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LDP panel proposes new teacher recruitment system

41 Comments

An Education Ministry sub-committee on education reform set up by the government has recommended changing the way teachers are hired and trained.

The sub-committee handed in its report to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this week. The main recommendation is for national standardized teacher-certification exams to be held, Sankei reported.

Currently, teachers receive their certificates when they graduate from university. The proposed reforms would change the certification exam system, which is currently different in almost every municipality, to a nationwide standardized exam.

School districts will be encouraged to hire individuals who not only clearly display the necessary skills, but who also perform well on the mandatory certification exam. Also, a crucial part of the new system will require the government to fully support its educators in all ways possible in order to empower them to perform at the highest levels.

The ministry believes that in order for Japan to prepare talented children for the fast-paced globalized 21st century, teachers of superior quality are absolutely necessary. As such, a revolutionary reform is needed that will change hiring, employment, and training of teachers across Japan.

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Only in Japan would another standardized test be considered "a revolutionary reform".

30 ( +31 / -1 )

a crucial part of the new system will require the government to fully support its educators

In other words, this is bureaucratic speak meaning that the LDP is aiming for heightened intervention in the teaching curriculum along with closer teacher monitoring to make sure teachers don't stray from the script.

Not difficult to read between the lines on this education ministry proposal.

22 ( +22 / -0 )

Good idea. But as long as many teachers consider their position just as a "job" to earn lots of money and with high security nothing will change. The question will remain: what does it take to be a "superior" (or a good) teacher? My answer is always the same: the love for children, understanding children and teaching them not only the school subjects, but preparing them for life!

6 ( +7 / -1 )

In university students do two weeks of "internship" ie student teaching to "learn" how to teach. When I got my teaching credential in California I spent the first SEMESTER teaching one class in high school. The second semester we had to teach 3 classes. All of this was under the supervision of a "master teacher" who assisted us along the way. Knowing how to teach is way more than a "test."

15 ( +15 / -0 )

The teachers are fine, fix the parents.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I am with Sensato on this. Given some of the Abe government's stated goals in the name of education reform, namely ensuring the proper teaching of history and the instilling of patriotism and love of country, I can't help but be cynical here. I have to believe that this is about controlling teachers, who have been notoriously "liberal" and "free thinking" in the post-war era. No doubt the standardised test will include sections on history and patriotism where the questions and answers would push the conservative's narrative.

Now, stand up, salute the flag and sing Kimigayo! That is an order, you teacher wannabes! Because free thinking has no place here.

15 ( +15 / -0 )

Do I see some buddhist ideas in the making here?

Change we must.

How about allowing children of mixed parentage in JP international schools? 15 years ago there were no "half" children in the biggest European Japanese school with over 600 students. ( Düsseldorf )

1 ( +1 / -0 )

No mention of setting up training and teachers college like they have in most other developed countries? The intention is good, but how exactly are they going to 'fully support' their educators? Specifics would be good.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

The ministry believes that in order for Japan to prepare talented children for the fast-paced globalized 21st century, teachers of superior quality are absolutely necessary. As such, a revolutionary reform is needed that will change hiring, employment, and training of teachers across Japan.

So the Ministry is then ADMITTING that the general pool of teachers here are sub-par, not up to current teaching trends and hardly employ any sort of revolutinary teaching? I agree!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

It's not the teachers or the parents who are generally the problem, it's the examination system that's the problem.

Typical Japanese mindset to a problem. People randomly stabbing strangers.... solution.... ban knives with a blade longer than x inches. Men molesting women on trains.... solution..... make women only carriages.

An education system which produces generations of 18 year olds without a creative brain cell between them.... solution ... change the recruitment procedure of teachers.

I wish the Japanese would start holding their public officials and politicians to the same standards that they hold their shop assistants or other people involved in their service industries; after all they are no different, they're there to offer a service to the public.

Until then, things will never change, which is half the mindset of Japanese public officials and Japanese politicians. The present system worked for them, why should they change it?

7 ( +7 / -0 )

The U.S. requires this of teachers. The Praxis test measures competence in reading, writing, and math. When can we require politicians take this test?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Dont really think the problem is fully the teachers. Most of the problem is the education system itself. No one, kids or adults, can perform well if overworked. Based on my experience here (with two grown kids) most teachers can teach they just dont know how to communicate with children. One of my children was told to give up on a subject because she was "stupid and holding back" "her" class. (They were studying how to pass the English entrance exam.) BTW I spoke to the teacher and she couldn't hold a basic conversation in English.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

since1981May. 16, 2015 - 09:47AM JST

One of my children was told to give up on a subject because she was "stupid and holding back" "her" class. (They were studying how to pass the English entrance exam.) BTW I spoke to the teacher and she couldn't hold a basic conversation in English.

Doesn't mean your kid isn't stupid and I know plenty of people here, Japanese and non-Japanese, who speak English and have children who don't.

I have a problem with the Japanese educational system always promoting inclusiveness, no matter the price for the other students and the quality of the lesson.

