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Promoting Political Participation through Experience-based Political Education
Unformatted Document Text:  interest to other related problems in their community. In other words, through the experience-based education program, young people can learn what politics is, which promotes the political studies in their daily life, and thus come to look at politics as something they want to participate in. 3) Outline of the Political Education Program Based on the principle above, we made an experience-based political education program using the case of unlawfully parked bicycles. Bicycles parked unlawfully are one of the urban problems in Japan. Bicycles are popular vehicle for shopping and commuting in Japanese cities, along with public transportation. While the road systems have been heavily invested in the post-war period, facilities and rules to accommodate increasing number of bicycles only started to be paid attention by national and local governments in the 1980s. Given the limited space for parking, bicycles started to overflow into the sidewalks and roads in the vicinities of stations or shopping areas. Moreover, many of the unlawfully parked bicycles relate to crimes, such as stolen bicycles. The bicycle problem is quite suited as daily political issue. Junior and high school students ride bicycle frequently, and often notice unlawfully parked bicycles, or even they themselves park bicycles this way. Unlawfully parked bicycles block the traffic and worsen the scenery, thus are regarded as a bad manner for riders. Just as cars are indispensable in the United States, bicycles are indispensable in Japan. Moreover, they are energy efficient, and can run faster than cars in crowded areas. Bicycles’ positive value, convenience and contribution to health and environment, confronts with other values such as safety and good scenery. At the same time, national and local governments are making laws and ordinances to remove the unlawfully parked bicycles, or spend tax money to build more parking lots for bicycles. To experience “politics” based on this case starts with observing the actual situation, then finding the interested parties, and coming up with the solutions these people are likely to support. Individual students can go through this process separately, but a group work is better suited as students encounter various opinions and view points through group discussion. Once interested parties are identified, we can also simulate the problem solving situation, using role plays in a group. Chapter 3: Analysis of the Seminar 1) Pre-seminar Assignment The authors publicly called for participants to a seminar, “What is Politics? Learning 25

Authors: Ishibashi, Shoichiro. and Chieko, Otsuru.
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interest to other related problems in their community. In other words, through the experience-based
education program, young people can learn what politics is, which promotes the political studies in
their daily life, and thus come to look at politics as something they want to participate in.
3) Outline of the Political Education Program
Based on the principle above, we made an experience-based political education
program using the case of unlawfully parked bicycles. Bicycles parked unlawfully are one of the
urban problems in Japan. Bicycles are popular vehicle for shopping and commuting in Japanese
cities, along with public transportation. While the road systems have been heavily invested in the
post-war period, facilities and rules to accommodate increasing number of bicycles only started to
be paid attention by national and local governments in the 1980s. Given the limited space for
parking, bicycles started to overflow into the sidewalks and roads in the vicinities of stations or
shopping areas. Moreover, many of the unlawfully parked bicycles relate to crimes, such as stolen
bicycles.
The bicycle problem is quite suited as daily political issue. Junior and high school
students ride bicycle frequently, and often notice unlawfully parked bicycles, or even they
themselves park bicycles this way. Unlawfully parked bicycles block the traffic and worsen the
scenery, thus are regarded as a bad manner for riders. Just as cars are indispensable in the United
States, bicycles are indispensable in Japan. Moreover, they are energy efficient, and can run faster
than cars in crowded areas. Bicycles’ positive value, convenience and contribution to health and
environment, confronts with other values such as safety and good scenery. At the same time,
national and local governments are making laws and ordinances to remove the unlawfully parked
bicycles, or spend tax money to build more parking lots for bicycles.
To experience “politics” based on this case starts with observing the actual situation,
then finding the interested parties, and coming up with the solutions these people are likely to
support. Individual students can go through this process separately, but a group work is better suited
as students encounter various opinions and view points through group discussion. Once interested
parties are identified, we can also simulate the problem solving situation, using role plays in a
group.
Chapter 3: Analysis of the Seminar
1) Pre-seminar Assignment
The authors publicly called for participants to a seminar, “What is Politics? Learning
25


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