The Kansai Modern Japan Group is pleased to announce its first meeting of fiscal 2013. Our speaker is Professor Robert Aspinall (Shiga University). In his talk, entitled "Problems with the Implementation of International Education Reform in Japan," Professor Aspinall will discuss aspects of his just-published book on the topic.
Date: May 16, 2013 (Thursday)
Place: Doshisha University, Imadegawa Campus. Fusokan, Room 212.
Access information: http://www.doshisha.ac.jp/english/access/ima_campus.html
We wish to acknowledge the kind assistance of the Kyoto Consortium for Japanese Studies in making the room available. (Please note that eating and drinking are not permitted in the venue.)
Since the 1980s, the Japanese government has sought to improve international education in order to help Japan make a more active international contribution in keeping with its status as a global economic superpower. This has involved reforms aimed at improving foreign language teaching as well as promoting increased international student exchange. Although the reforms have enjoyed wide support among many actors within the education system and beyond, successful implementation has proved very problematic.
This paper argues that institutional and cultural obstacles conspire to prevent teachers and students from applying themselves fully to the mastery of communication in a foreign language (usually English) or from properly exploiting opportunities for participating in Study Abroad programmes. Institutional factors include the structure of the curriculum and the exam system that make it impossible for school students to take a balanced approach to the learning of all four skills (reading, writing, listening and speaking) required for the mastery of a foreign language. Cultural factors include norms of teaching and learning and concepts of national culture that obstruct the acceptance of cultural, ethnic or linguistic diversity. Also, the norm of egalitarianism makes it difficult to implement special programmes of advanced foreign language study for select students.
Robert Aspinall is a professor in the Deaprtment of Social Systems at Shiga University, where he carries out research into the politics of education in Japan. His most recent publication is International Education Policy in Japan in an Age of Globalisation and Risk published by Global Oriental in 2013.
The usual conviviality will follow the talk at a near-by restaurant. We look forward to welcoming many of you on May 16. Questions may be directed to me at the address below.
School of Human Sciences
1-2 Yamadaoka, Suita-shi
*81-66879-8065 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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