A Study of the Theory and Practice of International Education in Primary Schools, Junior High Schools and High Schools in Japan
From 2000 until last year the Shinshu University Faculty of Education conducted a program for the improvement of science and mathematics teaching in primary and junior high schools in the Republic of Ghana. The program was implemented through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) as part of the consortium centered around the Center for the Study of International Cooperation in Education (CICE) at Hiroshima University. This consortium also includes Fukuoka University and Miyazaki University. In 2004, the consortium held the “Symposium: Explorations in Other Cultures by Children—Learning from Teachers Who Have Had the Experience of Teaching Abroad.” In 2005 it also held a symposium, the “Educational Forum: Reports on the Theory and Practice of Education in International Understanding in Primary Schools, Junior High Schools, High Schools and Universities.”
This joint research project aims to take advantage of the National Museum of Ethnology as a resource for joint use by universities. The aim is also that primarily university staff, in collaboration with JICA, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science & Technology, Japan and embassies in Japan, provide the organizational framework for teachers to conduct joint research on the actual effectuation of education in international understanding on-the-spot in primary schools, junior high schools and high schools in Japan. In addition, the aim is to conduct research on the theory and actual implementation of education in international understanding that matches the needs of local schools.
This joint research group met five times in 2006, four times in 2007, four times in 2008 and once in 2009. Research reports were presented by 12 individuals in 2006, 13 in 2007 and 15 in 2008. .
Knowledge garnered by the research group in 2006 and 2007 included among other things (1) the theory and practice of international education; (2) collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA); (3) creating schools for multicultural symbiosis (coexistence); (4) museum and school collaboration projects; (5) the state of overseas education and international cooperation; (6) Japanese and Japanese schools overseas; (7) the actual state of affairs for foreigners in Japan; and (8) the reconstruction of the “glocal network” concept.
A general outline of our thinking about topics 1 through 4 was presented in “A New Development Education Design,” which appeared in Minpaku Tsushin, No. 120 (March, 2008). For theme 5, from the standpoint of international cooperation we investigated the current situation concerning overseas educational affairs, especially present conditions and issues concerning educational affairs in Anglophone and Francophone African countries. For theme 6, through synchronic and diachronic comparative analyses of Japanese regular schools and remedial schools, we examined the concept of being “Japanese” in contrast with the concept of being “White”. For theme 7, based on a survey of the actual conditions for internationals living in Japan, we groped for appropriate approaches to creating schools in a society with multiple cultures. For theme 8, we exchanged ideas in the form of mini-symposia about the establishment of the Nagano Prefectural Educators Network and the Nagano Prefecture Japanese-language Education Network. We invited to the symposia researchers specializing in policies for international children and in gaps between different municipalities. Through investigating the kinds of academic support needs for international children and students in Nagano Prefecture, we were able to elucidate the problems regarding gaps among municipalities. After our research results are published we are scheduled to offer proposals regarding problem areas in the Shinano Mainichi Shimbun and other media.
We convened an editorial conference about the research report in 2009. Joint researchers and special lecturers were given the task of developing a manuscript based on the achievements over the previous three-and-a-half years of the joint research committee. A grant was made from the discretionary budget of the president of Shinshu University to hold a “Festival for International Education for the Young.”