Foreign language education in Japan is currently undergoing educational reform with the implementation of a newly revised course of study which mandates that English classes be taught solely in English (MEXT, 2019). Despite these efforts, it appears to be an illusion as the government limits and controls the contents of English education and instruction. School curriculums are controlled by the National Course of Study and the textbooks used are predominantly chosen from government authorized individuals based on reviews by prefectural boards of education. This has provided many roadblocks to English education in Japan as decisions about curriculum has failed to involve key stakeholders such as teachers and students. Hence, the teachers are not prepared to handle the guidelines in the curriculum in teaching English courses and the demands being placed on them especially with changes to the content and their teaching styles. This traditional way of thinking and decision making has significantly affected the performance of student's English competence. Therefore, as educational leaders it is imperative that Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is recognized as much more than an organizational development tool and therefore utilize its strength to reshape the practice of learning, design and development- an orientation to educational change. This paper outlines the principles of AI and its applicability to language education reform in Japan; illustrates AI practices and compares AI to traditional approaches of organizational change and its validity and appropriateness. The study highlights recommendations that can be used by educational institutions in successfully managing transformational change.
Leveth Jackson, Keiai University, Japan
Stream: Educational policy
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