Osaka University of Economics  Faculty of Economics

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Staff

Higuchi,tarou
  Associate Professor
   
 
 
Teaching
Introduction to Pedagogy / Education Methods
 
Primary Works
 
 
My Classes
In Japan we often hear and use the term “kyoiku” (education), but this term was rarely used until 130 years ago. At that time, along with Japan’s modernization, Western-style school systems were introduced to the country. When the existing terakoya (lit. “temple school”) gave way to modern schools, Japanese people began to use the term kyoiku, referring to the innovative, institutionalized teaching method. The most typical image of this new teaching method is a classroom with one teacher standing in front of many students and teaching a subject to all students simultaneously. In this context, lectures presently provided at universities are also historical products. In my Basic Pedagogy course, based on this perspective, I will clarify the historical background of “teachers’ authority” in their respective classrooms. In my Pedagogical Methodology course, which is designed for future teachers, I will work to develop students’ practical ability to plan and prepare curricula and daily lessons.
My Research Programs
Recently, we often hear Japanese terms ending with ryoku (such and such ability). For instance, we often hear terms like oyo-ryoku (lit. application ability), komyunikeshon-ryoku (communication ability) and ningen-ryoku (human ability). These terms frequently appear in phrases like “I have such and such ability” or “my inner ability” in translation into English. Hearing these phrases, I feel like to ask what is meant by “I” having such and such an ability. In essence, ability is not something tangible to be possessed by individuals, but is an attribute that is fostered and exerted in the context of human relations. In other words, people have begun to regard ability, which was originally an attribute, as something that they can possess. This concept of ability, however, is an illusion or a “fiction” conceived under the influence of the capitalistic ideology of private ownership. From this perspective, I believe that we should change the present society, which undermines the concept of humans being defined by their relations with each other, to a more ideal society by taking either of the following two approaches: First, spotlighting desirable practices currently under way as models, we can demonstrate the direction of social progress. In this approach, we present a model of an ideal society, and encourage people to improve our present society in the direction indicated by the model. The second approach is to dare to use the illusory assumption that ability can be possessed by individuals, knowing this is illusory. In this second approach, rather than presenting ideal practices as models, we criticize present society by using a yardstick of social justice. In this second approach we use a certain theory as a means to evaluate present society, and work to change society in a direction indicated by that theory. From this perspective, I am further suggesting that education is not a “good” that can be possessed. If education is something that develops “ability,” which can be possessed, then education also becomes a matter or an object, rather than a form of relationship between people. In our present society, however, many people talk about ningen-ryoku (human ability), which is extremely elusive, and discuss ningen kaizo (human remodeling). This tendency could foster a view that education should have limitless capacity and therefore responsibility in human resource development, a view that is indeed undesirable. (The fact that many people talk about such and such an ability implies that people regard education as a means to remodel human beings.) In the present so-called “knowledge society,” education, which is in actuality an intervention to people’s ability, is expected to play an essential role in realizing economic and social policies. I am objectively studying these facts and considering ideal approaches to restore the original meanings of education and ability.
 
 
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