Empowerment through School Events in Japanese Education

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Proceedings of ‏The 2nd International Conference on Research in Teaching and Education

Year: 2020


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Empowerment through School Events in Japanese Education

Szymon Urbanowicz



This study investigates the potential of Japanese sports festival undōkai held at national schools for student empowerment. Undōkai is an obligatory event for all the students in formal education in Japan. It requires 1-month preparation and involves the entire school including teachers of all subjects, parents and members of local community. This research challenges the idea of establishing indicators for empowerment evaluation in education i.e. school projects or festivals based on the case from Japan. The research combines indicators for empowerment evaluation from education and community development while keeping in mind ideas of cross-disciplinary empowerment studies represented by different researchers with a focus on the idea that the result of takingaction by empowered-to-be subject is not important as both success and failure lead to improvements to their levels. Utilized methodology included observation, document analysis and cross-disciplinary literature review. Observation area consisted of 1 primary school in developing city area where fieldwork lasted 1 month and 1 high school in the countryside of the Western Japan with fieldwork between October 2018 and July 2019. It confirmed undōkai being an example of school festival built on the idea of cooperation and inclusion which structure is closely related to one of projects. It also showed that facilitation plays the biggest role in student empowerment, not necessarily the school level. School festivals provide space for implementing skills different than the ones used in everyday school activities such as: leadership, short-term goal setting and its execution with results noticeable in a relatively short time.

Keywords: Empowerment Evaluation; Facilitation; School Festival; Student Empowerment; Undōkai.

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Szymon Urbanowicz

Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation, Hiroshima University, Japan


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