The Effectiveness of Service Learning Practice for Teacher Education in Japan:
Keywords:Service Learning, pre-service teachers, teacher education, “Houshi”
This study presented practices based on Service Learning that gave pre-service teachers ideas about the significance of Service Learning and the challenges that exist. They made lesson plans for “Houshi” (=Service) and conducted them in a high school in Tokyo’s public school system.
Service Learning is one of the effective methods in which students improve their academic learning and develop social and civic skills through structured service activities that meet the needs of the community. Service Learning was introduced to Japan in the 1990s. Educators in Japan are interested in the application of Service Learning in grades K-12, and also in some colleges and universities in Japan. However, the introduction of Service Learning into teacher education programs is relatively new in Japan.
The study particularly focuses on these three questions: (1) What impact does the project have on teacher development?; (2) What challenges exist in overcoming the difficulties in the ongoing Service Learning project?; (3) What are the positive results of the experience?
According to the study, in order for this program to succeed, it is important for the students to be given responsibilities, to understand social and educational values, and to develop a spirit of teamwork. The introduction of Service Learning in teacher education fosters teacher's abilities and teaching skills, and gives them a sense of personal growth. They can incorporate these ideas and methods from their experience of Service Learning after having after become teachers. The teachers will be encouraged to be leaders in introducing these concepts of Service Learning in their schools.