Lessons for Developing “Societal Perspectives/Approaches” in Japan: Characteristics and Tasks

Kiyomi Iwano

Abstract


Iwata once referred to the “societal perspectives/approaches” seen in the research of Japanese social studies, as below.

“Many people would agree with the opinion that an objective of social studies is to develop societal perspectives/approaches. However, when it comes to deciding what the societal perspectives/approaches are, it becomes difficult to answer.” 1

What does it mean when Iwata refers to “difficult to answer?” In this thesis, I will interpret various opinions regarding “societal perspectives/ approaches” in order to show the characteristics of the “perspectives/ approaches” and elucidate specific areas for lesson studies to develop the societal perspectives/approaches, through the discussion of the actual class lessons in the civics field of social studies in junior high schools. The following are the research questions of this study.

 1) How are “societal perspectives/approaches” thought about in Japan? Especially, what are the characteristics of “societal perspectives/approaches” in “curriculum guidelines” that most influence Japan’s educational practices?

2) How are actual lessons aiming at developing “societal perspectives/ approaches” implemented in junior high schools in Japan? What are the steps required for them?

 In Japan, curriculum guidelines are renewed every ten years. Curriculum guidelines that are produced by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, have a great influence on school classes along with the obligation to use authorized textbooks. The next renewal due in 2017 has already demonstrated a policy for further strengthening the development of “societal perspectives/approaches”. Based on this situation, it is meaningful to clarify the status-quo and tasks of Japanese lessons aiming at developing “societal perspectives/approaches”.  


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