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Re-examining Japanese science education from a Mahayana Buddhism point of view

Otsuji, H. and Taylor, P.C. (2012) Re-examining Japanese science education from a Mahayana Buddhism point of view. In: 7th International Conference on Science, Mathematics and Technology Education, 4 - 7 November 2012, Sultan Qaboos University, Oman


Recently Japanese science education researchers have come under the influence of multi-paradigmatic research which has led some to rethink classical established theories of research practice. This has shifted the focus from content to research methodology. I, Hisashi Otsuji, was once deeply engaged in positivistic research using concept mapping, but am now one of those influenced by multi-paradigmatic methodologies. I am engaged in an auto/ethnographic doctoral research based on my personal upbringing within a Mahayana Buddhist background in which I investigate contemporary science education issues through my lens as a practitioner of pre-service teacher training. In the research I have explored hybrid Japanese Mahayana Buddhism which has been influenced by Chinese Taoism, and Zhuangzi, the original pre-sectarian Buddhism from India. Furthermore, I have investigated Japanese science education’s multiple theoretical layers including exploring the research interests abroad. In addition, using a survey I have inquired how the student-centered science classroom tradition has been influenced by Japanese Buddhism. I have reviewed relevant literature to identify hidden Buddhist elements in everyday classroom practice, such as ‘greeting’. I have furthermore drawn comparisons between the Japanese Buddhism concept of the Bodhisattva (a Buddha-like being) and the role of a science teacher. In this presentation I draw on my research to foreshadow a new direction for Japanese science education, arguing that being conscious of the cultural-self and positioning one’s profession culturally can lead to transformation and has the potential to sustain the individual, organization and society.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
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