3 Policies of the Faculty of Liberal Arts at Tsuru University
The ideal and objective of the Department of Teacher Education is to train outstanding teachers who have the perspective of linkage from elementary school to junior high school based on elementary education. To achieve this, we have prepared diverse approaches to select students: school recommendation selection (general recommendation and recommendation based on common tests), comprehensive-type selection, and general selection (first term schedule, middle term schedule). We seek students who embody the following.
- Students have basic scholastic ability in each subject acquired through their learning up to senior high school.
- Students have a broad interest in society, culture, and nature in Japan and around the world, and they can organize and appropriately express their own thoughts on such topics.
- Students are willing to proactively assist in the comprehensive development (intellectual training, moral education, and physical education) of children through utilizing their own individuality and fields of expertise.
- Students who possess an unrelenting desire to improve and spirit of inquiry and are willing to learn while cooperating and interacting with their peers.
In order to impart the capacity and expertise that are required in teachers able to anticipate the transition from elementary school to junior high school based on elementary education, the Department of Teacher Education organizes its curriculum with emphasis on the following points.
- By linking university lectures (theory) with activities (practice) in school settings, we aim to deepen understanding of schools and children based on the interaction of theory and practice.
- We nurture practical instructional ability that allows teachers to teach all subjects at elementary school.
- We aim to train teachers who deeply research specific fields that tally with their own interests and have fields of expertise.
- Moreover, to impart the ability to appropriately respond to changing school settings and the conditions that surround schools:
- We aim to train teachers who are able to practically promote linkage and integrated education between elementary schools and junior high schools.
- We nurture teachers who are able to utilize ICT and various other resources to support the autonomous, proactive and creative learning of children.
- For children with special needs, we encourage inclusive education whereby the children can learn by cooperating and working together based on understanding of the characteristics of such children.
- We nurture teachers who acquire international perspective and sensibility
In the first year, students learn common education subjects designed to stimulating their intellectual curiosity and nurturing broad-ranging education, comprehensive discernment and an abundant sense of humanity. Also, to foster practical instructional ability that allows teachers to teach all subjects at elementary school, students take “Introduction to teaching” and other basic subjects for becoming a teacher, practical and experimental subjects such as “Scientific experimentation and observation”, “Arts and crafts practice and drills”, and “Music practice and drills”, which are required of all students, and subjects such as “Psychology and education of children with disabilities” related to understanding children who have special needs.
From the second year, in order to gain a field of specialty as a teacher, each student furthers his or her learning in one of 12 specialist fields (Education practice, Special needs education, Psychological and clinical, Japanese language, Social sciences, Arithmetic and mathematics, Natural and environmental sciences, Living environmental sciences, Music, Arts and crafts, Physical education, and English). Moreover, from the second to the third years, in order to acquire the ability to support the autonomous, proactive and creative learning of children, students take subjects on instructional methodology in each subject: for example, “Japanese instructional method (including penmanship)”. They also learn how to utilize ICT and various other resources. Furthermore, “Specialist exercises 1” and “Specialist exercises 2” conducted in the third year and “Specialist exercises 3” and “Specialist exercises 4” in the fourth year, demand students to jointly learn in small-group seminars and gather, analyze and consider materials in eventually compiling a “graduation thesis”.
Activities in school settings commence from school inspections in the first year “Education field research 1”, and continue in the second and third years with practical subjects such as “Education field research 2” and “Education field research 3”, which are conducted simultaneously with university lectures. These activities link to “Teaching practice” from the latter part of the third year to the first half of the fourth year, and eventually culminate in the “Teaching practice exercises” in the latter part of the fourth year.
Furthermore, students will be able to acquire international perspective and sensibility through the courses of “Training in overseas education conditions” (teacher training program at an overseas university; students can participate in their second and third years), specialized fields in English language (including “Research for acquiring a second language”) and subjects in the Department of International Education.
In addition, as associated learning, students can take subjects related to teaching in other departments. For example, students are allowed to take subjects in junior high school curricula of Department of Japanese Literature, Department of English Literature, and Department of Community and Society, and subjects related to IB education held by the Department of International Education.
Inheriting a tradition of elementary school teacher training, the Teacher Education Department adheres to the ideals of developing personalities and promoting deep understanding of children and the changes that children go through from school into adolescence. It also aims to nurture teachers who have a strong sense of mission regarding teaching, a sure view of education and children, and the following qualities and abilities.
- Teachers who acquire basic practical instructional ability for supporting the autonomous learning of children based on specialist knowledge and skills in each subject and a deep understanding of children, and can practice education while anticipating the transition from elementary school to junior high school.
- Teachers who can understand children with special needs, prepare an environment in which children can cooperate and work together while deepening mutual understanding, and appropriately give direction to learning.
- Teachers who can effectively use various resources to perform education activities based on an untiring desire to improve one’s own ability in response to new challenges.
- Teachers who cherish connections with the local community and people and have a broad interest in environmental problems, human rights problems and other current social issues, and have the ability to support and appropriately direct children’s learning.
- Teachers who are endowed with communication ability for working together and cooperatively advancing work over the entire school based on relationships of trust with children, colleagues, parents and guardians, and people in the local community.
Teachers who have basic research ability of fostering their awareness of issues, gathering and analyzing resources and data, and presenting their findings.
The Department of Community and Society seeks the following kind of students who can steadily complete the curriculum and grow to become the kind of teachers who are described in the Diploma Policy.
Knowledge and Skills
We seek students who possess a strong interest and basic knowledge concerning modern global fields in high school “Geography and history” and the various fields of “Civics” (political economics and ethical society).
