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Primary school in Japan: Self, individuality and learning in elementary education

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Abstract

The balance between individual independence and social interdependence is a perennial debate in Japan. A series of educational reforms since 1990, including the implementation of a new curriculum in 2002, has been a source of fierce controversy. This book, based on an extended, detailed study of two primary schools in the Kinki district of Japan, discusses these debates, shows how reforms have been implemented at the school level, and explores how the balance between individuality and social interdependence is managed in practice. It discusses these complex issues in relation to personal identity within the class and within the school, in relation to gender issues, and in relation to the teaching of specific subjects, including language, literature and mathematics. The book concludes that, although recent reforms have tended to stress individuality and independence, teachers in primary schools continue to balance the encouragement of individuality and self-direction with the development of interdependence and empathy.

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... One of the keys to this growth, and then rebound, has been the success of the educational system. Over the past several decades, Japan's education system has interested researchers and policy makers around the world (e.g., Cave, 2007;Lewis, 1989Lewis, , 1995Singleton, 1989;Stigler & Hiebert, 1999;Stigler & Perry, 1990). ...
... One contribution to this low spending comes from large class sizes, requiring fewer teachers to educate a similar number of pupils. Between 30 and 40 students comprise a single homeroom in most primary and secondary schools (Cave, 2007(Cave, , 2016Tsuneyoshi, 2004). While large class sizes are features of other Asian countries discussed in this volume, combined with the lower rate of private educational spending, it is the unique, educationally oriented features of school, parent, and peer cultures in Japan that support engagement and motivation. ...
... Starting early in primary school, fluency in reading and mathematics take precedence. Students spend significant time memorizing multiplication tables, reading textbook stories out loud, writing and rewriting characters according to a model, and drilling fundamental concepts through dialogic interactions with teachers and parents (Cave, 2007; more about dialogic interactions below). As has been noted, Japanese primary schools use a humanistic interpersonal approach (Lewis, 1995). ...
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The idiosyncrasies of the Japanese system of education generate specific trends in the development of Japanese students' motivation. From the perspective of modern engagement and motivation theories, every level of Japanese schooling differs in its degree of institutional and societal focus on externally and internally controlled sources of motivation. Using running metaphors taken from Japanese gardening and aesthetics, we explore an insider-outsider perspective on the different phases of the educational system across anecdotal commentary, empirical research, and future policy directions. Primary schooling, in addition to its strong role in the enculturation process, is humanistic, with special support for students' competence and relatedness. Primary school students develop identities as individuals situated within hierarchical local and national groups. In secondary schools, teaching is much more rigid and mechanistic, focused on regular high-stakes, criterion-referenced examinations in order to progress to the next level of schooling. Academic-track secondary school students are pressured to perform through numerous carrot-and-stick practices aimed at placing students in the most prestigious post-graduation situation possible. Tertiary education offers an unusual balance of the two, with large amounts of free time, but nearly no choice within the highly crowded core curricula in the first years. The latter half of tertiary education involves strong external pressures during the high-stakes hiring examinations of the last two years. These differing levels of control and autonomy interact with students' individual motives in different ways at each developmental phase. In this chapter, we summarize the issues involved in students' motivation and engagement at each phase of the Japanese educational system. We review both empirical research and social commentaries on the state of theory and practice within Japanese society to this end. Based on work from both the academic and lay press, we propose a hypothetical model of the interplay between this learning environment and students' individual growth over time at each phase.
... 5 The onto-pedagogical practices found in Japan reflect the following two principles, ideas which mirror and promote the System II structure: (i) teachers prepare non-hierarchical conditions in classrooms which will promote students' spontaneous participation and social interaction between student and student rather than emphasizing student and teacher; and (ii) teachers encourage students to build an attitude of interdependence with their peers. Our account is based on three decades of sustained, highly rich ethnographic work of Japanese schools by both Japanese and foreign scholars (Cave 2004(Cave , 2007(Cave , 2016Lewis, 1995a;Tobin et al., 1991Tobin et al., , 2009Tsuneyoshi, 1992Tsuneyoshi, , 2001. We attempt to stitch together a coherent set of approaches from what has been, to date, a set of largely unconnected studies. ...
... Students are expected to achieve the goal without the authority of teachers. Feedback and adjustments occur based largely, although not solely, on the reactions of the larger group, that is, how lunch is served (Cave, 2007;Lewis, 1995b, c). In school cleaning, each group has a designated area to clean up (e.g., classrooms, corridors, and the entrance hall), and all areas of the school are cleaned by the cooperative efforts of all students. ...
... Relations between nakama members are not extrinsic (i.e., not based on personal benefits or preference) but intrinsic. The annual Sports Festival held in all schools across Japan is one activity where nakama relations are fostered: students start preparing the sports festival months in advance and since sports festival events focus primarily on team events, students are forced to practice together for months in pursuit of a common goal (Akada, 2014;Cave, 2007;Shimojo and Hirose, 2015). The most symbolic event of the sports festival is the performance of team gymnastics usually performed by sixth graders (final year in elementary school). ...
Article
Lesson Study is a Japanese approach to teacher development borrowed by American researchers in the late 1990s seeking to break from top-down, “best practice” approaches. Two decades later, Lesson Study has gained a strong foothold in American policy circles. Seeking to contribute to the growing research base, this article looks deeper into the cultural obstacles obstructing effective practice in the American context. It suggests that the divergent onto-cultural basis of the Japanese context may be one major factor that helps make Lesson Study successful in Japan but challenging in other national contexts worldwide, perhaps most of all in the United States. The account is based on a meta-analysis of existing research on Lesson Study (1999–2015), combined with a reconceptualization of a rich ethnographic literature on compulsory schooling in Japan. This account frames the American borrowing of Japanese teacher developed practice in terms of educational borrowing and lending, suggesting that scholars need to return to the puzzle of culture, engage philosophically, and be open to ontological alterity.
