Teachers as "Professionals" : Comparing Canadian and Japanese Contexts and Perspectives
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Despite periodic international declarations attesting to the "professional" status of teachers, debate continues at many levels in education as to the legitimacy of this claim, and as to what exactly it is that marks a professional educator. This debate becomes particularly interesting when educators of different national and cultural backgrounds, and often radically different cognitive frameworks, are asked to work together on both short and long-term projects. That the quality of professional working environments in schools is positively correlated with both student and teacher performance, satisfaction, retention, and efficacy has been well documented. Such environments demand unity of educational objectives, yet cultural expectations of professionals, and even basic understandings as to what makes a "good teacher" often differ among cultures. Whereas international student and faculty exchanges are increasing in both scope and duration, the need for practical approaches to reconcile means and objectives is paramount in order to maximize their positive impact. This paper is written under the premise that the enhancement of professional working environments is a key factor in addressing both persisting and evolving problems in education, and is presented as a background for research in progress that focuses on the impact of foreign instructors on professional working environments in Japanese public schools. As such, it focuses particularly on shedding light on the contexts and perspectives of Canadian and Japanese educators as regards professionalism in education. Perspectives afforded by the comparative study of professional working environments in different nations are invaluable in avoiding hasty and often costly administrative decisions, as well as they foster deeper mutual understanding when cultures meet to work together. Canada and Japan are discussed not only in consideration of their suitability for this project, but also in light of the author's own educational background and teaching experience, which includes graduate research as well as employment in public schools in both countries.
Bulletin of the Graduate School of Education, Hiroshima University. Part. Ⅲ, Education and Human Science
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Departmental Bulletin Paper
Departmental Bulletin Papers
Graduate School of Education