealed the process through which so-called world models of higher education are diffused worldwide. It is simultaneously critically argued, however, that there are normative assumptions in the literature that all local actors ought to follow the officially settled structures and procedures of globalization, causing researchers unintentionally to select methodologies and cases likely to support the discourse of globalization while dismissing the local contexts.

     In sum, the fact that these two problems have been posed by the researchers themselves can be interpreted as a reflective reconsideration of their positionality: their theoretical and methodological frameworks reflected the normative perspectives associated with reform policies. Elsewhere, the reflection has led several recent studies to focus on local contexts, intending to reconstruct the definition of quality from local actors’ viewpoints.

     These reflections and suggestions in Europe have several commonalities with Japanese research contexts which call for attention toward the cultures, complexity and diversity of local contexts in response to the policy-biased research focus. Therefore, the European studies imply that we in Japan should also relativize our positionality, and that to heed to local contexts can enhance this relativization.

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Series Part 24: Current Issues of Education Resaech
Book Review
Book Review