With Prof. Greg Smith from the United States, the symposium \”Place and Education\” was held at Rikkyo University, Tokyo, on January 21st, 2012.
Including non-Japanese nationals, a wide range of people participanted in the event at Tachikawa Memorial Hall, Rikkyo University.
Greg Smith, a researcher of \”Place- and Community-Based Education\” at Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling, the US, gave an opening keynote lecture.
Firstly, Prof. Smith pointed out that \”placelessness of modern society and isolation of place and society is a global phenomena. As global culture that is disengaged from nature and tradition has been increasing in many countries, there is a growing tendency among young generation to have little concern about local issues\”.
The tendency was suggested by American educationalist, John Dewey, more than a half century ago that the great waste of school is its \”inability to utilize the experiences children gets outside the school in any complete and free way within the school itself\”.
Following the argument, he introduced some examples across the US to reconnect local society and schools. For instance, in Massachusetts, high school students found that a higher proportion of asthma in their region was caused by the gas emissions from vehicles. They investigated the issue and made a plan for improving the environment, including a suggestion to the local school bus center to reduce the length of time to idle the engines. As a result, the center al
tered the bus fuel from light diesel oil to natural gas. Through the examples, Prof. Smith explained that young people learned about their own local nature, the environment, society and tradition in the process of investigation of the local issues, and became a part of the communities.
Accordingly, Dr TAKANO Takako introduced the brief overview of the history of \”Place-Based Education\” both in Japan and the world.
TAKANO mentioned that from Meiji to Taisho era, there was also a movement in Japan that focused on communities, such as \”education of soil\” and \”homeplace education\”, and after the World War II, pollution education became popular across the nation which was led to environmental education. However, community or society education has remained divorced from the school education, and community retired to the background of education.
In the afternoon, Prof. ABE Osamu of Rikkyo University, Prof. KIMATA Mikio of Tokyo Gakugei University and SAKUMA Norio of Conservation Society of Dewa-Sanzan introduced respectively examples of current Japanese \”Place-Based Education\”.
Lastly, Prof. ANDO Toshihiko of Saitama University moderated the discussion with SASAKI Toyoshi of Kurikoma-Kogen Nature School and Greg Smith participated as a panel. The discussion on \”Place-Based Education\” was lively with exchanging ideas and opinions with the audience.
Followings are the video recordings of the symposium;
Keynote lecture by Greg Smith
The other footage about \”Place-Based Education\” symposium: