Theory and Research for Developing Learning Systems Volume 3
published_at 2017-03

Developing mentoring programs supporting curriculum design by Japanese history teachers

Ishikawa Teruko
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The objective of this paper is the development and proposal of a mentoring program to help novice high school teachers of Japanese history build expertise for designing overall history curriculum. Learning history, and Japanese History B in particular, presuppose a chronological curriculum; thus, there are limits on the extent to which novice teachers can reconsider the meaning of learning history in their chronological history curriculum. Consequently, the support of a mentor can allow Japanese history teachers to continually reassess their objectives and reflect on their teaching, such that they can reconstruct their curricula, which have come to make the learning history itself their primary purposes.

The mentoring program proposed here is comprised of three phases: Ⅰ. Creating awareness of the practical purposes of one’s classes, Ⅱ. Increasing alternatives within one’s classes, and Ⅲ. Developing a meta-cognition of one’s own growth. There is a five-step mentoring process that is shared by these phases. This fundamental process is: ①Class observation → ②Surveys → ③Dialogs → ④Providing resource materials → ⑤Follow up. This mentoring program has been revised based on the results of a pilot survey that took a prototype developed by the author and implemented it with the collaboration with novice teachers in the same prefecture. The final version has also been adjusted following advice from colleagues and specialists. Since the repeated dialogs on “objectives”, which form the nucleus of the mentoring program, are carried out in an on-going process over a fixed period, it allows teachers to form critical consciousness of their own rationales of class, which they would not be able to do over the span of a single session. Hence, we can expect growth for these teachers, who serve as the gatekeepers designing their Japanese history courses, with an understanding of the issues inherent to a chronological history curriculum.

The significance of this paper is that it seeks to specify and visualize the aims of each phase of the mentoring process, which has been something of a “black box” to date. Furthermore, it is also possible to apply the diverse and concrete intervention methods in the mentoring program for Japanese history teachers to other subjects’ teachers, as well as guidance for student teachers.
This article translated into Japanese is published in the journal Gakushu Shisutemu Kenkyu, Vol.5.
Mentoring Program
Teaching Gatekeeping
Curriculum Design
Chronological History Learning
Copyright (c) 2017 Research Initiative for Developing Learning Systems