Takashi MIYAZAKI, Professor, Faculty/Graduate School of Education
Takashi Miyazaki left the doctoral degree program at Hokkaido University’ s Graduate School of Education in 1986 and became an Instructor at the School of Education in the same year. He assumed his present post in 2005.
Adventure-like learning to overcome obstacles
School is not the only place for learning. There are various opportunities to learn in daily life and in the careers of working members of society. Prof. Miyazaki at the Faculty of Education specializes in social education and is absorbed in research with a focus on learning support. His approach is based on the idea that learning in line with the needs of the times gives people control over the direction of their lives. Specifically, his research is focused on the theory of learning support to help students overcome obstacle and achieve their goals. Prof. Miyazaki sees crises as opportunities, and believes that people do not need to think deeply when things go as expected. When things do not progress according to plan, people wonder why; this is the area in which there is a need to change the nature of learning. Things may no longer work when surroundings and social conditions change. Some people are petrified when confronted with an obstacle, but this can be seen as an opportunity to review tacitly accepted assumptions and try new approaches. Prof. Miyazaki argues that such experiences provide a new type of learning, which is also related to academic pursuits at university. He believes that whereas high school study involves efficiently and effectively solving problems proposed by teachers, university students need to identify problems themselves; this requires a more exploratory and creative educational approach that can be seen as adventure-like learning in a field of unknowns. Interview survey with a youth supporter at a youth support facility in Northern Ireland Youth support facility in Northern Ireland ( a downtown facility for practical training in hairdressing)
A starting point of research on deep-sea fish
Prof. Miyazaki’ s initial research interest was in deep-sea fish. When he was a first-year high school student, he was inspired by The Limits to Growth, a 1972 Club of Rome publication warning of a crisis threatening the very existence of humanity. This inspired him to engage in research that would help to address food issues in the future. His studies on
deep-sea fish were an extension of this research. When he began his studies at the university, Prof. Miyazaki realized that food crisis issues could not be addressed o n t he basis of natural science alone. While researching coastal fisheries, he focused on cooperative associations in the industry, which pay attention to both the market and people’ s livelihoods
and have a mechanism by which all stakeholders can reach a consensus despite conflicting interests. He came to focus his research on the learning processes of fishermen, who developed a new mechanism to use resources and fishing grounds in a way that sets an appropriate balance among people, nature and society when economic activities prioritizing market value had reached an impasse.
His current work on the theory of social education and his past research on deep-sea fish appear to be in wholly different fields, but his underlying ideas remain unchanged. He believes that the globalization needed in the true sense of the term involves human collaboration to build a society in which all people can look back and realize that their lives have been meaningful. Prof. Miyazaki proposes that learning based on the review of past assumptions is necessary, and that universities are places for such learning.
Eliminating fear of setbacks
Prof. Miyazaki believes that setbacks in life are nothing to be ashamed of. Anybody coming up against a wall should take a short break to consider their relations with society and then take a step further. This approach helps people to find a new way of life after the initial period of confusion. French poet Louis Aragon wrote that to teach is to talk of hope and that to learn is to pledge truthfulness in the heart. Prof. Miyazaki says, “What matters is where hope comes from. It comes not from within, but from relations with others.” He hopes to continue his pursuits in conjunction with students in order to help build a new society and a new world.