Based on the ratification of the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and enactment of the Act for Eliminating Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities, development of an inclusive education system is an important national policy issue. During the fourth medium-term objectives period, it is necessary to conduct research which supports the steady promotion of efforts aimed at the development of an inclusive education system in local communities and educational settings. Therefore, this research will be conducted for a period of five years under the main theme “Comprehensive Research Related to the Development of an Inclusive Education System in Japan.” This research will contribute to promoting the development of a future inclusive education in Japan by showing remaining issues and future outlooks at the time an inclusive education system is developed in Japan while creating an assessment scale which allows for the visualization of results and issues related to local community based inclusive education system development, and use the assessment scale to verification purposes.
During the FY2016-FY2017 period, an inclusive education system development assessment scale (tentative plan) will be created by conducting a field survey related to inclusive education system development conditions both in Japan and overseas and related evaluation efforts.
Discussions are currently being held by the Central Council for Education aimed at the revision of Courses of Study. The Central Council for Education will compile a report in FY2016, and it is anticipated that a curriculum based on new Courses of Study will be fully implemented in FY2020 after a period of transition. Supporting the smooth implementation of the Courses of Study in the next phase is an important role of NISE. Therefore, this research will be conducted for a period of five years under the main theme “Comprehensive Research Related to Education Curriculums on Special Needs Education”.
This research will contribute to the smooth implementation of the Courses of Study in the next phase by conducting research on curriculums on diversity and continuity of learning environments based on inclusive education system development and showing how teaching in-school systems, designed to correspond to the educational needs of children with disabilities, exist.
During the FY2016-FY2017 period, the following efforts will be taken focusing on the continuity of learning through regular classes and special support service in resource rooms in regards to disabilities types which are subject to special support service in resource rooms: 1. Clarification of the position of special support service in resource rooms in curriculums, cooperation between related parties, and issues. Recommendations will be made regarding how to correspond with issues that have been clarified. 2. Organize points of view and educational accommodations in order to make use of special support service in resource rooms content in classes and in students’ daily lives, and create a educational manual.
Research for Understanding the Actual Conditions of Children with Autism Enrolled in Schools for Special Needs Education (for Intellectual Disabilities) and their Instruction
—Investigation of Teaching based on Educational Continuity Between Departments—
Although it is indicated that the number of children with autism in schools for special needs education (for intellectual disabilities) has increased, accurate information has not been obtained concerning the number of those students enrolled, severity of their disability, etc. since NISE has not conducted a related survey since 2004. In addition, since it is indicated that the number of children with mild intellectual disabilities enrolled in schools for special needs education (for intellectual disabilities) has increased, it can be surmised that the actual conditions concerning children with autism are diverse. Therefore, this research analyses results and issues of schools for special needs education (for intellectual disabilities) which either specialize in autism or implement a corresponding curriculum or class organization while grasping actual conditions (enrollment conditions, disability severity level, etc.) concerning children with autism enrolled in schools for special needs education (for intellectual disabilities). In addition, at each level from the kindergarten department to the upper secondary department of special needs schools, we will examine, based on educational continuity between departments, the actual conditions of children, how they are taught, and what kind of teaching is emphasized in each department. Based on the above, this research will investigate autism education expertise that should be provided to other educational settings, including classes for special needs education, functioning as a resource center of schools for special needs education (for intellectual disabilities). This research will put together practical studies on teaching in each department as case examples, distribute this information to boards of education, education centers, and schools for special needs education (for intellectual disabilities), contributing to the enhancement of teaching which corresponds to development level and improving expertise in autism education.
Practical Research Related to Teaching Content and Methods that Correspond to the Actual Conditions of Children for Which Special Support for Developmental Disabilities and Other Disabilities is Important
—Examination of Resource Rooms in High Schools
Special needs services in resource rooms play an important role in the education of children with developmental disabilities since they make it possible to provide individualized instruction. “Research on the Current Status and Future Form of Instructional Setting and Assistance for Children with Developmental Disabilities —A Focus on Surveys of Resource Room-based Instruction—,” a Specialized Research B project conducted during the FY2014-2015 research period, clarified the actual conditions surrounding special needs services in resource rooms conducted in municipalities by conducting a nationwide survey.
