Graduate School Chuo University
- THE JAPAN SOCIETY OF EDUCATIONAL SOCIOLOGY
- 教育社会学研究 = The journal of educational sociology (ISSN:03873145)
- vol.81, pp.89-109, 2007-11-30
This paper examines the control system of secondary schools and teachers' survival strategies in the 2000s, a time known as an era of accountability, through an ethnography of a low-ranked high school in the metropolitan area. Student guidance and maintaining school order are important tasks for Japanese teachers. The culture of administration in secondary education has changed over time. In the late 1990s, a "counseling mentality" and "internal understanding" were emphasized in student guidance rather than administering the exterior aspect of students, under the system of "kanri kyoiku", until the 1980s. Earlier papers indicate that there was a process of "consummatorization of schooling." How, then, is order maintained in schools in the 2000s? The main data for this paper were gathered from April 2005 to August 2006. Participatory observation and interviews were carried out to describe the control system under which teachers avoided conflict with students. For example, teachers kept discipline indirectly by recording absence times in five-minute units. The maximum period of absence for receiving credits for the class was made known to students who were considered problematic and who tended to miss class. Some inappropriate behaviors, such as failing to wear the school uniform and eating in class, were also dealt with as absent time. In this way, teachers were able to keep their classes in order and avoid conflicts with students. Teachers often behaved gently and kindly, supporting the students under the assumption of this count system. In this paper, this behavior by teachers is called "Osewa mode, " with osewa meaning "caring" in Japanese. The teachers used this strategy to conceal their authority to set rules and to keep order in a way that avoided conflicts with students. They soothed students with gentle behavior and familiar words. They often directed students' attention to the absent time count and advised them to attend classes with a proper attitude. This strategy was transmitted to other teachers through group interactions. The school kept order through a "Control system to avoid conflict with students" and the "Osewa Mode, " which is an individual strategy based on that system. On the other hand, this system and strategy fits well into an era of accountability. Teachers often gave notification to parents of the numerical value of the absent time count. This made it easy for teachers to justify their treatment of students to their parents. Teachers' culture differs by regions. Therefore, there are some limits to the usefulness of the descriptions in this paper, as they would differ in different teachers' cultures in rural areas. However, the metropolitan area tends to lead in the areas of accountability, loss of teachers' authority and "consumerization of schooling." Thus, the "Osewa Mode" and "Control system to avoid conflict with students" in this ethnography in the metropolitan area may show important characteristics of teachers' culture in the 2000s.