- 日本教師教育学会年報 (ISSN:13437186)
- vol.28, pp.18-28, 2019-09-21 (Released:2020-09-21)
This paper aims to trace the changes and development of teacher preparation systems in Japan from the civil service perspective inside the (then) Ministry of Education, as well as in the (presently) Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT). There are perspectives of academics (intellectuals) and of educators to consider when discussing about teacher preparation and its systems. The author takes a position that teachers need to be intellectuals themselves in order to adequately and effectively guide their students to pursue their intellectual curiosities. Ensuring intellectual freedom of universities where Japan sets its teacher preparation is, therefore, critical to allow space for future teachers to mature their intellectual caliber. Taking on above mentioned perspective, previous and still ongoing reforms on teacher preparation policy have carried the following issues : 1)In Japan, school-teacher is an inclusive term referring to those carrying the occupation of teaching from preschool to high school in national, municipal and private schools. However, it is often assumed within MEXT, as well as the Central Education Council, that the term refers, primarily, to those teaching in publicly operated primary schools. Furthermore, whilest preparing primary school teachers in university with open system curriculum has been the fundamental principle, nonetheless, the pre-war tradition of normal school preparation strongly persists still today. 2)Under the open system, the providers of teacher preparation were not held responsible to bridge between preparation and hiring / placement of teachers. Hence, teacher preparation curriculum and contents have been largely disconnected to what is needed in the practice. Today, however, there is a growing pressure for longer preparation process and tougher certification requirements. The introduction of “teaching practice exercises” was a response to such pressure, but university providers failed to implement it as a gatekeeper. The introduction of the professional graduate school of teacher education in 2008 was to bridge between the preparation and the practice, but it is still in developmental stage today. 3)In the 2015 reform, university’s autonomy over teacher preparation curriculum was weakened despite the rhetoric of encouraging universities for innovative practice. The introduction of “core curriculum” was another blow to university’s curricular autonomy, and much of teacher preparation curriculum was put under the state control. These issues noted here are the evidence that the fundamental principle of Japan’s postwar teacher preparation—university-based and open system preparation—is at risk today.