How will “Active Learning” education change in 2020?


Have you heard the phrase “Active Learning”? This type of learning is expected to play a greater role in the Japanese educational system in future years and there are already many books that have been published about the topic.

However, to much surprise, the phrase “Active Learning” has been deleted from the “New Education Guidelines” that will be followed from 2020. In this article, we will cover how the Japanese educational policy is expected to change in the upcoming years.


The definition of “Active Learning”

When the phrase was first introduced, the Ministry of Education put a lot of focus on “Active Learning” but in recent years, its definition of the phrase has become more and more vague. The phrase is currently used by some educators to describe a learning style where teachers simply walk around the classroom and by other educators to describe a learning style where teachers actively ask students questions. This has caused confusion about what the actual definition is. Although the Ministry of Education is not denying its original definition of “Active Learning”, they have recently changed their definition of the phrase to the following [deep learning in an independent-minded and interactive way].

The reason that the Ministry of Education deleted “Active Learning” from the “New Education Guidelines” is because the definition is vague and they believe that imported phrases do not belong in Japan’s guidelines. This is why they have changed the definition of the phrase.

How will education change in Japan?

From now on, Japanese schools will focus on encouraging children “to think” and “share ideas” rather than the current focus on memorizing and spitting back information. Currently, Japanese education consisted of a teacher standing in front of the room and teaching students which leads to a decrease in the enthusiasm for learning. As a result, students will now be expected to think for themselves and share their ideas and thoughts within the classroom.

Instead of teachers being expected to stand in the front of the room and talk they will be expected to interact with the students and observe how they are learning among their peers. Parents will want to choose teachers at extracurricular programs that understand how important it is for students to learn how to think and speak for themselves. Parents should choose teachers that think about learning from a student’s point of view instead of just continuing to speak in the front of the room.

Of course, memorization is sometimes important. So we cannot purely deny the importance of this learning style. However in this article we chose to focus on the importance of thinking for oneself and sharing one’s thoughts with others.