... One of the keys to this growth, and then rebound, has been the success of the educational system. Over the past several decades, Japan's education system has interested researchers and policy makers around the world (e.g., Cave, 2007;Lewis, 1989Lewis, , 1995Singleton, 1989;Stigler & Hiebert, 1999;Stigler & Perry, 1990). ...
... One contribution to this low spending comes from large class sizes, requiring fewer teachers to educate a similar number of pupils. Between 30 and 40 students comprise a single homeroom in most primary and secondary schools (Cave, 2007(Cave, , 2016Tsuneyoshi, 2004). While large class sizes are features of other Asian countries discussed in this volume, combined with the lower rate of private educational spending, it is the unique, educationally oriented features of school, parent, and peer cultures in Japan that support engagement and motivation. ...
... Starting early in primary school, fluency in reading and mathematics take precedence. Students spend significant time memorizing multiplication tables, reading textbook stories out loud, writing and rewriting characters according to a model, and drilling fundamental concepts through dialogic interactions with teachers and parents (Cave, 2007; more about dialogic interactions below). As has been noted, Japanese primary schools use a humanistic interpersonal approach (Lewis, 1995). ...
... Cultural and Socioeconomic Comparisons Over the last half century, studies on Japanese education and child development have advanced our understanding of the powerful role of culture in shaping children's learning attitudes and school experiences. To explain consistently high academic performance demonstrated by Japanese students in international tests (OECD, 2016), scholars have investigated how Japanese families and schools socialize and prepare their children for schooling, especially during early childhood (Cave, 2007;Hayashi & Tobin, 2013;Hess & Azuma, 1991;Holloway, 2000Holloway, , 2010Izumi-Taylor, 2013;Lewis, 1995;Stevenson & Stigler, 1992;Tobin, Hseuh, & Karasawa, 2009;Tobin, Wu, & Davidson, 1989;Tsuneyoshi, 2001Tsuneyoshi, , 2008Yamamoto, 2015). These studies have illuminated culturally unique early socialization processes at home and school that facilitate children's school readiness in Japan (Hayashi & Tobin, 2013;Hess & Azuma, 1991;Holloway, 2000Holloway, , 2010Izumi-Taylor, 2013;Lewis, 1995;Tobin et al., 1989Tobin et al., , 2009Tsuneyoshi, 2008;Yamamoto & Satoh, 2019). ...
... These studies have illuminated culturally unique early socialization processes at home and school that facilitate children's school readiness in Japan (Hayashi & Tobin, 2013;Hess & Azuma, 1991;Holloway, 2000Holloway, , 2010Izumi-Taylor, 2013;Lewis, 1995;Tobin et al., 1989Tobin et al., , 2009Tsuneyoshi, 2008;Yamamoto & Satoh, 2019). Among many, key elements identified as facilitating Japanese children's learning were strong cultural values placed on education, teaching practices and approaches focused on developing children's positive attitudes toward learning, and parental involvement in their children's educational processes (Cave, 2007;Holloway, 2000Holloway, , 2010Lewis, 1995;Stevenson & Stigler, 1992;Tsuneyoshi, 2008;Tucker & Ruzzi, 2015;Yamamoto & Satoh, 2019). However, little research exists on young children's perceptions of schooling and learning in Japan, especially after the transition to formal schooling. ...
... Similar to China, education and learning are highly valued in Japan (Tsuneyoshi, 2001(Tsuneyoshi, , 2008Tucker & 6 Ruzzi, 2015; Yamamoto & Satoh, 2019). Learning is viewed as a way to cultivate self, but at the same time interpersonal relations are valued in its process (Cave, 2007;Hayashi & Tobin, 2013;Tsuneyoshi, 2008;Yamamoto & Satoh, 2019;Zhang et al., 2006). ...
Article
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The purpose of this study was to examine Japanese children’s beliefs about school learning in the first year of primary school depending on culture and socioeconomic status. For the current study, data collected from 150 first graders aged 6 or 7 attending public school in Japan and the United States (50 low SES and 50 middle SES in Japan, and 50 middle SES in the U.S. as a comparative group) were analyzed. In individual interviews, the children provided narrative responses to story beginnings related to school attendance and learning. These narrative responses were coded and quantitatively analyzed. There were eight content codes that demonstrated children’s beliefs related to the benefits of school learning, attitudes and affect toward school learning, or social awareness related to school learning. Results of analyses of covariance demonstrated that Japanese children expressed more valuation of school learning and fear of not achieving, whereas American children expressed more intellectual benefit, achievement and economic benefit, and obligation to attend school and learn. There were no socioeconomic differences in any of the learning belief variables among Japanese children. These findings are discussed in light of the Japanese educational system, school contexts, and cultural models of learning.
... These students may also have a more mature understanding for the reasons behind their studies (Alexander 2003). At the same time, elementary school in many countries does not have the same life-defining stakes, and fear of failure may be less of an avoidance inducing motivator (Cave 2007;Covington 1992;Lehtinen et al. 1995;Lewis 1995;Meece and Holt 1993). As in the study by Corpus and Wormington (2014), students may still feel a sense of curiosity and enjoyment in learning 1 3 related to individual and contextual factors, such as students' age and daily relationship with their teacher. ...
... According to ethnographic and observational studies of elementary schools (Cave 2007;Lewis 1995), a central focus of elementary school in Japan is to help individual pupils develop as responsible members of society. Education at this level works to educate the whole person, and includes strong provisions for developing independence and ability within a sense of community. ...
... Students learn and interact through set rituals such as school cleaning and serving lunch for one another in order to develop the school community. Teachers spend considerable time building basic skills in arithmetic and literacy, working on both rote and conceptual learning (Cave 2007). Consequently, teachers keep students engaged behaviorally, emotionally, and cognitively engaged through daily routines and positive interpersonal relations. ...
