Education & Family

2006 Leadership in Education Study Tour to Japan

November 6-17, 2006



Education Programs led 11 prominent professors of education from across the United States on a study tour of Japan's education system. Through this tour, the participants, all of whom play important roles in preparing the next generation of K-12 teachers, gained a more thorough understanding of the Japanese educational system in order to inform their teaching, research and policy-related work. Participants got a behind-the-scenes view of Japan's K-12 schools and universities, exchanged ideas with educators and government officials, and visited historic sites in Kyoto, Nara and Hiroshima.

2006年度 教育リーダーシップ・日本研修プログラム

ジャパンソサエティー教育プログラムは米国において初、中等教育の現役の教員、または将来教員を目指す人たちを対象に日本についての知識を深めてもらうために、米国の教育大学院で初、中等教員養成に携わっている教授らを対象に11日間の日本研修旅行プログラムを新たに開設しました。参加教授らは研修旅行中、日本の教育大学 ( 院 ) 、小、中、高校への訪問・視察、教育関係者、文部科学省の専門家らとの懇談を通じて、日本の教育現場、教育事情の理解を深め、日米の教育事情比較などを通じ、米国での教員養成プログラムのより一層の充実を図ります。また教育現場視察、教育関係者との懇談に加え、京都、奈良の史跡、広島も訪問しました。

Comments from study tour participants:


“This trip has transformed the way I view public education, as well as my thoughts on educational priorities. In addition, I see Japan a whole new light. I am a Japan FAN.”

“I believe that the visits were set up in a very strategic and beneficial way: It was great that we started our studies with meetings at the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology with representatives in the two areas, then we had the opportunity to work with university professors, high school and elementary school leadership. I enjoyed the diversity within the programs [at various universities and schools]."

“I have already begun to share my impressions of Japanese education with my colleagues and students at my college. Before the semester ends, I will present a formal presentation and hopefully this will help to break some of the 'myths' about Japan that the majority of Americans continue to hold. I also intend to conduct further research on the reading curriculum and how Japanese schools are tackling their problems with critical thinking.”

2006 Leadership in Education Study Tour Participants

Dr. Kristin Berman
, The College of New Rochelle
Dr. Margaret Crocco, Teachers College, Columbia University
Dr. Namulundah Florence, Brooklyn College, CUNY
Ms. Sherry Gibbon, Hobart & William Smith Colleges
Dr. Olga Hubard, Teachers College, Columbia University
Dr. Dorit Kaufman, Stony Brook University
Dr. Guofang Li, Michigan State University
Dr. Janet Miller, Teachers College, Columbia University
Dr. Catherine O’Callaghan, Iona College
Dr. Sherry Schwartz, SUNY at Geneseo
Dr. Judit Szente, University of Central Florida


Highlights of the 2006 Leadership in Education Study Tour to Japan

November 8: Tokyo


The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)
This meeting generated a significant amount of questions and discussion throughout the tour. Members of the Ministry discussed the process of curricula creation as well as the system of pre-service and in-service professional development. Professors' questions focused particularly on the process of curricula creation, the extent to which research informs curricula and pedagogy, and the extent to which curriculum is (and isn’t) standardized. The discussion of teacher training focused particularly on the newly implemented in-service training system.

November 9: Tokyo


Japan Professional School of Education (JPSE)
A visit to the Japan Professional School of Education (JPSE), a newly created, for-profit professional school, generated considerable discussion regarding the differences between this school and more traditional schools of education, as well as the characteristics of this school’s student body. The professors particularly enjoyed observing a class for pre-service teachers of English, in which the students demonstrated lesson plans designed using active learning strategies.


Tokyo Gakugei University

The professors learned much from a program featuring a greeting from the president and vice president of Tokyo Gakugei University as well as an informative PowerPoint presentation about Japan’s education system by Professor Hatsuo Mitsuishi. The lecture provided an historical overview of the development of the postwar Japanese education system, with a particular emphasis on teacher training, licensure and the role of the university.

November 10: Kanagawa


Kanagawa Prefectural Hiranuma High School, Yokohama City
The professors observed classes and after school club activities. They were impressed with the independence and motivation of students, especially in club activities--their sport clubs are well-known for having won numerous prefectual tournaments. An alumni member led a tour and introduced the group to the history of the school at the resource center, which uses the history of the school as an entry point for understanding the broader history of Japan.

November 13: Wakayama


Nakanokami Elementary School, Kainan City
The professors discussed the school curriculum with the principal and vice-principal, observed classes, and enjoyed kyushoku (school lunch) with teachers. Then they observed children serving lunch to children. The professors showed the strongest interest in moral education, the approach to literacy education, and art education as integrated into the larger curriculum. The role of the school in developing and testing methods to improve reading comprehension test scores generated significant informal discussion among the group.


Daiichi Junior High School, Kaian City

The professors had extensive time to meet with the principal and teachers, as well as to observe numerous classes and school cleaning activities. They had a chance to interact with students both formally, through a one-period discussion session with third year students, as well as informally, while observing the school cleaning activities. The discussion with the teacher generated interest in the “teacher’s world” in Japan.

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