The utilization of the special needs services in resource rooms system will be started in 2018 as a way to also support upper secondary school students that need special support for developmental disabilities, etc. Special instruction will be allowed as a system for the first time in upper secondary schools for students with disabilities. This research will examine the development and enhancement of in-school support systems, which also include guidance counseling and cooperation with related organizations, system preparation, and other matters at the time special needs services in resource rooms are introduced to upper secondary schools, and examine the actual conditions of secondary school students that need special support for developmental disabilities, etc., as well as the teaching content, methods, etc. of independent activities and other efforts which are designed for each disability. Clarifying the teaching content, methods, etc. of independent activities for upper secondary school students with developmental or other disabilities shall provide knowledge regarding reasonable accommodation in upper secondary schools and contribute to the development and enhancement of an inclusive education system.
The Way of Organization of Education Curriculums Based Upon the Capabilities Required in the Future in Intellectual Disability Education
—Integration of the Aims, Contents, Methods, and Evaluation of Learning Activities of Each Subject Utilizing Active Learning—
In the field of education for children with intellectual disabilities, which centers on special classes and schools for special needs education, it is possible to organize education curriculums flexibly with a great deal of freedom. Therefore, as the conditions surrounding intellectual disabilities are varied, instructional goals and content are determined with important issues being the establishment of teaching methods which include active learning and examining how to proceed with evaluations thereof. In relation to this, the research project “Research on Policies to Promote Evaluation of Learning Activities systematically in schools for special needs education (for intellectual disabilities),” which was conducted during the FY2013-2014 research period, indicated that there are still issues remaining concerning promoting evaluation of learning activities systematically in schools for special needs education and development of curriculum management methods. It is necessary for schools for special needs education (for intellectual disabilities) to examine curriculum management based on the unification of learning and teaching goals, instructional content, and evaluation methods and put together case examples as a way to organize education curriculums based on attributes and abilities which need to be cultivated.
Therefore, this research will examine what types of creative plans and improvement policies are considered in educational settings concerning the unification of instructional content, methods, and evaluation methods for students to reliably obtain “attributes and abilities that need to be cultivated” focusing on the revision of Courses of Study. From the results of this research we will propose specific practical methods for active learning and ways to think about and promote curriculum management, and aim to popularize and make these approaches understood by teachers and other educational staff through principal associations and other activities.
Practical Research on the Role Played by “Language Classrooms” in the Development of an Inclusive Education System
—Utilization of Speciality of Speech and Language Disorder Education—
Due to the large number of children who have the aspect of language among their problems in the process of maturation that have appeared, language disorder education has played various roles as the entry to special needs education. Currently, language disorder education educators seek the role of developing an inclusive education system within schools and local communities while aiming to maintain and improve language teaching expertise. Therefore, this research will examine and set the role that language disorder education plays in the development of an inclusive education system from the point of view of utilizing language disorder education expertise. The results of this research will contribute to educational administration and classroom efforts through activities including giving reports at Teacher Conference of Resource Rooms for Children with Speech Disorder and Hard of Hearing, regional research conferences, and similar events.
International Comparison of Teaching Content and Methods for Children with Intellectual Disabilities in Inclusive Education Settings
—Based on Comparisons of Finland and Sweden with Japan—
Although the development of an inclusive education system is an urgent issue in the current world of education, knowledge is still lacking about effective teaching methods in inclusive education settings, where children with and without disabilities learn together, and group formation. In addition, in order to truly verify educational results, it is necessary to examine the educational results of both children with disabilities and children without disabilities.
Therefore, this research aims to search for effective teaching methods through international comparisons, comparing Scandinavian countries (Sweden and Finland), which are leaders in education and welfare related to children with disabilities and adults, with Japan.