Article
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Elementary school is as much about developing attitudes as competence. With this fact in mind, the Japanese national government established a plan to enhance elementary school students’ motivation for learning English. The success of this program has, however, not been empirically tested. This study aimed to assess the longitudinal, discrete development of Japanese elementary school students’ motivation for learning English as a foreign language. A cohort of 513 Japanese elementary students participated in the study across two years of school. Students responded to surveys regarding the quality of their motivation at three time points, and their engagement at two time points. Latent Profile Analysis followed by Latent Profile Transition Analysis was used to assess the sample for latent subgroups. With subgroups established at three time points, a Mover-Stayer model was tested to estimate the movement of students among the subgroups across three time points and two years of elementary school education. Three theoretically consistent latent subgroups were observed at each of the time points. Based on theory and past empirical research, the subgroups (presented from least to most adaptive) were labeled: Poor Quality, High Quantity, and Good Quality. Across the three measurements, an overall shift of students to higher quantity and quality motivational subgroups was observed. This study provides evidence that the low-stakes, high-interest approach currently undertaken may have the desired effect of improving students’ motivation to learn across two years of schooling. Implications for both practice and national policy are discussed.
... Educators' perspectives on educating the whole person have been detailed in a series of ethnographic studies (Cave, 2007), though largely in the preschool context (Hendry, 1986;Peak, 1993;Lewis, 1995). Very recent research has examined the values taught in contemporary moral education practice. ...
... However, this addition has received very little attention. Previous ethnographics research has found that 'localism' and even patriotic-like attitudes toward the locality have long been practiced in elementary education (Cave, 2007). For example, local studies in social studies lessons (ibid) centre on trade and expand to the national and international in higher school years. ...
... This perspective appears to mirror the argument made by Ahsan and Smith (2016) that qualitative classroom assessment would be the preferred mode of assessment if the following assumptions are accepted: that (1) learning is the goal of education and (2) social construction underpins learning. Japanese teachers have a tendency toward each of these beliefs (XXXX, 2016 in moral education; and more generally Lewis, 1995;Cave, 2007;. The wide support for educational time invested in social and emotional development may further increase the particular belief that qualitative assessment is more appropriate for moral education. ...
Article
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This study examines the role of educational practitioners in mediating the implementation of the 2015 reforms of moral education. The revision of the Fundamental Law of Education and further commitment to a nationalistic agenda by successive governments have paved the way for curriculum reforms that introduced the value of patriotism as an objective in the moral education curriculum. The reforms in 2015 reassigned moral education as a ‘special subject’ requiring both ministerial approval of textbooks and assessment. However, previous studies have focused almost exclusively on policy and curriculum analyses. Few studies have examined the school or classroom to understand practice as implemented. Challenging the assumption that these revised documents describe changes in practice, this study examines the early stages of the implementation of policy, which is invariably mediated by education practitioners ‘enacting’ policy. Despite the undeniable trend of central policy promoting a ‘love of country’ and efforts to increase state control of education, a stronger patriotism in moral education may not soon materialise in the classroom under the current pace of reform, though structural changes may have longer term potential to limit the autonomy of teachers to mediate policy implementation. The results contribute to our understanding of how these reforms are being implemented, and more broadly how teachers in Japan enact reform ‘on the ground’.
... The narrative in this article is adapted from one section of a doctoral dissertation study that used narrative inquiry (Clandinin & Connelly, 1995, 2000Phillion, He & Connelly, 2005;Polkinghorne, 1998; van Manan, 1990) and portraiture (Lawrence-Lightfoot & Hoffman-Davis, 1997) to document the professional and personal histories of seven Japanese educators who initiated grassroots school change from 2005-2009 at Ishikawa Elementary School, Aichi Prefecture, Japan. Throughout the paper I use a combined term, (im)migrant, to signify that both migrant and immigrant are terms that can be applied when discussing Japanese-Brazilians in Japan. ...
... Teacher practitioner research in Japan is not unusual. In fact, most schools and teachers engage in some form of practitioner research, and there are extensive journals published by, and for, teachers in Japan (Cave, 2008;Okano & Tsuchiya, 1999). These journals generally provide practical ideas on how to better implement the national curriculum and enhance learning experiences in the classroom, though some focus on theory development (Cave, 2008). ...
... In fact, most schools and teachers engage in some form of practitioner research, and there are extensive journals published by, and for, teachers in Japan (Cave, 2008;Okano & Tsuchiya, 1999). These journals generally provide practical ideas on how to better implement the national curriculum and enhance learning experiences in the classroom, though some focus on theory development (Cave, 2008). ...
... How do general teaching practices for moral development interact or fit in with curriculum requirements for dedicated classtime? Research on Japanese education has noted a complex relationship between the narrow sense of moral education as classtime or subject, and the broader sense of moral education as pedagogic practice to promote prosocial behaviour (Bamkin, 2019, p. 258;Bolton, 2015, p. 4;Cave, 2007;Poukka, 2011, pp. 197-210). ...
... Other studies have addressed specific debates which relate to moral development. Cave's (2007) study of the formation of selfhood at Japanese elementary school examines how the balance between independence and social interdependence are implemented in practice, dealing seriously with beliefs, practices, justifications and aspirations of two classroom teachers through observation and in-depth interviewing. Amongst other findings, Cave provides insight into how teachers balance policy demands to further foster individuality with established practices encouraging empathy to underpin and promote interdependence. ...
... Though not discussed here, the curriculum structure also provides for integrated studies and physical education, which may provide further space for moral learning. Likewise, moral lessons are inevitably infused into subject lessons (see Cave, 2007 for a study of learning about self through subject lesson content). ...
Article
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The school curriculum in Japan provides for moral education. Teachers’ educational practice is influenced by the written curriculum, and must be organised around its audited requirements. However, it may diverge from aspects of what the curriculum prescribes. Though previous studies have explored pedagogic beliefs and spontaneous practices, few have considered pedagogic planning in the context of the written curriculum. Drawing on classroom observations and interviews with teachers and educators, this study seeks to understand the taught curriculum of moral education in Japan: how it is structured “on the ground” and how schools and teachers plan moral education. Moral education classtime (moral education in the narrow sense) emerges as a site for reflection and pre-learning which supports the learning of prosocial behaviour (moral education in the broad sense), which is planned primarily through other educational activities. Understanding these intra-curricula relations addresses long-standing questions in the study of Japanese education. It also holds significance for the development of theory in pedagogy for moral education, suggesting new directions for moral education in intra-curricular connection and planning incidental learning.
