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Toward the Ideal in Teacher Training
- Producing Highly Expert, True Teachers at Waseda -

Kazuyuki Sakatsume
Professor, Faculty of Education and Integrated Arts and Sciences, Waseda University

The Diversification of Teaching Environments and the Expertise of Teachers

Education is a collaborative work by children, parents and guardians, and teachers. Education becomes difficult and may be compromised if the relationship between these three parties is not stable. In order to ensure a stable relationship between these three parties, the “role” of each must be made very clear. A relationship cannot be established unless each party has its own “role”. Today, the “role” of each of these three parties is changing dramatically. The developmental situation and educational abilities of children is becoming increasingly diversified. The attitudes of parents and guardians toward education are also becoming more and more diverse. If teachers cannot continue to respond to the increasing diversity in children and parents and guardians, their “role” will be diminished.

If the “role” of teachers is diminished, the stability of the educational environment will be disrupted, and the collaborative work that is education will become difficult. In order to clarify and preserve the “role” of teachers, it is essential that we work to improve the level of teacher’s “expertise”.

The Introduction of Waseda University’s Teacher Training Good Practice, and thereafter

Here at Waseda University, the “Program to Improve Teacher Training by emphasizing Clinical Pedagogy” was devised, mainly from within the Faculty of Education and Integrated Arts and Sciences (Chair of the Executive Committee: the current author), and was adopted as part of the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology’s “Program to Promote High Quality Teacher Training in Universities and Graduate Schools” (Teacher Training Good Practice: Fiscal year 2005-2006).

In this program, our philosophy was the following: “Training for teachers should be on a par, or better than, training for doctors.” Moreover, we set as our goal the cultivation of highly expert teachers who would be able to make an educational “diagnosis” of (understand) a child, to formulate a “prescription” (teaching plan) based on sound premises, and to implement concrete and effective “treatment” (coaching or instruction). By making best use of the enrollment environment provided by Waseda University’s open course credit system for teacher training, it is our intention to cultivate teachers who have the ability to educate due to possessing an even deeper understanding of other human beings, who have the ability to instruct and guide due to a high level of expertise and knowledge regarding their chosen subject of specialty, and who have the ability to coordinate and work in collaboration with parents and guardians. For this reason, we have created an “Intensive Course” for learning the basic skills and knowledge needed by teachers; we have established “Educational Internships” to provide the opportunity for practical learning off-campus; and we have established a “Clinic for Advanced Studies in Education” as a place to gain experience in clinical pedagogy.

At the present time, these are being made into credited units as courses in the Waseda University Teacher Training Program. In the “Basic Course on Understanding Human Beings”, students learn the basic scientific knowledge that is essential to education and educating (the fields which are fundamental for education: the brain and the science of development); they learn about the biological, psychological and social factors that can obstruct education (the field of educational disorders: development disorders, higher brain dysfunctions, delinquency, crime, and the errors of teachers); and finally they learn about recovering from, treating and preventing the factors which obstruct education (the field of educational health: wellness medicine and psychotherapy). In the “Educational Internships”, students spend a whole year learning from practical work in schools. The “Clinic for Advanced Studies in Education” is being developed to provide a regime of clinical pedagogy whereby students can learn by accompanying experts and observing their methods of problem solving.

The Necessary Elements of Teacher Training

A high level of expertise, particularly in terms of gaining ability in clinical pedagogy, can only be obtained either by gaining experience from working with many different children on the job, or by undergoing a thorough training in clinical pedagogy from a true expert. Teacher training is equivalent to the latter case. However, it is difficult to provide this by enrolling only in the currently required courses for a Teacher Training program, as determined by the Education Personnel Certification Act. For example, there is no basic course to cultivate a perspective of understanding other human beings, who are in fact the subject of education itself, as mentioned above. If seen in terms of doctor training, this would be like not having the equivalent of a course in basic medicine. Furthermore, practical training is not sufficient, in terms of either amount or quality. In fact, in the current practical training, quite often the idea of using the students to assist in the classroom comes to the forefront, and teachers often put children they cannot handle into the care of the students. This defeats the purpose of practical training and is clearly a case of putting the cart before the horse. The real purpose of practical training is to enable students to learn by observing teachers and schools which are implementing the best in education. Learning to deal with children whom it is difficult to educate should be the next step. In a doctor’s training, it is essential for student doctors to undergo practical training under doctors and in hospitals which provide the highest levels of medical care. Student doctors cannot immediately be sent to work in the emergency room of a hospital. This would not only threaten patients’ lives, but would not allow room for students to receive guidance and instruction, and may even cause students to lose heart and motivation. Students should be given the opportunity to observe the best in their field, and to make that their own level by which to judge things; if not, the saying “bad money drives out the good” could end up being realized. In teacher training, it is very important that practical training is based upon the mutual understanding of the needs of the students as well as the educational institution.