This nearly always leads to bringing the Gods down to the level of the vultures, rather than raising the vultures to the level of the Gods. The end result is a dumbed down society. A big future difference between China and Japan/Korea.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Gary, though I don't appreciate implying that my child is stupid, I understand you points later in your comments. First, What is Stupid? My ex always called her stupid as well, however, my youngest never had any problems doing motorcycle/car maintance, repairing furnture in her room and even reconnecting her TV, cable, DVD deck. She even (at the age of 9) taught my friend how to change is tire on his car. She didn't study it, it just comes natural to her to figure those things out. My point is the education system here doesn't allow the kids to expand on their natural, god even talents. Everyone is taught equally until the end of highschool. Its all about passing exams so the school looks good.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Everyone is taught equally until the end of highschool.

Kind of. Everyone within a school is taught equally, but different schools will teach differently. I had a problem in jr. and sr. high school that I was never intellectually challenged, and was bored as a result. There was no where else to put me though - the school system I was in taught to meet the average. There were systems in place to bring up the kids having troubles to the average, but there was nothing in place for those who found the average to not be challenging. In Japan, there are different grades of schools, so kids will be put into schools that somewhat match their level, hence the entrance exams.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A standardised test for teachers to create teachers of higher quality? The teachers are far from the biggest problem with the education system in Japan. Many of the teachers I work with suffer from a range of emotional disorders due to the pressures put on them to gain test scores and to cram as much textbook into one term as possible. They then turn around and create easy tests to balance the books for students who have actually learned very little of what they were taught. Until Japan changes the perception of, it is up to the teacher to teach to, it's up to the student to learn, the Japanese education system will continue to produce a mass of undereducated 'yes men'.

Once again, we see the Japanese board of education taking the 'more is better' approach to education. More is not better! Better is better!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

There are plenty of qualified and truly great teachers in Japan now. Just get the MEXT out of their way and let them do their jobs. Quit burying them with needless surveys, paperwork, and other mumbo-jumbo crap. And more importantly get them out of the business of having to discipline kids and quit forcing them to be watchdogs over club activities.

Take those things out of their way and watch the overall quality increase a thousand fold.

Teachers today spend more time doing things NOT related to teaching their classes and get burned out right quick.

In university students do two weeks of "internship" ie student teaching to "learn" how to teach.

I suppose it depends on the location but some actually do a whole month! AND they have to pay the school that they are going to practice at!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I can just imagine what the test would be like under Abe. Only one question, "During WW2 Japan was the innocent victim and never did anything wrong. True or False?", for 100% of the examination result.

Okay, it would probably be a tiny bit more subtle than that, but at the end of the day this is just another government money-making scheme. They'll be able to charge testing fees, produce test practice books which every prospective teacher will need to buy, and so forth.

It is unconstitutional. The freedom of academia is guaranteed by the constitution, but under this system any professor instructing people who wanted to be teachers would have to adhere to the government's viewpoint of their students would risk answering the questions "wrong" and fail the national test. That's unacceptable.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I'm very opposed to this. National standards are basically one way of centralising political control. I'm guessing the most important question on this new standardised test (that will stay in your employee file for the remainder of your career) will be this:

Q.78 True or false 'Japan was responsible for starting WW2 in Asia'

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Japan already has a large supply of very dedicated teachers. Very few of them are LDP voters, though.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

The main recommendation is for national standardized teacher-certification exams to be held, Sankei reported.

When people graduate from school and go on to their careers in teaching or whatever, I think it can be agreed that these individuals are expected to know certain basics. Otherwise, the academic institution they came from either did a substandard job of educating them or, they let someone graduate who was not ready to enter the workforce.

However,

Adding yet ANOTHER standardized test would certainly be an excellent way for potential teachers NOT to ever really explore their own individual talents. Isn't the point of a standardized test to judge wether or not the SCHOOLS are effectively teaching the knowledge they are required to impart on their students?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It the curriculum and methods that is the problem. Join the 20th century Japan. Let the students learn in computer generated curriculum at any time, any place and any pace instead of everyone on the same page on the same day. Then, Japan can join the 21st century with students who are prepared to take on any challenge just to see what will happen. This is not "my grandfather's/grandmother's school system" anymore. Has anyone noticed it is always the "gray hairs" that make all the decisions in education. Why? Because it is important to keep "my grandfather's/grandmother's school system.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am not in favor of this, however taking a look at it a bit further to try to understand the reasoning behind this a few things come to light...

Each and every prefecture has their own certification process, as noted in the article, and unlike just about every other "license" here in Japan teaching licenses do not allow people to move between prefectures.

You get a drivers license here, you can drive anywhere in the country, doctors license, nurses license, you name it.

Teachers however have to go through the licensing process when then move to a different prefecture, and standardizing that part of the program would in my opinion be an advantage as people then could apply for jobs anywhere in the country and possibly making things more competitive.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

They want higher quality education? Then change the education system and not the way teachers are hired.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

22 Good Bad Supey11MAY. 16, 2015 - 07:48AM JST Only in Japan would another standardized test be considered "a revolutionary reform"

True but now joined by the US, where is sliding down the standardized tube with Japan .

