On Saturday, 18 May, 2019, the May regular meeting was held. The lecturer was Professor Yamaji Hiroki (Vice-chief officer for examinations and research, National Center for University Entrance Examinations), and the theme was ‘What are the academic abilities expected of future college students — Active learning and reforms in college entrance examinations’. The items of the handout of the day are the following.
- What is the National Center for University Entrance Examinations?
- Transition to the new tests (the common tests for college entrance)
- What should be done in preparation for studies at college?: Taking responsibility for self-development — active learning and engagement
Professor Yamaji not only introduced the features of new tests but also spoke frankly about issues the new tests may pose. He went on to make a stimulating point of the possibility of the student’s initiative and autonomy falling back when active learning is interpreted formally. Equally impressive were the words (message) at the end of the handout.
‘It takes “courage” to be active (interacting with others equally, and thinking on your own). At the same time, however, that is the very reason why you can grow. Explore where you can find support, and move a little further.
On Saturday, 20 April, 2019, the April regular meeting was held as an open lecture. The theme was ‘Check these points out! Children’s mobile phones and smart phones — Learn about the complexity of the current situations of the Internet-based society, and avoid making your children either victims or assailants’. The lecturer was Mr Mokudai Jumpei (Director of Checkfield, Inc., government-approved e-media leader of Tokyo).
Mr Mokudai talked about fears of troubles on the Internet that children often fall into, about how problems can be avoided, and about the importance of mutual trust between parents and children, among others. The following is the list of items on the resume of the day.
- What is ‘Elsagate’?
- Environments that surround children today
- Let’s watch a movie and think — ‘Wait a minute, me on the day’ made by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government —
- Situations of smartphones today
- Situations of social media SNS
- What is ‘flaming’?
- Case study — Characteristics of ‘flaming’ as seen in real cases —
- Summary 1 (Solutions for children)
- Summary 2 (General help desk for solutions/consultation)
- Check list for assessing the level of Internet-addiction
The March regular meeting was held on Saturday, 16 March, 2019. Mr Terasaki Ken (Professor at Kyoto University of Art and Design) was invited to this meeting as a lecturer. The title was ‘From integrated studies to active learning’.
Professor Terawaki entered the then Ministry of Education in 1975, since when he pursued his career in educational administration. In the 1990s he came to be known as leader of ‘pressure-free education’.
The following are the main points. The concept of ‘life-long learning’ was proposed as a remedy for educational issues such as ‘violence at schools’, ‘cramming education’, and ‘fierce “wars” of entrance examinations’ in the 1970s. Educational administration after that time followed paths towards realisation of life-long learning. Although seemingly unrelated with each other, various reforms, including the introduction of integrated studies, the establishment credit system high schools, and the introduction of the five-day school week, were all rooted in the concept of life-long learning — and active learning is no exception.
The lecture offered us a precious time to learn about some of the movements and the concepts that lie behind educational reforms as they rarely become public.
The 129th regular meeting was held on Saturday, 15 December. It was held as an open seminar where a dialogue between Prof. Ishii Hidemasa (Kyoto University) and Prof. Watanabe Takahiro (Tokyo Gakugei University) took place. The theme was ‘researcher-teachers x reflective teachers’. They talked about how to train teachers who will go beyond merely covering a given syllabus so that they can think on their own, practice the ideas and reflect on the practice. Having studied under the same professor at Kyoto University, both academics are the best friend of each other on the personal basis, but they did not hesitate to criticise each other as scholars. Their earnest conversation fascinated the participants.
The 128th regular meeting was held on Saturday, 17 November. Below are the procedures.
Open workshop ’Studies of teachers’ life courses: a case of Ms Morozumi’
- Explanation of the purposes of studies of teachers’ life courses and of the procedures by Prof. Watanabe
- Self-presentation of Ms Morozumi
- Group discussions on the information and preparations for group presentations
This programme has the following three objectives.