... According to the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL), SEL is defined as "the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions." In this paper, I build upon the rich literature on the ways that Japanese preschool and elementary education builds whole-class peer groups that facilitate collaboration in learning and enable all students to feel like they belong to a community (Cave, 2007;Hoffman, 2009;Lewis, 1995;Peak, 1991;Sato, 2004;Tsuneyoshi, 2001). ...
... One strategy for building community is the use of han, or small fixed groups. Throughout the elementary years, Japanese teachers use han to achieve goals of individual expression and reflection and to allow children to engage with the ideas of others around academic, practical, and social tasks (Cave, 2007;Damrow, 2014;Green, 2014). Therefore, most Japanese children become proficient in working as groups by sixth grade. ...
... Japanese teachers use the word tomodachi when addressing or referring to their class in part because they are striving to create nakama. Cave (2007) delineates, "Being nakama is a relationship that demands that you give special help and support to one another, regardless of personal likes and dislikes. Calling the class group a nakama is thus to state that its members belong together in a special way-not out of personal volition but simply by virtue of having been placed in the same class-and that they have a special responsibility to one another" (p. ...
Article
I examine the concept of school friends by drawing on the ideas and experiences of one Japanese boy as he lived and attended school in both the United States and Japan. This ethnographic case study facilitates a comparative analysis of peer relations in schools through centering an 11-year-old’s perspective as he participated in and navigated ecological systems in both countries. Data include formal interviews with the youth, his parents, and his teachers, observations in schools in the United States and Japan, eco-maps, community maps, and sociometric questioning over a fifteen-month period. The study identified the strategies used to navigate social spaces, the different logics of school friends in the sociocultural spaces examined, and the subtle ways that particular types of communities are built in classrooms. Implications for teachers, teacher educators, administrators and others interested in building social, linguistic, and cognitive skills and a healthy school climate are discussed.
... In Japanese elementary schools, problems occurring in a given class are quite often dealt with through whole-class reflection sessions. This is the case even when addressing the misbehavior of a particular student (Cave, 2007;Rappleye and Komatsu, 2017). The basic idea behind this approach is that the misbehavior is caused by the relationships between all members of the class. ...
... Japan has long been using school lunch to promote interdependence among students. Specifically, elementary students serve each other meals everyday as a regular part of the school curriculum (Tsuneyoshi, 2001;Cave, 2007). Now Japan is officially promoting Food Education through school lunch (Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, 2017;Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, 2018). ...
Article
The centrality of culture for achieving environmental sustainability has long been underscored by philosophers, psychologists, and social scientists concerned about the environment. However, to date few studies have detected an empirical relationship between cultural dimensions and actual environmental impacts on Earth (e.g., the Ecological Footprint, EF). This study examined the hypothesis that an individualistic society, herein defined as one whose members predominantly believe in forms of independent self-construal, would exhibit a higher environmental impact compared to a less individualistic society, herein defined as one where the prevailing belief is in interdependent selfhood. This study tested three sub-hypotheses. First, due to the dominance of the independent self, people in an individualistic society tend to be less inclined to believe that human activities cause environmental problems (i.e., lower levels of anthropogenic perception). Second, these low levels of anthropogenic perception prevent members of individualistic societies from consciously organizing pro-environmental behavior, resulting in a higher environmental impact. Third, even among countries with similar levels of anthropogenic perception, those in individualistic societies would exhibit higher environmental impacts due to less self-control when facing trade-offs between individual and social benefits. To examine these hypotheses, the study used three indices comprising country-level data including Hofstede’s ‘individualism-collectivism’ scale, EF, and anthropogenic perception of climate change. Results confirm higher EF for more individualistic countries, supporting the main hypothesis and confirming positive results for all subhypotheses. The findings suggest that although the independent self has traditionally been a major cornerstone of western civilization and been valorized in other places worldwide during the modern era, rewriting this culturally-derived concept of self might now be necessary to move towards greater environmental sustainability.
... While Japanese elementary school education has been the subject of substantial theoretical and empirical research (Cave, 2007;Lewis, 1995;Oga-Baldwin, Nakata, Parker, & Ryan, 2017;etc.), less is known about the student experience during and in the transition to Japanese junior high school. ...
... Empirical research and observational commentaries have noted the humanistic nature of Japanese elementary schools (Cave, 2007;, while secondary schools are notably more rigid in their use of social control (Cave, 2016;Oga-Baldwin & Fryer, 2018). Consistent with longstanding evidence from research within Western education (e.g., Eccles et al. 1993), students in this setting often suffer a general decrease in quality of motivation to learn beginning in junior high school (Nishimura & Sakurai, 2017), culminating for some in despondent attitudes toward learning at the end of high school (Berwick & Ross, 1989;Sakai & Kikuchi, 2009) and during university (Fryer, et al., 2013). ...
Article
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Self-efficacy is an essential source of motivation for learning. While considerable research has theorised and examined the how and why of self-efficacy in a single domain of study, longitudinal research has not yet tested how self-efficacy might generalise or transfer between subjects such as mathematics, native and foreign language studies. The current study examined academic self-efficacy (two measurements 10 months apart) in three subjects (mathematics, native language, and foreign language) across students' first year at junior high school. Two studies were conducted, each including three schools (study-A: n=480; study-B: n=398) to support a test and retest of self-efficacy differences and interrelationships across the year of study. Analyses of self-efficacy change presented a general pattern of significant, small declines in students' self-efficacy for all three subjects. Longitudinal latent analyses indicated a consistent moderate predictive effect from foreign language self-efficacy to native language self-efficacy. The pattern of declines, while consistent with research in Western contexts is a source of concern. The transfer of self-efficacy from foreign to native language learning has potential educational and broader psychological implications.
