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Lifelong learning in practice: Japanese community centers

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Abstract:

In an age of education where the “knowledge worker” and acquiring job skills are considered one of the imperatives of educational programming, educational policies that focus attention on body, mind and spirit can seem like fanciful notions. In Japan, however, continuing education programs at community centers represent a significant financial investment by the Ministry of Education, which promotes social skills and the development of the “whole person.” Built after World War II, community centers are a ubiquitous feature of Japanese neighborhood life. Framed though concepts of adult lifelong learning, this case study illuminates how community center courses in a midsized Japanese city contribute to the lives of citizens and what meaning participants derive from their activities. Through a three month study of observation and interviews with both administrators and participants, features such as long term social commitment to a group over many years, division of administrative duties from teaching, and alternative models of learning (correspondence, visiting teachers, or no teacher at all) emerged. Groups are self-sustaining, flexible units that accommodate a wide range of learner styles both between and inside groups. This study increases the operational understanding of how “non-western” (i.e., holistic, generally defined knowledge that takes place across the lifespan) is put into practice, and offers considerable opportunity for discussion that links themes of student/citizen participation, alternative notions of “education,” (especially in contrast to views that emphasizes competitive job skills) and adult learning practices around the world.
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Association:
Name: 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society
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http://www.cies.us


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URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p493807_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Clause, Stacy. "Lifelong learning in practice: Japanese community centers" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, May 01, 2011 <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p493807_index.html>

APA Citation:

Clause, S. , 2011-05-01 "Lifelong learning in practice: Japanese community centers" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the 55th Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society, Fairmont Le Reine Elizabeth, Montreal, Quebec, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-11-26 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p493807_index.html

Publication Type: Conference Paper/Unpublished Manuscript
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: In an age of education where the “knowledge worker” and acquiring job skills are considered one of the imperatives of educational programming, educational policies that focus attention on body, mind and spirit can seem like fanciful notions. In Japan, however, continuing education programs at community centers represent a significant financial investment by the Ministry of Education, which promotes social skills and the development of the “whole person.” Built after World War II, community centers are a ubiquitous feature of Japanese neighborhood life. Framed though concepts of adult lifelong learning, this case study illuminates how community center courses in a midsized Japanese city contribute to the lives of citizens and what meaning participants derive from their activities. Through a three month study of observation and interviews with both administrators and participants, features such as long term social commitment to a group over many years, division of administrative duties from teaching, and alternative models of learning (correspondence, visiting teachers, or no teacher at all) emerged. Groups are self-sustaining, flexible units that accommodate a wide range of learner styles both between and inside groups. This study increases the operational understanding of how “non-western” (i.e., holistic, generally defined knowledge that takes place across the lifespan) is put into practice, and offers considerable opportunity for discussion that links themes of student/citizen participation, alternative notions of “education,” (especially in contrast to views that emphasizes competitive job skills) and adult learning practices around the world.


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