Supporting a teacher’s responsibility to be a “mentor”

However, there is a decisive difference between teachers and doctors. A doctor’s task ends when an illness is cured, but teaching is a profession whereby a teacher has a responsibility to continue to be a child’s “mentor”. Children watch and learn from teachers every day. Moreover, there is basically no end to, or completion of, education. Teachers are required to have a wider range of knowledge and a deeper level of humanity than doctors. This requires true cultivation. In order to put a better education into practice based upon true cultivation, it is important that teachers are constantly seeking to improve themselves (train themselves). Fortunately, here at our school of education at Waseda University (the Faculty of Education and Integrated Arts and Sciences), we have a wide range of fields of expertise from humanities to science almost comparable with a full university in itself and, from this basis, we can contribute to the necessary cultivation and ongoing training and development needed by teachers. We consider it very important that we use these merits to the utmost in our teacher training in the future.

Teacher Training and Universities

Researchers at universities often devote themselves to their research to the extent that education becomes an afterthought, a secondary objective. One even sees examples where teacher training is seen as being “below” research. However, academic studies and science exist to expand the knowledge of the human race. Therefore, there is inevitably a duty to pass on such knowledge to the rest of one’s generation, or indeed to the next generation, that is inherent in academia and science. The expansion of knowledge by research and the transmission of such knowledge are two sides of the same coin. In this way, researchers who look down on education cannot be said to be researchers in the truest sense. Moreover, teachers, who stand on the front line of transmitting knowledge to the next generation, must also be experts of the highest standard and researchers in their own right, and it is the basic duty and responsibility of universities to cultivate such teachers. It is my hope that persons related to universities will firmly recognize these obligations and duties, and will go on to think about how we can achieve the ideal in teacher training in the future.

Kazuyuki Sakatsume
Professor, Faculty of Education and Integrated Arts and Sciences, Waseda University

Brief biography
After graduating specializing in Educational Psychology from the Waseda University School of Education’s School of Psychology, Professor Sakatsume completed the Master’s Program in Psychology at Waseda University’s Graduate School of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and completed the required courses in the Doctoral Program there. He attained his current position after working at the Rehabilitation Center of Kakeyu Hospital and at the Hamamatsu City Medical Center for Developmental Medicine, and after holding positions as Assistant Professor in the Urawa Junior College School of Welfare, and Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Law at Senshu University.

Areas of Specialty
Neuropsychology, Developmental Neuropsychology, Educational Neuropsychology, Psychology of the Disabled, Rehabilitation Psychology, etc.

Academic Diplomas/Qualifications
Doctor of Medical Science, Clinical Psychologist, Speech Therapist, Clinical Developmental Psychologist.

Japan Society for Higher Brain Dysfunction (Councilor/Member of the Editorial Board); Neuropsychology Association of Japan (Councilor); The Japan Health Medicine Association (Member of the Executive Board/Member of the Editorial Board): The Kanto Child Psychology and Health Association (Member of the Executive Board); The Japan Pediatric Neuropsychiatric Association; The Japan Child Health Association; The Japan Psychology Association; The Japan Developmental Psychology Association; The Association of Japanese Clinical Psychology; The Cognitive Rehabilitation Research Group (Facilitator/Member of the Editorial Board); The Japanese Society of Rehabilitation Psychology (Councilor), etc.

Major works
“Study on Higher Brain Dysfunction”, “Case Studies and Assessment of Developmental Disorders that can benefit Special Educational Support”, “Thinking about Impulsivity in relation to Delinquency and Crime”, “Dealing with Developmental Disorders”, “Thinking about Food in relation to Development and Health”,etc., and many others.