Table Speech

“New Generation Month” Meeting
“Dreams, Career, Self, and SocietyーFrom the practice of career education”

September 5, 2007

Mr. Shinnosuke Honjo,
First Principal of Yokohama Municipal HigashiYamada Junior High School,
Onbetsu Inc., CEO

Education in the field of occupational education and career counseling has been recently referred to as career education.

 When I was involved in an Internet job, I often wondered why people doing the same job using the same machines came to achieve differing results. I came to the conclusion that it is due to the manner in which the people involved do their job. In other words, “It is all up to people.”

With that on my mind, I wanted to become involved in a job relating to the development of people, in particular I wanted to become involved in school education and I switched my career to education in 2002.

 Commencing in the fiscal year of 2006, the Ministry of Education, Culture, Science, Sports and Technology designated November as the “Career Start Week Promotion Month”. In the junior high schools in Kobe, all students spend 5 days experiencing work in a company or a store. The current occupational curriculum in junior and senior high schools is made up of two pillars of lectures conducted by people who are active in the workplace and work experience (observation visits). The several days of experience are extremely stimulating for the junior and senior high school students. However, there were only two impressions after the sessions, “the job was fun” and “the job was hard”. It was too bad that it did not result in eliciting deeper thought about work.

Normally, career education begins with the question, “What is your dream?” Students respond that they want to become doctors, teachers, baseball players, or give the names of other occupations. The leader gives guidance on how to acquire the necessary knowledge and skills required for that profession.

I am somewhat skeptical of the equation that a dream equals a career. I wonder if dreams are different from a career. The wish to become well-respected, the wish to become wealthy, or the wish to become a kind person can all be said to be a dream.

I often ask junior high school students, what they want to be 50 years from now (when they are was 50 – 60 years old) and what they want the world to be like at that time. I think that imagining self-realization and social-realization leads to dreams.

 This August I conducted a “5 nights and 6 days work school” for the senior high school students nationwide. This was mainly a work experience to think about “why work and what is work?” through experience and learning. The experience-based learning has three foci.

1. To ask the rhetorical questions having no definite answers, “What is work, and for what purposes does one work?”
2. There is no teaching; the students think for themselves. Have students give presentations to have them express their thoughts.
3. Provide them with ample time and place to arrive at an answer.
 The learner will think about the following key words.
1. Work related to mineral water
2. For what objectives do your (parents) work?
3. Work in 1950 and work in 2050
4. 2 days of observing and experiencing an occupation
5. Self and society in 2050
6. What does work mean for you?
7. Dream, work, self, and society

 What new jobs will be available 50 years from now? In the answer, one will find the image of an ideal society that one expects.

During the session, 2 days of actual experience were conducted.

To girls who are senior high school students in the second year, when asked, “What is the purpose of your father’s occupation?” the frequent response was, “To earn money, for the family’s livelihood, to continue the shop”. However, through experiencing various programs, the answers begin to change.

On the last day they responded, “Work is to improve oneself. It is what connects people with people and with society. Through work people experience joy, have dreams and find value toward work (abbreviated), and whatever type of work, human interaction and giving joy to people are possible”.

 They were able to define the relationship among “dreams, work, self, and society” in their own words.

I have come to think that we should grow out of the career education that teaches methods of occupation selection, knowledge, and skills, and it is valuable to broaden a program that seeks, “What is work and how one is going to spend their lives.”

“Student Exchange Program with the Washington Rotary Club”

Mr. Hiromi Yagi,
Student of Kwansei Gakuin University

 I went to Washington from August 16 to the 31 as an international student under the student exchange program.
 During that period I experienced an internship in a non-profit organization, “Green Motion” for 10 days. At Green Motion, the Green Motion Project is currently under way. This project is to show the world the importance of environmental protection by touring the world in a car that runs on electricity and bio fuel, a new energy source made from corn, and to promote the understanding of bio fuels.
 Under this project, the car travels through 132 countries, originating from China in August 2008 and it will be completed in October 2010. I scheduled the leg in which the bio-fueled car would be in Japan. I translated media Internet sites indicating places to lodge, universities where speeches would be given, NPOs, companies and media and created a list of the addresses, Internet sites, mail addresses and telephone numbers.
 This was a lot of work but I was able to complete the entire task in 10 days. Through this work, I was able to get a feel for environmental issues and the direction of where the United States is heading.
 The people that I most wish to express my appreciation for this exchange program are Mr. Yukio Tada, Chairman of the Twin Club Joint Committee, the host family, who were gracious and kind in Washington, including Mr. Christopher Teras, and the people in both Rotary Clubs who put together the schedule for me.
 Also, this was the first time for me to visit another country on an internship, and it was a wonderful experience. It was different from going there for leisure, and I am greatly appreciative that I was able to spend a meaningful time there. Thank you very much.