... Since contemporary and future researchers would find them useful as points of diachronic comparison, I provide examples below. These ethnographies include those on pre-schools (Hendry, 1986;Peak, 1991;Tobin, Wu & Davidson, 1991;Tobin, Yeh & Karasawa, 2009); primary schools (Cave, 2007;Cummings, 1980;Duke, 1986;Lewis, 1995;N. Sato, 2003;Shimahara & Sakai, 1995;Tsuneyoshi, 2001); middle schools (Aspinall, 2012;Bjork, 2016;Bondy, 2015;Cave, 2016;Fukuzawa & LeTendre, 2001;LeTendre, 2000;Singleton, 1967;Whitman, 2000); senior high schools (Okano, 1993;Rohlen, 1983); universities (McVeigh, 1997;Poole, 2010); and post-secondary cram schools (Tsukada, 1991). ...
... Each of them focuses on a specific aspect, adopting an anthropological, sociological, psychological, or historical approach to collec tively advance our understanding of Japanese education. Topics covered include: teachers (Aspinall, 2001;Shimahara, 2001), history (Caprio, 2009;Duke, 2009;Koyama & Ruxton, 2009;Lincicome, 2009;Lombard, 2018;Nishi, 2004;Nozaki, 2008;Platt, 2004), primary schools (Cave, 2007;Sato, 2003;Tsuneyoshi, 2001), citizenship (Castro-Vazquez, 2013;Ikeno, 2011), gender (Davies & Kasama, 2004), adolescents and middle schools (Bjork, 2016;Cave, 2016;Fukuzawa & LeTendre, 2001;LeTendre, 2000;Whitman, 2000), minorities and diversity (Bondy, 2015;Castro-Vazquez, 2013;Gordon, 2008;Kanno, 2003;Yoder, 2011), music education (Hebert, 2012), develop ment education (Ishii, 2003), language education (Kanno, 2008), higher edu cation (McVeigh, 2010;Poole, 2010;Yokoyama, 2009;Toh, 2016), shadow education (Entrich, 2018;Roesgaard, 2006), corporal punishment (Miller, 2013), youth 'problems' (Ambaras, 2006;Arai, 2016;Yoder, 2004;Yoder, 2011), reforms (Hoods, 2001;Kariya, 2013), internationalization (Aspinall, 2012;McConnell, 2000), equal opportunity (Okada, 2012), and child protec tion institutions (Goodman, 2001). ...
... Peter Cave (2007) mentions Assessing children's performance in Integrated Study (sogo gakushu). One of the biggest problems posed by sogo gakushu concerns how to assess the performance of individual children in the area. ...
... The work of Vygotsky, Bruner, Mercer, Lave, Wells, and others concerned with sociocultural ethno pedagogy has clear relevance for research on Japanese education as Stigler et al. (1990;1996), Lewis (1995) and others have clearly shown as Cave (2007) says . ...
Preprint
This article revisits the traditional paradigms of school based curriculum development (SBCD) until 1990s in light of modern trends of curriculum reform. Nowadays SBCD is developed in opposition to the traditional paradigms as a tension between future-oriented concepts like sustainability, entrepreneurship, globalization and citizenship. Moreover it extends SBCD over diverse, mutually interfering incentives by which school wide forms of formative assessment are used. Here assessment is examined from culturally embedded nature of pedagogy in Japanese contexts. Yet assessment is often considered as a stumbling block to change educational reform. The challenge is to facilitate a global exchange of experiences on school-based initiatives as well as assessment in practices. School-based networks or school-based research consortiums should be strengthened to raise awareness among members and key stakeholders to take concrete actions to actively engage in local and global initiatives to support and promote broader issues.
... Preschool and elementary education in Japan encourages group orientation and identification (Cave, 2007;Lewis, 1995). The curriculum guidance assumes collaboration between the school, parents and community members. ...
... Democratic thinking, in the sense of egalitarian orientation and participation, is engrained in educators' culture of practice. Likewise, the will to mediate problems in class as a class community is fostered through supervision and class meetings (Tobin et al, 1989;Cave, 2007). Class problems or incidents are regularly discussed openly as a class group rather than remaining private affairs. ...
... 2. Ethnographers have analyzed these issues within a broader context of educational and social change (Cave 2007;Damrow 2014;Decoker and Bjork 2013;Eades, Goodman, and Hada 2005;Fukuzawa and LeTendre 2001;Hallman 2011;Ishida and Slater 2009;Kawahara 2006;Kelly 2014;Lewis 1995;Okano and Tsuchiya 1999;Peak 1991;Rohlen and LeTendre 1999;Sato 2004;Tobin, Hsueh, and Karasawa 2009;Yoneyama 1999). ...
... Different historical and social contexts apply for singers and composers, as Mari Yoshihara (2007) points out. 3. On education and learning in Japan see Singleton (1998), Rohlen and LeTendre (1999) and Cave (2009). 4. The iemoto system is the organization of schools of traditional Japanese arts, such as flower arrangement and tea ceremony. ...
Book
Across spatial, bodily, and ethical domains, music and dance both emerge from and give rise to intimate collaboration. This theoretically rich collection takes an ethnographic approach to understanding the collective dimension of sound and movement in everyday life, drawing on genres and practices in contexts as diverse as Japanese shakuhachi playing, Peruvian huayno, and the Greek goth scene. Highlighting the sheer physicality of the ethnographic encounter, as well as the forms of sociality that gradually emerge between self and other, each contribution demonstrates how dance and music open up pathways and give shape to life trajectories that are neither predetermined nor teleological, but generative. © 2017 Evangelos Chrysagis and Panas Karampampas. All rights reserved.
... The Core English Programme in the Schools of Foreign Studies and World Liberal Arts ■ 3 Such a conclusion is not my own. Any centrally controlled educational system will inevitably develop its own characteristics and, for the Japanese school system, these have been documented at length in numerous articles and books from both Japanese and non-Japanese academics (Anderson, 1993;Azuma, 1998;Bradley, 2013;Cave, 2007;Goodman, 2007;Horio, 1991;Kobayashi, 1976;McVeigh, 2000McVeigh, , 2002Yoneyama, 1999). ...