In addition to the above knowledge, as the challenges that confront local communities become increasingly complex and relations with overseas countries become deeper (for example, acceptance of foreign travelers and workers), it is desirable for students to have acquired the ability to analyze issues using data, the ability to organize their own thoughts and convey them to others in easily understandable terms, and basic foreign language ability for communicating with various people according to their own fields of interest, at high school.
Interests and Attitude
We seek students who can have a broad interest in the challenges that confront local communities in various places in Japan and around the world, without being limited to a narrow scope only. Moreover, the students should be willing to utilize the things they learn at Tsuru University based on such interest in actually solving real local issues (for example, measures to address decreasing birthrate, aging population and declining population, revitalization of local communities and economy, protection and nurturing of traditional cultures). We also expect students to have a flexible attitude for understanding and continuously tackling from diverse viewpoints the unknown social issues they encounter in their community activities.
Experience and Action
Students conduct fieldwork and other lessons in the community through the communication and cooperation with seminar members and people in the local community. Accordingly, it is desirable for students to gain experience of communicating with nearby people (including family members, friends, and high school teachers) concerning topics of interest. For example, useful experiences include engaging in an internship and volunteer activities in the community, taking an interest in and watching everyday news about the local community, and actively discussing one’s feelings and opinions with nearby people.
The Department of Community and Society compiles and implements a curriculum that comprises the following subject groups 1 to 5 based on the accrediting policy. Moreover, from the first term of the third year, students belong to one out of the following four courses in the department: “Local Management Course”, “Public Policy Course”, “Environment and Society Course”, and “Education and Culture Course”.
Compulsory and optional subjects differ according to the course, but each subject can be taken irrespective of the course. Moreover, a social studies teacher’s license and qualifications to become a social investigator, social education supervisor, environment and ESD teacher, etc. can be obtained in any of the courses.
1. Basic subject group
These are subjects geared to nurturing the basic skills required for learning at university, accordingly the basic skills that are necessary for grasping and analyzing issues of the local community after going out into society.
2. Humanities, Social Sciences and International subject group
These are subjects geared to acquiring basic knowledge for analyzing issues of the local community from diverse perspectives. These include subjects related to humanities and social sciences and subjects of international relations.
3. Specialized subject group
These are subjects geared to acquiring specialized knowledge necessary for confronting and specifically solving actual issues of the local community. Students can take subjects according to their own interests regardless of their affiliated course, however, each course is designed with compulsory and optional subjects to ensure that knowledge and skills are acquired according to each course.
Community Management Course
Students learn the knowledge and skills that are required to manage and promote local enterprises and undertakings primarily from the private sector standpoint.
Public Policy Course
Students learn the knowledge and skills that are required to draft and promote policies for solving local issues primarily from the government standpoint.
Environment and Society Course
Students learn the knowledge and skills that are required to maintain and vitalize local environment and community from an intermediate standpoint between private sector enterprises and government.
Education and Culture Course
Students learn the local community management knowledge and skills that are required for fostering diverse and flexible values and culture together with the diverse citizens that constitute the community base.
4. Practical subject group
To provide opportunities for experiences geared to practically and deeply impressing the knowledge and skills that are learned in 1-3, subjects such as PBL (Project-based learning), fieldwork, internships, etc. are provided from the first year.
5. Exercise subject group
These subjects are intended to put together the contents learned in 1-4 and enhance the “capability” to utilize them in actual society. Specifically, these compulsory subjects include seminar activities and a graduation thesis on a specific theme. Each seminar is classified according to one out of the following four courses: “Local Management Course”, “Public Policy Course”, “Environment and Society Course”, and “Education and Culture Course”, and students take part in the seminar of their own affiliated course.
This curriculum aims to help students acquire the local understanding, planning ability, dynamism, and ability to work together that are required to work with various people and solve actual problems in the local community. Accordingly, in addition to learning knowledge, emphasis is placed on practice and exercises, and “active learning (Note 1)” is incorporated by actively implementing group discussions, debates and so on.
(Note 1) Rather than lecture-type lessons, this education technique vigorously incorporates active participation (for instance, debate, speaking, and tackling of issues) on the side of the students.
Modern Japan is confronted with a changing environment: internally, decreased birthrate and aging population, a growing social security burden, declining industrial competitiveness, and decay of traditional culture; and externally: globalization of social and economic activities. In these circumstances, “communities” scattered all over Japan are directly and indirectly affected by activities around the world within the globalized society and economy. Such issues represent challenges that confront society as a whole, and analysis and action rooted in the “community” are essential to resolve such issues.
Based on such awareness, the Department of Community and Society aims to nurture people who can accurately grasp community issues from both the local and international perspectives and contribute to the formation of better communities in Japan and around the world. In specific terms, this department aims to train “leaders who can drive various activities that are useful for vitalizing communities”, “practical persons who can plan, coordinate and promote measures geared to the resolution of local issues”, “practitioners who work on coexisting with the environment in the local community” and “educators who work on nurturing diverse values and training people in the local community”.
Accordingly, degrees are conferred on student who acquire the following capabilities by the time of graduation.
- Ability to comprehensively, structurally, and scholastically grasp the issues that face various communities, both in Japan and around the world [Ability to understand communities]
- Ability to design creative ideas for solving local issues from both the local and international perspectives, and to put such ideas into concrete shape as public policy and new projects [Vision]
- Ability to take initiative and display leadership in contributing to the management of local organizations and undertakings in order to realize one’s own ideas [Ability to take action]
- Ability to conduct the necessary education and promote awareness and exchange and thereby deepen mutual understanding, trust and collaborative relations among citizens, enterprises, schools, NPOs, local governments, and other groups against a background of diverse environment and culture [Ability to collaborate]