As for the research method, field surveys will be conducted at Scandinavian elementary and middle schools and interview surveys will be conducted with teachers and other educators. The data from these surveys will then be qualitatively analyzed. Analysis will be conducted while also taking into account primary factors such as the education system and cultural background of each country, and specific information will be compiled regarding effective teaching content and methods for inclusive classes. This findings will be useful for teachers in the school setting since it deepens the implementation of exchange and joint learning with children with intellectual disabilities in Japan.
Research on the Development of an Inclusive Education System in Local Communities
—A Focus on Cooperation among Schools and Cooperation between Prefectures and Municipalities—
Policies which respond to situations and issues of local communities are necessary in order to make information critical for developing an inclusive education system indicated by the research of NISE effective in local communities. This research examines the policies for developing an inclusive education system in cooperative research communities. It is important to have community based approaches which examine the function of the community’s learning settings and maximize their utilization, mutual cooperation, sharing of knowledge and know-how possessed by related organizations and educational settings, and strengthening of systems in which prefectures support municipalities. There is a demand for finding a method to promote these factors in accordance with actual situations of local communities and issues surrounding them.
We will examine promoting measures in local communities through review knowledge built thus far, putting together regional issues and efforts, examining the situations of designated collaborative research on practices in local communities, implementation of promotion in local communities (workshops, etc.), and other efforts, and provide efforts which can serve as reference in the promotion of the development of inclusive education systems by each local community.
Research on Training Aimed at the Development of an Inclusive Education System
—Utilization of the “Inclusive Education System Development Training Guide”—
Further promotion of special needs education is necessary for leading to the development of an inclusive education system. The foundation of this is the enhancement of teaching and support which correspond to the diverse needs of individuals. Therefore, in addition to aiming for the improvement of the expertise of individual teachers, it is important to consider the development of a system allows each individual teacher to sufficiently demonstrate their abilities.
Aiming for the development of an inclusive education system, NISE created the “Inclusive Education System Development Training Guide“ in FY2012. The guide consists of examples of training measures for the acquisition of capabilities and abilities demanded by teachers by examining what are the capabilities and skills that serve as the necessary foundation for teachers. During practical research related to system creation conducted in FY2014, things which should be emphasized including matters related to fundamental environment establishment in schools, efforts for supporting reasonable accommodation, enhancement of education through the utilization of local community support, and education expertise were put together as content. Referencing suggested guides and way of thinking through prior research of these matters, we suggest plans and management approaches for training connected to the improvement of capabilities and skills of teachers through practical research.
Joint activity and learning provides serves as an opportunity for children with disabilities and children without disabilities to learn together, and serves as an important educational activity for positioned by fundamental environment establishment aimed at the development of an inclusive education system, etc. Although case examples have been examined through model programs with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology and other efforts conducted up to today, no research has been found which clarifies the conditions and issues surrounding national level implementation, examines from the point of view of an inclusive education system (standpoint of fundamental environment establishment, reasonable accommodation, etc.), or specifically examines the significance behind children with disabilities and children without disabilities studying together.
Therefore, NISE clarifies the actual conditions surrounding joint activity and learning through national and site surveys to recommend the approaches and the significance of joint activity and learning aimed at the development of an inclusive education system.
Research on Utilization and Evaluation of Educational Materials
—Improvement of Expertise in Teaching Using Tablet Devices and Community Support—
A MEXT report titled “Development of Educational Materials for Students with Disabilities” (August 2013) included the following: “In order to enhance learning aimed at the future independence of children with disabilities and their participation in society, it is important to effectively utilize educational materials based on conditions and specific characteristics of disabilities and provide appropriate guidance”. In addition, the Act for Eliminating Discrimination against Persons with Disabilities which was enacted in April of this year exemplifies the realization of reasonable accommodation which utilizes devices, including information and communication technology (ICT) devices. It is important to show specific methods for utilizing ICT.
Therefore, the goal is to clarify how to enhance the utilization of ICT devices for realizing reasonable accommodation as tools for the development of an inclusive education system. NISE plans to promote an inclusive education system by improving expertise related to the utilization of tablet devices at schools for special needs education and share those approaches with regional elementary and lower secondary schools. Furthermore, we plan to disseminate research results by posting case study information on portal websites and the website for designated collaborative research in local communities.