Over the last two decades, educational reforms in Japan have aimed to promote independent thinking and self-motivated learning. This ethnographic study examines the effects of the reforms in elementary and junior high schools within a semi-rural city, focusing on Japanese (kokugo) and Integrated Studies (sōgō gakushū). It finds that while elementary schools have tended to embrace reforms, junior high schools have been unenthusiastic and resistant A major reason for the continuing contrasts between teaching and learning practices at the two levels lies in differences in their respective institutionalized conceptualizations and behaviors. The study shows the need to pay greater attention to the way institutions shape action in Japanese education, alongside the well-recognized effects of systemic structures and cultural ideals. © The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press in conjunction with the University of Tokyo. All rights reserved.
- Elementary school
- Junior high school