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Citation: Bradley, N. (2019). The Core English Programme in the Schools of Foreign Studies and World Liberal Arts. Bulletin of Nagoya University of Foreign Studies. (5) 1-14.------------------ This paper has multiple purposes. Firstly, it is to provide an overview of the Core English (CE) Programme at Nagoya University of Foreign Studies. Secondly, by providing such an overview of the course it is hoped that other teachers and course leaders may gain ideas that might benefit their own programmes in some way. Additionally, as I am always looking for ways to improve the course, providing this course summary will, hopefully, result in feedback through the provided email address that allows me to develop the programme further. 1. The Fundamentals of Core English (CE) Before discussing the different parts of CE it is necessary to first look at the purpose and goals of the course. The course purpose is what should, and does, drive all other considerations. This section will lay down the fundamental assumptions and beliefs that underpin the course. This is done not only for informative purposes, but as a course rationale that allows the means to better understand and contextualize the more specific activities and other working parts that will be detailed later.
... Перше реформування освіти відбулось в 1872 році після прийняття «Основного закону про освіту». Освітня система створена в ті роки, сприяє зміцненню волі й ініціативи народу для прискорення модернізації японського суспільства і досягнення головної мети -«збагачення і зміцнення держави» (Peter Cave, 2007) Наступна найбільш характерна стадія розвитку була в довоєнний період. Основний вектор розвитку -військова підготовка і суворий контроль державних органів на освітніми закладами, програмами і освітніми діячами. ...
... Moreover, I believe in using conceptual and methodological tools depending on their value, not their disciplinary origin. I have written ethnographic studies of elementary and junior high education in contemporary Japan (Cave 2007(Cave , 2016, as well as shorter studies about club activities (Cave 2004) and history education (Cave 2003(Cave , 2005(Cave , 2013, among others. In the last few years, I have been conducting research about childhood and education before and during the Asia-Pacific War, including oral history interviews. ...
... Primary school students are persistently taught to respect these authorities indefinitely. As a result, for example, the authority of the teacher is so deeply embedded in the consciousness of the child, it remains forever in the form of an ideal image (Peter Cave, 2007). ...
... All countries in the world have their own systems and ways of organizing education intended for their citizens, for example: in Japan, basic education is held based on patterns of habit for character formation (Peter, 2007). In Finland, school means play, by playing children learn some aspects of education they need. ...
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The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of managerial competency on improving education quality in preschool education. When the kindergarten head has managerial competency, she is able to manage, regulate and move the educational institution to the maximum in achieving the institution’s targets and ideals stated in the vision and mission of the institution with high and measurable quality of education. This research survey was conducted in one sub-district in Palembang city, Indonesia. The samples were 131 kindergarten heads, teachers and administrative staff from 12 kindergartens in Ilir Barat 1 district Palembang city. The sampling technique used is random and the data analysis used is structural equation modelling (SEM) analysis. The results show that the managerial competency of the kindergarten head has a positive and significant impact on improving the preschool educational quality , as well as improving the image of the institution in the community.
... The schools observed were similar to those described in previous ethnographies (cf. Cave, 2007); they can be considered roughly representative of non-urban schools throughout Japan. Profiles of participating schools are presented in Table 1. ...
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Teachers of young learners often seek guidance on how best to engage and motivate their students. In this study, we aimed to document engaging teacher practices in the context of foreign language classes in Japanese elementary schools. We surveyed 16 public elementary school foreign language classes in western Japan using quantitative (questionnaire; external rating) and qualitative (naturalistic observation) tools grounded in self-determination theory. Classes were sorted into three groups of high, middle, and low teacher support based on student surveys, and observed for practices that influenced student engagement in each tercile. Results indicate that students are most responsive in classrooms involving teacher warmth and strictness, homeroom teacher involvement, appropriate pacing, instructional clarity, and a balance of activities. We offer descriptions of how these practices were employed, with implications for classroom practice and teacher training.
... Research to this point suggests that the number and nature of a sample's subgroups may be related to some combination of context and age. Japanese elementary school does not have the same life-defining stakes as secondary school (Cave, 2007), and thus might not produce low quantity motivation (Corpus & Wormington, 2014;. In secondary school and beyond, students may also have more mature understandings for why they are in school (Alexander, 2003), resulting in the greater range of profiles found in those settings (Hayenga & Corpus, 2010;Vansteenkiste et al., 2009;Wang et al., 2016;Wang et al., 2017). ...
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Numerous theorists have offered opinions about motivational differences between learning a new language and other school subjects. At the same time, little empirical evidence for the differences has been brought forward. In this study, we aimed to address these motivational differences and similarities between learning a new (foreign) language and learning one's own language in formal school settings using the framework of self- determination theory. Rather than comparing variable level differences, we investigated a representative sample of Japanese secondary school students (n = 830) to demonstrate person-centered differences using latent profile analysis. Results indicated the sample was divided into five theoretically consistent subgroups, with similar patterns of motivation and achievement across language domains. Roughly 55% of the sample fit into the same subgroups for each subject, indicating that the majority of students' motivation for learning a language was similar across the two school subjects.
... Japanese schools not only use locally sources food for students' lunch and explicitly teach students the interconnections above in a classroom setting, but also provide complementary programs to directly experience agricultural productions and fisheries. Moreover, this knowledge is turned into embodied practice: elementary students serve each other meals everyday as a regular part of the school curriculum (Cave, 2007;Tsuneyoshi, 2001). Here Japanese schools are now teaching students the interdependence of individuals with wider society and nature. ...
