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Campus Now

Midsummer Issue (Jul.)

From the classroom window

We will introduce high quality and practical education taking place, and fitting for the name "Education Waseda".

To promote faculty development (FD) at Waseda, in 2008, the FD Promotion Center was established, raising the quality of education. We asked Professor Mio, researching education methodology and education engineering at the Faculty of Education and Integrated Arts and Sciences, about lessons and lesson ideas.

*Faculty Development..General term used by academic staff for systematic undertakings to improve lesson content and methods.

Teacher and Student Communication Raises Study Effectiveness

Tadao Mio
Professor, Faculty of Education and Integrated Arts and Sciences

Continue to pursue university education that can be useful 10, 20 years after graduation.

The pace at which society and the environment changes is becoming faster and students are saying they want knowledge and experiences which will be useful immediately after graduating. But I am against the university teaching practical knowledge that will be useful straight away. Shouldn't that also be useful in society 10, 20 years in the future? The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology's "Graduate Power" scheme divided opinions, but at working group discussions at the Japan Universities Association for Computer Education, it was taken as an opportunity for each educator to think about what the faculties should be teaching the students now.

I have seen students at Waseda for 10 years and strongly feel that the quality of students has changed. It is said that university professors start off by imitating lectures they took as students, but it is necessary to aim to create more effective lessons to adjust to the change in students.

Facing the students with a sincere attitude

A daybook is a like an exchange diary with students. He answers to the comments of the students during business trip (on the train)

So, how do you pick up on changes in students? I think it is by holding as many channels as possible with the students. In each of my lessons, instead of taking roll, I provide a multi-choice style questionnaire measuring understanding and impressions of the lesson. The attractive part to this is I can soon gauge the disposition of the whole class and reflect this in the next lesson. Even with the end of term evaluation questionnaire, I give feedback during that class, showing that the professor takes the students opinions seriously.

Also, by using a sheet called a daybook, devised by Kogakkan University professor Kijun Oda, I get students to write their opinions of the lesson. It is a bit like an exchange diary so I get to know each students thoughts and changes, and it becomes a record of class attendance for the student. Using these tools I can communicate with the students, and by building study relationship and space, I believe it can influence student understanding of the course.

How to overcoming barriers as a teacher

Class scenery in large classroom

In the process of gaining experience through lessons, there is a time where a teacher feels distance between him and the students, and hits a wall. What I do to overcome this barrier, is find a good lesson and imitate it . I stimulate myself by watching Harvard University professor lectures on NHK, or watch other professors' lectures within the university. I also do pair reviews with teachers in the same department, where we watch each others lessons and give critical evaluation.

The aim is a lesson where the student can learn more. Furthermore, it can not be called a good lesson if both student and teacher are not satisfied. Understanding and satisfaction are related, if a student studies hard, I think level of satisfaction will rise.

My aim is to hold a conversational style lesson in the classroom. And then..if I can get some laughs, it would be excellent!

Tadao Mio
Professor, Faculty of Education and Integrated Arts and Sciences

Graduated from Kyoto University of Education Specialized Science Department, and completed his Master's degree in education at Naruto University of Education. His major field is education engineering. Worked as an assistant at the Ministry of Education University Common Usage Broadcast Research Center from 1989, and assistant at the National Institute of Multimedia Education from 1997, becoming assistant professor in 1998. Assistant professor at Waseda University School of Education from 2001 and professor at the Graduate School of Education and Integrated Arts and Sciences since 2005.