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Promoting Political Participation through Experience-based Political Education
Unformatted Document Text:  through Experience,” last summer, and 12 junior high school students from various school districts volunteered to participate. The issue taken up in the seminar was a large number of unlawfully parked bicycles in the vicinity of stations or shopping areas. The participants were assigned to make a preliminary research of the unlawful parking of bicycles in their own cites themselves. As they gathered, they were engaged in group discussion, formation of alternatives, and presentation of their alternatives, with the assistance of college students as facilitators in each group. The authors observed and analyzed the whole process, and conducted a follow-up survey. About one month ahead of the seminar, the authors had sent the students applied for the seminar a pre-seminar assignment. The theme of the assignment was to observe the situation of unlawfully parked bicycles near stations or shopping areas they pass by in their daily life, and to make a preliminary analysis of the situation by themselves. The pre-seminar assignment was aimed at heightening their interest in the issue itself, as well as for the authors to see the pre-existing political skills of the participants. The assignment was given in the following manner: ”In some cities, bicycles cause a big social problem, while other cities are successfully managing this problem. Why are the bicycle problems handled differently? Let’s think about it together. First, we would like you to observe how bicycles are parked near your station or your shopping areas. Your observation will be the basis for our discussion. This assignment is not an exam, and there is no one correct answer to your analysis. Please write what you think freely. a. Where did you observe? b. What was the situation of the bicycles there? c. What do you think is the problem? d. Who do you think are involved in this problem? e. Please take notes if you find any facilities or signs related with bicycle parking. f. What do you think are the causes for this problem?” Among the items above, we closely examined c (definition of the problem) and d (interested parties involved), for the purpose of the seminar is to find out the confronting values in the public arena, and to cultivate the attitudes toward problem solving. As was expected beforehand, to find out the nature of the problem and the interested groups involved, as well as their respective interests, from such a daily scene of unlawfully parked bicycles turned out to be a difficult task. They feel something is “wrong” with the situation, but to identify the problem required an abstract thinking. Besides, there are multiple factors involved, and pointing out what is the most important factor out of them was a challenging task. They could 26

Authors: Ishibashi, Shoichiro. and Chieko, Otsuru.
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through Experience,” last summer, and 12 junior high school students from various school districts
volunteered to participate. The issue taken up in the seminar was a large number of unlawfully
parked bicycles in the vicinity of stations or shopping areas. The participants were assigned to make
a preliminary research of the unlawful parking of bicycles in their own cites themselves. As they
gathered, they were engaged in group discussion, formation of alternatives, and presentation of
their alternatives, with the assistance of college students as facilitators in each group. The authors
observed and analyzed the whole process, and conducted a follow-up survey.
About one month ahead of the seminar, the authors had sent the students applied for the
seminar a pre-seminar assignment. The theme of the assignment was to observe the situation of
unlawfully parked bicycles near stations or shopping areas they pass by in their daily life, and to
make a preliminary analysis of the situation by themselves. The pre-seminar assignment was aimed
at heightening their interest in the issue itself, as well as for the authors to see the pre-existing
political skills of the participants.
The assignment was given in the following manner:
”In some cities, bicycles cause a big social problem, while other cities are successfully managing
this problem. Why are the bicycle problems handled differently? Let’s think about it together. First,
we would like you to observe how bicycles are parked near your station or your shopping areas.
Your observation will be the basis for our discussion. This assignment is not an exam, and there is
no one correct answer to your analysis. Please write what you think freely.
a. Where did you observe?
b. What was the situation of the bicycles there?
c. What do you think is the problem?
d. Who do you think are involved in this problem?
e. Please take notes if you find any facilities or signs related with bicycle parking.
f. What do you think are the causes for this problem?”
Among the items above, we closely examined c (definition of the problem) and d
(interested parties involved), for the purpose of the seminar is to find out the confronting values in
the public arena, and to cultivate the attitudes toward problem solving.
As was expected beforehand, to find out the nature of the problem and the interested
groups involved, as well as their respective interests, from such a daily scene of unlawfully parked
bicycles turned out to be a difficult task. They feel something is “wrong” with the situation, but to
identify the problem required an abstract thinking. Besides, there are multiple factors involved, and
pointing out what is the most important factor out of them was a challenging task. They could
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