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Teachers' resistance: Japanese teachers stories from the 1960s

Reiko Kato, University of Massachusetts Amherst


The purpose of this study is to listen to teachers’ stories and reconstruct their classrooms in the midst of the global upheaval of people’s movements in the 1960s-70s through teachers’ narratives. The primary research questions are: How did social movements in the 1960s-1970s influence their teaching practices? What was their intention and how did they carry out their daily teaching practice? In the educational research field, narrative inquirers explore teachers’ stories, their life experiences and teaching practices, in order to understand how teachers view the world. I collected stories, through in-depth interviews, of ten Japanese teachers who taught in Japanese public school system, and were active in social and educational movements during the 1960s-70s in order to understand how teachers understood and resisted dominant oppressive forces which create and perpetuate social inequality. Teacher narratives were analyzed using two complementary methods: contents analysis and interactional positioning theory. First, stories of teachers’ struggles in their classrooms and schools were contextualized in a wider social struggle for humanity and a more just society, in order to explore teachers’ understanding of social oppression and their resistance, and multiculturalism in Japanese classrooms in the 1960s-1970s. Through their stories, an indigenous multicultural nature of Japanese classrooms was revealed, even before the multiculturalism became an imported educational topic in the 1980s. Furthermore, using interactional positioning theory, I discussed how teacher activist identities were constructed during the narration, at the same time, uncover how social stigma of being an activist possibly suppressed the participants overtly constructing an activist identity in narratives.

Subject Area

Educational sociology|Education history|Curriculum development

Recommended Citation

Kato, Reiko, "Teachers' resistance: Japanese teachers stories from the 1960s" (2010). Doctoral Dissertations Available from Proquest. AAI3427543.