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Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4 is widely promoted as essential for achieving sustainability. However, we argue that serious discussion of the potentially negative interactions between education and other SDGs related to environmental sustainability are largely omitted in SDG statements. Meanwhile, leading international organizations continue pursuing gains in access and quality in much the same way as the past. This omission and “business as usual” approach leaves the current paradigm of education unquestioned. In contrast, we examine globally representative data on CO2 emissions, awareness/risk perception, literacy, numeracy, and several cultural indices, finding that promotion of education based on the current paradigm can have negative impacts on the achievement of other SDGs related to the environment (e.g., alleviation of climate change). We then discuss the missing dimensions of the current education paradigm and approach to achieving sustainability, underscoring that culture, which encodes our attitudes and values, strongly affects human environmental impacts on Earth. Our purpose is to initiate deeper reflection on the core cultural assumptions of the dominant paradigm, whilst inviting researchers, practitioners, and policymakers alike to begin the discussion of what comes next.
... Alguns antropólogos investigam também processos de aprendizagem propriamente escolares. Basta lembrar, por exemplo, da magistral etnografia de escolas japonesas feita por Peter Cave (2007), a descrição feita das aulas de matemática. Mas é raro que a etnografia se limite a esse aspecto, já que uma das características da abordagem antropológica é a de considerar o conjunto de forças que atravessam a vida de cada um. ...
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Resumo Qual a contribuição da antropologia para o estudo dos processos de aprendizagem? O artigo destaca os pontos distintivos da abordagem antropológica sobre a aprendizagem, ancorando-se numa etnografia da circulação de saberes e habilidades na região do Baixo Tapajós (Pará). Argumento que estudar a aprendizagem in loco, considerando o contexto social e cultural no qual ela ocorre, traz elementos de compreensão que permanecem inacessíveis de outra maneira. A etnografia apresentada mostra que, além de balizar o que aprendemos (os “conteúdos”), especificidades culturais marcam profundamente as maneiras de aprender e de transmitir (sua forma). Somente levando essas especificidades em conta é possível dar sentido à relação ríspida que se estabelece entre pessoas mais e menos experientes no Tapajós.
... In the field of educational sciences, the foreign researcher may be a teacher, in a Japanese school. In this way, he or she participates "from the inside" in a concrete project with the children, and with colleagues, which allows the collection of data (Rohlen 1983, Letendre 1995, Cave 2007, Lévi-Alvarès 2007. If they are sociologists or anthropologists and interested in issues involving youth or mental health, it will be difficult for them to occupy a similar place. ...
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The fifth chapter discusses the first sociological and anthropological approaches toward support, recounting investigations by Ogino Tatsushi, Kaneko Sachiko, Tuukka Toivonen and Aaron Miller. Next, my study of the support systems I investigated is detailed: nonprofit organizations (NPOs) related to local communities and Buddhist schools and an NPO of H. city. Evidence is given of my encounter with Mr. Yamamoto, former member of the national association of hikikomori's parents (KHJ zenkoku hikikomori oya no kai). Finally, another type of NPO is described, related to anti-capitalist movements: Newstart, NPO M., and their initiative of Japanese–Korean hikikomori university of the People. It concludes by showing the perspectives implicated by these systems for hikikomori and NEET youths.
... While the deployment of 'Japanese difference' as a source of cultural critique has been practiced by earlier international scholars of Japanese education (e.g., Tobin, 2000), Komatsu and Rappleye push it a step further. The primary focus of much of the earlier research was placed upon understanding how Japanese schooling works through ethnographic thick descriptions (see Cave, 2007Cave, , 2016Sato, 2004;Tsuneyoshi, 2001). By contrast, Komatsu and Rappleye deploy Japanese differences not only to denaturalize pedagogical practices and assumptions widely accepted as 'universal,' but to critique the 'best practices' promoted by international organizations such as the OECD. ...
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This paper begins by revisiting my earlier critical review of the international scholarship on Japanese schooling (Takayama, 2011). In this work, I critiqued three books on Japanese schooling, by Ryoko Tsuneyoshi (2001), Nancy Sato (2004), and Peter Cave (2007), along with other English-language scholarships on Japanese education. Drawing on a postcolonial critique of culture and difference, my work identified the underlying culturalist logic of the existing literature, where the cultural binary of Japan (East) vs West was unproblematically accepted and reinforced, the homogeneity of Japan was assumed, and culture was conceptualized as the predominant force shaping Japanese pedagogic practices. Erased from the discussion of Japanese education, it was suggested, were power and domination and the role of culture in perpetuating the ideology of cultural homogeneity and uneven relations in/through Japanese schooling. More than ten years later, this paper reassesses this critique in light of the emerging scholarship of Hikaru Komatsu and Jeremy Rappleye. who draw on a similar culturalist discourse of Japanese pedagogy and explicitly mobilize the ‘Japanese difference’ thus generated to peculiarize and parochialize the Western cultural premises of ‘best practices’ promoted by international organizations. Through critical engagement with their research, I identify five themes/challenges around which the broader implications of their research are explored, while demonstrating how doing so has also forced me to rethink my earlier critique.
... Juridically qualifications through educational activities and develop his competence on an ongoing basis in various matters that support his profession as a teacher [6]. ...
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Covid-19 pandemic had a significant impact on many aspects of life, including in the world of education. Pandemic conditions make the learning process adapt to new conditions, one of which is changing the form of face-to-face learning into online learning. The online learning process for teachers at Special School (SLB) faces challenges in delivering learning materials to students with special needs, especially in using appropriate learning media. This article discusses the training provided to special school teachers in Yogyakarta to make learning media utilizing non-B-3 waste as a support for the online learning process for children with special needs. The method used is a qualitative method with data collection techniques using interviews, observation, and performance evaluation. The results of this study indicate that the training in making learning media based on non-B-3 waste is significant in helping teachers solve online classroom learning problems for children with special needs. The reason for choosing non-B-3 waste for learning media are easy to get, and teachers can make media according to students abilities and learning objectives.
... Previous studies of Japanese elementary schools have touched upon writing instruction. Cave (2007) reported that instructional practices relied heavily on the nationally approved language arts textbooks, although teachers made modifications to these. In another study, Japanese writing lessons addressed the purposes for writing and effective language use (Stevenson, 1991). ...