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Hmmm...The Abe Junta getting more involved with how (and presumably what) kids get taught at school.

What could possibly go wrong?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It is easy to become a Teacher here. Just watch Sensei on the TV drama repeats, grow your hair long, let it become greasy and make everyone cry at the end of the day.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Learning to be a teacher and teaching can be two different things IF you don't have the life skills to deal with children in the first place. In simple terms, two people go to Uni, one takes all the courses to become a teacher and the other to be an IT professional. Both pass but if both have anger issues, only the children will be the real losers in this case. Sure, a few monitors and PCs will get slapped around but I'm sure there won't be any long term effects as they'll be outdated in half a decade, the poor children that suffer at the hands of that so called teacher's anger outbursts, well, they might just have issues later in life.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is mainly a way for the government to control who teaches, that is, a way to ensure ideological correctness. Nothing else.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Learning to be a teacher and teaching can be two different things I

Here in Japan there are plenty of "teachers" who joined the profession for the stability of being a komuin (government employee) and they have no business being in any classroom whether it be ES, JHS, HS, or Uni.

It's sad that there are no rules in place to getting rid of the dead weight.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

While the content of the test would undoubtedly be important, I think switching to a single, national test rather than the separate tests each prefecture has is a great idea. First, it would save considerable trouble for potential teachers, who, at present, have to take the exam for every prefecture they are considering, not to mention for any private schools. Depending on how it's implemented, it could also save money since you wouldn't have each prefecture duplicating their efforts. I'd like to hear more about what this committee means by requiring "the government to fully support its educators in all ways possible" since right now, there is almost zero continuing education for in-service teachers. That said, I do agree with previous posters that trainee teachers also need a lot more time in the classroom than they currently get. Though I deplore most of what the Abe administration is trying to do overall, on education (not including the history issue of course) they do seem to have a few good ideas (see also introducing English as a compulsory subject in elementary schools for instance). The devil, as always, is in the details.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Well at least this is a small step to recognize teachers need to be trained in basic learning theory.

The broader picture is the education style here is (still) fixed with the idea teachers are the transmitters of knowledge! While educational research since the 80's has followed the constructionist learning theory approach where the teacher is not the transmitter but the guide who facilitates learning, Japan does not seem to be interested in considering this research. The old temple schools seemed to utilize constructionist theory more than nowadays.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The ministry believes that in order for Japan to prepare talented children for the fast-paced globalized 21st century, teachers of superior quality are absolutely necessary.

As long as they "perform well on the mandatory certification exam." Talent and being fast paced are completely at odds with passing a standardized, bureaucrat-approved test. As usual, the government here is completely missing the point and demonstrating how they address change by painting the same old mentality with a new color.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

My point is the education system here doesn't allow the kids to expand on their natural, god even talents. Everyone is taught equally until the end of high school. Its all about passing exams so the school looks good.

Since1981: Your daughter clearly has talents, and they may not all be in the traditional academic subjects. However, Japan does have differentiating high schools that specialise in particular areas and do not mean that the curriculum is identical. She might benefit from attending a kougyou high school where the specialism is in practical subjects.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Also, a crucial part of the new system will require the government to fully support its educators in all ways possible in order to empower them to perform at the highest levels.

WTF is this supposed to mean?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

An over reliance on testing is precisely the problem with education in Japan. It is a system of rote memorization that does not create the ability for developing either abstract, proactive thought or iniative. If Japan wants talented teachers, and ergo students, in the 21st century it needs to change its cultural paradigm. And in a system where teachers are sent for 're-education' if they don't tow the government line the concept of 'revolutionary' combined with the word 'education' is oxymoronic at best. The current system is one in which if asked 'How many Ministry of Education officials does it take to change a light bulb?' the reply would be something like 'I don't know we will have to have a meeting to find out'. The current system is one is rife with petty power struggles, jockeying egos from the highest echelons of the respective Boards of Education to school staff rooms all across the country. Teachers are overworked and burdened with many responsibilities unrelated to the subject they teach. The ilevel of internal politics hamstrings the educational system, and the constant interference of an increasingly nationalistic government threatens to decapitate it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Japanese bureaucracy is the master of imposing their hidden agenda through rules and regulations, take any department, education,law,media,immigration and so on, on the surface they always explain the rules otherwise but in reality they aming something else.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This sounds like just another step in Mr. Abe's march back toward the "glorious" past. Control teachers = control education = control the populace.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Ah_so, i totally understand but with the crazy examination stystem here, it's tough to get into one.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

If they really want better teachers they need to raise the bar to entry. This would likely require increasing salaries to attract the best people. Instead, they have been lowering salaries and introducing Saturday schooling. I certainly wouldn't apply under the current working conditions.

Given that the LDP is proposing this standard test I expect it will be full of questions on historical matters that require answers that conform to the government's distorted view of history, i.e. the only way to pass will be to write lies instead of facts.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

LDP panel proposes new teacher recruitment system

No doubt they'll be required to give a demo of singing "kimigayo" with fervent devotion

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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