Do what we can do to end preventable deaths and save lives
World Vision Japan
Ms. Kae Miyazaki
This months Close UP features the Development Education Association & Resource Center, or DEAR. Formed in 1982, DEAR is a nonprofit governmental organization which aims to prevail and promote development education, an educational activity to teach people how each of us understand global issues, such as poverty, conflicts, and environmental destruction, as our own problem and take necessary actions for them. By developing educational materials, sending instructors to schools, and organizing seminars and workshops, the organization has been continuously providing people from various backgrounds with a place to learn how to make themselves connected to the world. For this interview, we talked to Kae Miyazaki, a staff member of DEAR, at its office in Koishikawa, Bunkyo City.
Can you tell us more about “development education”?

At DEAR, we define development education as to teach how to understand various developmental issues, to think of better development for the future, and to participate in a fairer global community in which everyone can live together.
Kaihatsu Kyoiku is a Japanese word directly translated from the word “development education.” In Japanese language, kaihatsu (development) is often used to indicate an action of demolishing the old for modernization, in such words as keizai kaihatsu (economic development) and toshi kaihatsu (urban development). However, the origin of the word “development” is “de-envelop,” which means to open and take a thing out from an envelop. This is how we at DEAR see what kaihatsu really means; it is about bringing out people’s potential to create a society where each one of us can fully exercise such potential.

We understand that methods of learning really matter in development education.
Source: D. Selby and G. Pike
”Perspectives on childhood an activity file”
The most important thing is that the method of learning matches the goal of learning. For example, as in an illustration, if a teacher tries to teach democracy to students while he refuses to listen to their opinion, it is most unlikely that the students will practice such a democratic attitude that they learned from the teacher in the class. To learn about democracy, they should learn it in a democratic way. For development education, its goal is to have people participate in creating a fair global society, so in teaching development education, students should be participating in the process.
Please explain about characteristics of participatory methods.

In participatory methods of learning, the central focus is on participants themselves. While exchanging opinions through group work, the participants are led to structurally understand the current condition and causes of global issues and to consider how they want to make changes in society. There are no fixed answers to these questions. A facilitator of the lesson plays a role in encouraging participants to speak their opinions and feelings and to advance their learning. I especially work hard to help learners “realize” the point by themselves.

Exchanging opinions between all participants Ms. Miyazaki leading a workshop as facilitator

For example, when we are working on a garbage issue, I don’t just show them data of how much trash is produced today to tell them we need to reduce it. Instead, I use photos of food items that a typical family consumes in a week and visually shows how much and what types of trash are generated from those foods. I also ask the participants for what purposes those trash pieces were originally used before being disposed. Through this process, the participants are given a chance to discover causes and backgrounds of why such refuse was created. By connecting the garbage issue to their everyday life and enhancing their understanding, the participants are led to think how the garbage can be reduced, what changes businesses should make, and what choices consumers should make to improve the issue.

Listing types of trash yielded from food products
To what do you pay your most attention when you are making teaching materials?

I think the key to creating the teaching material interesting is to give participants a chance to get a real feeling. Using photos is one way, but I sometimes incorporate a game called “trading game,” in which each group of participants acts as a country and simulates producing and selling products to make money. Each group is given different conditions in resources, technologies, funds, and such. Just as what has been happening in the real world, the group acting as a developing country won’t be able to win the game even they work their hardest. Instead, the participants will directly witness that the gaps between industry and developing countries continue to widen.
“Lifetime of Cell Phone,” “Story of Palm Oil,” and “The Other Side of Coffee” are some of the teaching materials we have created by focusing on products that are familiar to us. Learners role-play and experience issues that people in a country from which these products come are facing. In addition to understanding what the material says, the participants are guided to experience different situations of different people, find connections between their daily lives and the world, and consider what they may be able to do in reality. Since it’s goal is to make the learning directly lead to real actions, development education particularly stresses the importance of understanding from experiences.

Best sellers of development education teaching materials
© Development Education Association & Resource Center/DEAR
How do you feel about the current acceptance of development education at schools?

It is difficult to measure how much development education is being understood and adopted at schools. However, I feel that the number of teachers who want to teach international understanding and cooperation in their class is increasing. I always receive comments from participants of seminars and events that they have been looking for teaching materials like ours, or that they didn’t know about development education before but would like to include it in their curriculum in the future. We have received a number of inquires and orders about our teaching materials from teachers who are getting ready for a new semester before the summer break is over.

Do you accept participants other than school teachers in your workshops and events?
People with various backgrounds gather
at a workshop
Participants of our events and workshops are not limited to school teachers but come from various backgrounds, including professionals, students, and housewives. For those who are new to development education, we regularly offer a beginner’s workshop. Volunteers are always welcomed, so please contact us if you are interested in being a part of our activities.
We understand that some people, especially those who are not school teachers, may feel that development education sounds a little complicated to them. For us, however, development education is a movement in which anyone can join to make changes in our society. If you are a mother of children, you may become interested in agricultural issues or a network between local producers and consumers as you have some concerns for food you give to your children. You may have already discussed the topic of your interest with your family members or friends. If so, you have taken an action and are already practicing your own efforts to promote development education. The important thing is that you realize the issue by yourself and are motivated to make our society better.
Tell us about your future goals and areas you want to strengthen.

Originally, development education started as an effort to understand poverty in developing countries. Today, our goal is more towards issues close to ourselves. More people will be interested in problems in their own community and will be proactive in becoming involved in part of the efforts. In fact, those community-based local issues are often connected to much larger, global-level problems.
DEAR is one of rare international cooperation NGOs whose purpose is to educate people in Japan. We understand that we have been expected to act as a model for other organizations as well. As a next goal, we would like to make tighter relationships with other international cooperation organizations and continue to practice citizen education in a larger frame.

Before the interview, our interviewer was invited to join a workshop and experienced the participatory-method seminar that used "Let's learn through pictures 'Hungry planet': Activity 10,"a new learning material issued by DEAR this summer. This book contains photographs of 30 families from 24 countries around the world, each captured with food items that the family consumes in a week, along with a study plan guidebook.
© Development Education Association
& Resource Center/DEAR
Colorful pictures on a board
In this workshop, participants compared pictures of different families and discussed wastes that can be generated from the items each family eats. Everybody was astonished to learn how much amount of trash was produced from the dining table of the Japanese family in the book. We continued discussion about why such amount of trash was produced. In a group work, participants with different jobs and ages exchanged their opinions, inspiring each other with unique viewpoints.
Starting with a topic of foods that are eaten by different families, the workshop gradually moved its focus towards global environmental issues. This material and its pictures, however, can be applied to various approaches to a wide variety of issues, such as those about cultural diversity or any food-related problems. Colorful pictures are all beautiful. Both children and adults should enjoy this “Hungry planet: Activity 10” as a fun and inspiring learning tool.
At workshops
A wide variety of teaching materials for development education are published by DEAR. For more information about the publication, please visit the organization’s official website.
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