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This chapter invites readers, both non-Japanese and Japanese alike, to contemplate how Japan’s educational sociology can take its rightful place in the global conversation but in ways that avoid being reduced to either comfortable commonality or incommensurable uniqueness. It argues for greater attention to the themes of “borrowing” and the processes of externally driven modernity. It deepens this discussion with reference to rich comparative-historical sociological work that has long argued that Japan constitutes a civilization distinct in its non-axial premises. It concludes with reflections on the current state of the field and an appeal, particularly aimed at younger scholars, to remain committed to de-axialization as the way forward in this new Global Age.
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In Japanese schools today, efforts to improve teaching and to promote reading involve educators designing and implementing unit-based instruction that will engage children in coherent and purposeful reading activities for problem-solving. This chapter focuses on activity-based reading instruction and strategies to create an engaging context for promoting greater reading engagement and aspiration in a Japanese elementary school. This new form of learning activity is conceptualised using the framework of cultural-historical activity theory. The theory highlights ideas and tools for transforming activities and expanding participants’ agency. In order to determine whether classroom interaction and collaboration can help children in developing reading motivation and engagement, this chapter analyses promising activity-based reading instruction in a Japanese municipal elementary school. In particular, this chapter examines the impact of the Japanese school culture of instruction on the school’s collective activity system. It is an instructional culture wherein children actively participate as they learn to read productively while being assisted by their teachers to work towards deeper reading engagement and higher levels of aspiration.
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Lecture conducted at Nara Women’s University, Japan, as part of the Mahoroba Summer Programme for international students
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This paper provides a thorough socio-cultural analysis of Sports Day in Japanese education. Basing myself on contemporary ritual research and Gerard Genette’s notion of intertextuality, I describe the ritual ‘Sports Day’ as a ‘cultural palimpsest’, a form of practice where new meanings are constantly inscribed or rewritten without the former meanings being completely lost. This allows me to provide a detailed analysis of this school event by incorporating its ever-changing cultural dimensions. Since the introduction of the event into Japanese education in the early Meiji period, the most prominent discourses inscribed in Sports Day are elemental questions such as the relationship between the central national authorities and local practices or the problem of individualism and competitiveness in Japanese education. In an ethnographic account of a junior high school Sports Day which is based on my own fieldwork, I show how these discourses provide the framework in which Sports Day is still operated and experienced today.
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Critical thinking (CT) receives increasing attention in discourses around the reform and internationalisation of higher education in Japan. While the implications of teaching CT in this cultural context have been debated since the 1990s, it has become a key concept with the internationalisation of degree programs through English medium instruction (EMI). Seeking to understand how CT is conceptualised in this milieu, online materials generated by Japanese universities were surveyed, and the mission statements of six EMI programs were identified for their focus on CT. A critical discourse analysis inquiry tool was developed to analyse the framing of CT in these texts. They were found to adopt an authoritative yet authorless voice, as they negotiate the scrutiny of multiple audiences. CT is depicted as a vital step towards educating globally-minded human resources ('global jinzai'), yet students are described as passive objects, rather than active agents in this process. Additionally, critical thinking is constructed as a means to an end, rather than valued as an outcome of education in itself, suggesting an intertextual relation with the values found in government discourse.
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This book examines the phenomenon of social withdrawal in Japan, which ranges from school non-attendance to extreme forms of isolation and confinement, known as hikikomori. Based on extensive original research including interview research with a range of practitioners involved in dealing with the phenomenon, the book outlines how hikikomori expresses itself, how it is treated and dealt with and how it has been perceived and regarded in Japan over time. The author, a clinical psychologist with extensive experience of practice, argues that the phenomenon although socially unacceptable is not homogenous, and can be viewed not as a mental disorder, but as an idiom of distress, a passive and effective way of resisting the many great pressures of Japanese schooling and of Japanese society more widely.
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Horizontes Antropológicos Número 60, ano 27, 2021 Disponível on line em https://www.scielo.br/j/ha/i/2021.v27n60/
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A culture of engagement may help to build and sustain young children's motivation to learn a new language. In this study, we sought to investigate the link between engagement and motivation over the course of a semester in a naturally occurring Japanese elementary school classroom environment. Four-hundred and twenty-three fifth-year students in public elementary schools in western Japan agreed to participate in the research. Students completed surveys at two time points, first at the beginning of the semester regarding their in-class engagement, and again at the end of the semester regarding their motivation. A structural equation model was constructed using engagement and gender as predictors and motivational regulations as outcome variables. Observer rating of each class was used to triangulate. Engagement strongly predicted more adaptive intrinsically regulated mo- tives and negatively predicted more extrinsic motives. Male students showed a tendency toward lower engagement, lower internally regulated motives, and higher externally regulated motives. Observer rating showed that students' reported engagement was visible to outside observers. Findings indicate that students' in-class engagement may be an important variable when investigating the long-term dynamics of foreign language learning in a classroom setting. Practical and theoretical implications are discussed
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A variety of perspectives exist on the evaluation of Japan’s educational reform of 2002, which has evolved since the 1980s. However, thus far, little attention has been paid to the emerging influence of civil society on educational policies and practices. This paper shows that the origin of the current educational reforms can be traced to reports prepared by various neo‐liberal/conservative business leaders and politicians. Further, it shows their privatization and decentralization principles happen to coincide with the increasing interest of progressive citizens’ groups and educators. Their impact on the Japanese education system remains latent, especially as more scepticism grows towards progressivism as a philosophy behind the current educational reform. However, the expanding civil society and new progressive education movements in Japan are trends worth exploring in the context of globalization at the grass‐roots level.
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Ellis S. Krauss analyzes the changing nature of Japanese television news in the period between the 1960s and mid-1980s when commercial television stations emerged to challenge the dominance of the public broadcasting agency, NHK. He shows how private television stations, especially TV Asahi's "News Station," undermined the dominance of NHK by developing a new content and style aimed at providing viewers a more entertaining news program. The growing competitive market in television news, he argues, had significant political consequences because it generated an "information pluralism" that reshaped the character of Japanese democracy.
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