The latest situation of Japanese Multi-Age Classrooms in the small schools

Proceedings of The 6th International Conference on Research in Education, Teaching and Learning

Year: 2023



The latest situation of Japanese Multi-Age Classrooms in the small schools

Hisashi Fusegi




The purpose of this study can be organized into three main areas.First, to identify the latest stuation of small schools in remote areas in Japan.
Second, to illustrate the advantages of education in remote and small schools through concrete examples.
Thirdly, to clarify how the content of education in remote areas and small schools is dealt with in the teacher training curricula in F Japan.
In recent years, the number of remote and small schools in Japan has been decreasing due to consolidation in the context of a severely declining birth rate.
However, the topographical characteristics of Japan, with many remote mountainous areas, make further school consolidation physically impossible in many areas.
Many remote and small schools have been forced to close, and further consolidation in the future will be difficult.
For this reason, research on teaching methods to ensure the quality of education in small schools is becoming increasingly important.
In line with this background, there is a need to improve the quality of teaching methods using multi-grade mixed classes, which are commonly used in very small schools in Japan.
Multi-grade mixed classes have been practiced in alternative schools based on child-centered educational theory, such as the Jena Plan and Montessori education, and have published excellent results.
We would like to learn from these excellent prior practices and clarify the specific advantages of multi-grade mixed classes in remote areas and small schools.
As a method for this study, we will use the database of the Basic School Survey published by the government, as well as fieldwork in small schools, employing data obtained through classroom observation records and interviews with teachers.
The schools studied were elementary and junior high schools in Otaki, Mitake, Fukushima, Toyosu, Hiratani, Ohinata and KodomonoMura in the remote areas of Japan.
About the teacher training curriculum, we checked the contents based on publicly available curriculum information.
This study demonstrates that mixed-grade education has advantages.
Particularly in Japan, where the number of small schools is expected to increase, the results of this study contribute to the development of a theory reflecting the advantages of the mixed grade system in small schools.
On the other hand, few Japanese universities deal with the educational content of remote and small schools in their teacher training curricula.

In order to overcome this challenge, we would like to make positive suggestions on how small-school education should be positioned in teacher training curricula.

keywords:multi-age classrooms, small schools, self-regulsted learning, educational method of Japanese style