- To pursue active and expressive learning styles by combining interviews and semi-impromptu presentations,
- To promote communication between generations within the SAOL through interviews with experienced teachers and their response, and
- To develop and propose new in-service training for the age of mass retirement so that experience of veterans can be passed onto younger generations.
Basing on the experience of Ms Morozumi, all participants actively engaged themselves in interviews through presentations. As always, the meeting ended with fun and fulfilment.
The 127th regular meeting was held on Saturday, 20 October. The following was the programme.
- Introduction of schemes for publishing ’the SAOL books of activities’
- Open workshop ‘Introduction to the KP method’
- Facilitator: Mr Fujimaki Akira (Meguro Gakuin Junior and Senior High School)
The purpose of this event was to offer an additional opportunity for participants to experience workshops popular at the summer seminar. It went like the following.
- Explanation of the KP method by Mr Fujimaki
- Mini in-group presentations using the KP on the theme of ‘My favourite things’
- Brainstorming ideas using the mini-KP in search of a theme appropriate for a whole-group KP presentation
- From in-group presentations to presentations to the whole group
- Voting for the theme for whole-group presentations entitled ‘Embark on a journey for Japanese autumn’
- Each member wrote a keyword on a drawing paper on the basis of their theme
- Participants moved to a hall, where they arranged the order of presentations, after which they gave presentations in the form of a circle in a relay.
It turned out that knowing the basics of the KP method will lead to its application in various situations, including subject areas, moral education, and special activities classes. It is a method with enormous possibilities. The workshop was one filled with life and fun.
The 126th regular meeting was held on Saturday, 22 September. The agenda was the following.
- Reports of recent news of the participants
- Open seminar by Professor Ikeno Norio, ‘Citizenship education and drama in education: encompassing education for international understanding’
Prof. Ikeno’s speech not only stimulated the audience but also made view-broadening reference to the SAOL’s objectives of citizenship education and drama in education.
The 125th regular meeting was held on Saturday, 21 July. The contents were the following.
- Assignment of tasks for members at the summer seminar
- Discussion on plans for workshops at the summer seminar
- Announcement of miscellaneous information
- On the summer seminar
- On the progress of Vol. 4
With the summer seminar to be held the following month, facilitators of each workshop reported their plans at the meeting. The remaining members asked various questions and offered advice. The preparation for the seminar started in earnest.
The 124th regular meeting was held on Saturday, 16 June. The programme was the following:
- study of teachers’ life courses
- brain storming for Vol.5
- announcements: (i) the summer seminar, and (ii) report on progress of Vol.4.
A study of teachers’ life courses was continued from last meeting. This time, activities to learn from Mr Shimoyama’s progress as a teacher. Like last time, they took the steps of <>. Participants were impressed with his unique career with many vicissitudes.
The 123rd regular meeting was held on Saturday, 19 May. The main features are given below:
- warm-ups (by Mr Kurihara)
- study of teachers’ life courses (learning from Mr Fukuyama and Mr Hayakawa’s progress as teachers)
- reports on progress of Vol.4 and discussion on the concept of Vol.5
- on preparation for the summer seminar.
The central point of the meeting was ‘study of teacher’s life courses’, from which participants learned about Mr Fukuyama and Mr Hayakawa’s progress as teachers. The result is to be reflected in Vol.5. The participants heard brief overviews of the two teachers’ long paths, starting from their birth through adolescence to days they served as teachers of middle standing and to now. The main points of their talk included 1. starting points for wanting to be teachers, 2. unforgettable students, 3. crises and turning points of their career, 4. encounter with acquisition-oriented education, 5. moments of their growth, and 6. messages for young teachers.
Below are comments of the participants:
- I had a chance to understand what lies behind their ways of living. I was particularly impressed with how their families and the relations between their parents had influenced their lives. Hooray for their spirit of never giving up!
- Both teachers live with the support of encounter with good teachers. I rediscovered the importance of the roles of teachers.
- I was impressed with how they sticked to their well-grounded philosophy of life. I felt encouraged by them.