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Part2 Educational Reform Q&A
Q16: I believe that experience of social life,such as working at a store,is extremely useful to children.Are there any classes that incorporate hands-on learning outside the classroom in local communities as part of school education?

A: This type of measure is gradually being ex-panded,although there are differences de-pending on the school and community.Wefeel from now on that these eforts will bedeveloped.

At elementary,lower secondary and upper sec-ondary schools,moral education and special activities are utilized for various types of hands-on learning,including community cleaning ac-tivities,aid activities for the elderly and persons with disabilities at social welfare facilities,work experience at local stores and shops,and agri-cultural work on farms.For today's children,there are few opportu-nities for experiencing daily-life activities,such as experience of social life and nature with the improvement of living standards and urbaniza-tion.Therefore,these kinds of experiences are extremely important for them to learn the no-bility of labor and to cultivate a positive atti-tude toward doing things for society.By being involved in society and meeting various kinds of people through hands-on activities,children learn to develop caring hearts for others and the rules for leading a social life.This involvement also gives children an opportunity to consider their own future paths with a sense of individu-ality.In addition,the people of the community's co-operation toward this kind of hands-on learning leads to a heightened desire to cultivate children in the community and to an increased level of educational strength in the community as a whole.Moreover,this is also considerably ef-fective in making schools more open.An important task for future children will be to cultivate strength for living robust lives with enriched minds.For this purpose,it is necessary to continue to pay special attention to cultivating in children the mindset to be considerate and thankful to others,and to be willing to dedicate themselves to the public good.The new Courses of Study(to be implemented from FY2002 for elementary and lower secon-dary schools;from FY2003 for upper secondary schools;and from different times according to the school phase of each school for the blind,deaf and otherwise disabled)also call for further enhancement of hands-on activities through edu-cation activities at schools as a whole from the standpoint of increasing emphasis on hands-on activities.This includes hands-on nature activi-ties,volunteer activities and other experience of social life in all subjects,the Periods of Integrat-ed Study to be newly established,moral educa-tion and special activities.From now on as well,each school will be ex-pected to obtain the cooperation of its commu-nity and conduct courses and events which in-corporate various types of hands-on learning.


An internship is an employment experience for a student during his/her enrollment inschool,for example at an industrial work site,which is related to the content of his/herstudies or career aspirations.

One school has an internship program which enjoys the cooperation of local industrial circles.In this program,third-year students in the Production and Distribution course work at super-markets or department stores each Friday from morning until3:00pm from June until November.Students work enthusiastically in displaying fresh foods at supermarkets,selling quality confec-tionery at department stores,and working in other environments.

Each day practical training ends,students make entries in their journals in which they de-scribe things they have noticed or areas in which they can improve,and the employee in chargeadds comments to them.Students then submit a report at the end of the semester.

It is said that the only adults with whom many students can communicate are their parentsand teachers.However,it would appear that internships allow students to make new discoveriesthrough interaction with other adults,for example,employees and customers at the internshipworkplace.

On the whole,students have taken good impressions away from their internship experiences,considering them enjoyable and rewarding in terms of learning.

Community Learning Hands-on Experience Week for Lower Secondary SchoolStudents-"Let's Try Week"(Hyogo Prefecture)

Since FY1998,a program has been imple-mented in Hyogo Prefecture based on coop-eration from parents/guardians and people inthe community.All second-year public lowersecondary school students in the prefectureare eligible for the program,in which stu-dents from each community enjoy week-longcontinual hands-on activities under the tu-telage of volunteer instructors as part of theirschool education.

During this temporally and spatially com-fortable one-week children's"journey insearch of oneself,"children's zest for livingis developed and the establishment ofmechanisms in wbich school,household andcommunity raise their children in the com-munity through new encounters and discov-eries is advanced.

In FY1998 the program enjoyed partiei-pation of about56,000students from340schools,who joined in various hands-on ac-tivities at16,000workplaces with the coop-eration of approximately23,000volunteerinstructors.

Examples of Hands-on Activities

Each student thinks about an activity to trybased on his/her curiosity and interests andhis/her school,household and communitycooperate to support the activity in accor-dance with the circumstances of the commu-nity and the school.

Hot Springs and Inns

Souvenir sales;greeting and bidding fare-well to guests and providing them withguidance;room straightening;breakfastand lunch table clearing

Homes for the Elderly

Assistance for recreation and outings;floorcleaning,bed-making,bathing assistance,body-washing,tray and tea serving and ta-ble clearing at lunch time

Daycare Centers

Childcare assistance in free play and exer-cise,walking,provision of meals,after-noon nap and snack times

Farms and Park

Flower garden maintenance,barn manurecollection,sawdust replacement,calfbrushing,sheep herding,grass cutting,parkgarbage cleanup


Cash register operation,product organiza-tion,price tag attaching,cleaning

Things gained from"Let's Try Week"

Student's Impressions-Becoming aware ofthemselves and people who support them

"I didn't have a dream before,but now Ihave something I would like to do in thefuture."
"When I was working,someone said to me,"You are doing well.Good luck."I neverknew how wonderful it was to be treatedlike that."
"I think I became more broad-minded."
"I was impressed by how hard my parentsand other adults around me work."
"Sometimes when Pm out in the town,people I meet call out my name in a loudvoice and wave to me.This makes me very happy."
Were you able to interact with your volunteer instructor and people from the community?

What kind of a week was this for you?

Parents' Impressions-Becoming aware ofrelationships with children and relationshipswith the community

"I thought that during this week,my childwas extremely lively with fascinating con-versation and a sense of ease in terms oftime which relaxed him/her spiritually aswell.I would like to continue to value thissense of ease in our everyday life as well."
"Today's children want to experiencesomething other than studying.Thisweek' s program taught us the true meaningof study."
"It made me realize that while workingexperience is important,it is more impor-tant to be able to talk about it as a family."
"Since I was also involved in the localcommunity this week,I was able to re-examine my local community."
During the program period how much conversation was there between you and your child about your child's activities in the program?

Did your view of your child change as a result of thiis program?

Community People's Impressions-Learninga lot about lower secondary school studentsand becoming aware of new roles for theworkplace and the community

"The program gave me the chance to learnvarious things about lower secondaryschool students."
"In order to teach something to a person,you have to understand it clearly yourself.This week's program taught we who ac-cepted the students a great deal."
"I think the program gave us a great chan-ce to become somehow interested in lowersecondary school students."
Were there any changes in the students over this week?

Did your view of lower secondary students change as a result of this program?

School Teachers' Impressions-Becomingaware of other sides to the students,becomingaware of the perspective of educational reforms

"I became able to see my students in morediverse ways."
"I was able to learn something from ob-serving the volunteer instructors' manytechniques and their dedicated attitudes."
"Before,I didn'thave much contact withthe outside,but the program allowed me toget acquainted with many people in thecommunity and deepen my relations withthem."
"The program made it possible to obtain alevel of understanding toward the schoolfrom the community and parents/guardianswhich had never been attained before.Wewere also able to gain interest in the stateof lower secondary school students in thecommunity."
"I was made to keenly realize the magni-tude of our community's power to educate."
Were there any changes in the students over this week?

Were the activities of"Let's Try Week"useful for the relationship between your school and the local community?

Through these activities,did you discover any new sides to your students which you had not noticed in school life before?

Did"Let's Try Week"make you think about your future educational activities?

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