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Capturing Contemporary JapanDifferentiation and Uncertainty$
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Satsuki Kawano, Glenda S. Roberts, and Susan Orpett Long

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780824838683

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824838683.001.0001

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Education after the “Lost Decade(s)”

Education after the “Lost Decade(s)”

Stability or Stagnation?

Chapter:
(p.271) Chapter 11 Education after the “Lost Decade(s)”
Source:
Capturing Contemporary Japan
Author(s):

Peter Cave

Publisher:
University of Hawai'i Press
DOI:10.21313/hawaii/9780824838683.003.0012

This chapter explores certain lasting institutional arrangements and patterns of social interaction that characterize the Japanese school system from elementary to high school. More specifically, it considers three movements during the late 1990s and 2000s and their impact on Japanese compulsory education: the attempt to encourage more autonomous and creative learning; the subsequent renewed emphasis on conventional academic achievement; and the promotion of small class sizes and differentiated learning. The chapter first provides an ethnographic overview of the different stages of school education in contemporary Japan: elementary education, junior high school, and high school education. It then discusses significant disparities in motivation and academic chievement in Japanese schools, along with the trend toward internationalization (kokusaika) and especially foreign language education as part of Japanese educational reform in the 1980s.

Keywords:   social interaction, Japan, creative learning, academic achievement, differentiated learning, elementary education, high school education, internationalization, foreign language education, educational reform

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