The author examines the experiences of learning about Japanese elementary education from the perspective of a Canadian teacher. She suggests through a year-long study in a Japanese third grade classroom that the teaching practices and philosophies underlying curricular and pedagogical decisions made by teachers are shaped by the culture and society of which schools are part, such that learning about Japanese schooling highlights the influence of social, societal, cultural, linguistic factors outside, as well as inside, school. In line with narrative inquiry research practices, the author also acknowledges her own stance as a certified elementary level teacher who was educated and certified in Canada, in contributing to shaping her analysis of teacher knowledge of her teacher participants. She argues that the process of learning about schooling in a country or culture different from the one in which an individual was educated and learned to teach, involves immersing oneself into the research context to learn about the experience from the perspective an insider. Realization of the extent to which this expansive interweaving of school and society is apparent in many aspects of schooling in Japan, in turn, reinforces the idea that this interconnection may also underlie schooling in other societies as well, such that one's experiences in one's own culture may form the foundation for understanding and interpreting knowledge gained about schooling in another culture or community. The notion of cross-cultural teacher knowledge, then, may be grounded in personal and professional experience of teaching and being taught in one's own culture.
Research for this paper was generously supported by a Monbusho Fellowship.
Chan, E. (2023), "Crossing Over the Genkan: Learning About Japanese Schooling From a Canadian Teacher Perspective", Chan, E. and Ross, V. (Ed.) Smudging Composition Lines of Identity and Teacher Knowledge (Advances in Research on Teaching, Vol. 46), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 167-187. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1479-368720230000046009
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