Educational Reforms in Japan: The Case for an Interdisciplinary Approach in English and Programming Education


Every ten years, the Japanese Ministry of Education enacts major curriculum reforms with the aim of transitioning Japanese society to twenty-first-century industry (Yamanaka and Suzuki, 2020). The latest of these sweeping reforms started in 2020, focusing on two major aspects of globalization: the introduction of mandatory programming education and the designation of English as a formal subject from the elementary school level. Despite two years designed as a preparation period (2018-2020), teachers were ill-prepared, particularly in rural areas where resources are lacking.
Although the combination of both subjects, English and Programming, is considered a challenge by most educators, the researchers saw the change as an opportunity to foster complementary meaning in both subjects. Using participatory research through a series of workshops targeting rural areas, we argued that a cross-disciplinary approach to teaching programming in English would help re-center teachers’ agency. Our presentation focuses on the results of these workshops, the challenges we faced in disrupting traditional disciplines' boundaries, the lessons learned, and how to foster future successful reforms.

Author Information
Florent Domenach, Akita International University, Japan
Naoko Araki, Akita International University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: SEACE2024
Stream: Teaching Experiences

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon