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Impact of returning children from overseas upon education : some comments on psychological studies of returnees from the standpoint of "Internationalization" of Japanese schools(<Special issue>Psychological problems of children returned from overseas)

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  • 帰国子女のインパクトと日本の教育 : 「帰国児を生かす教育」の視点から(<特集>海外帰国子女の心理学的課題)
  • 帰国子女のインパクトと日本の教育--「帰国児を生かす教育」の視点から
  • キコク シジョ ノ インパクト ト ニホン ノ キョウイク キコクジ オ イカ

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Abstract

More than 10,000 Japanese children return to Japan every year after long sojourns abroad. While these children have the advantage of cross-cultural experiences and increased intercultural communication skills, they tend to be handicapped in competing for places in high schools and colleges due to differences of educational experience and lack of preparation for entrance exams. In order to compensate returnees for these handicaps and to help their smooth re-adjustment, various attempts at organizational reforms on behalf of returnees have been made. These attempts, in turn, have affected the existing system of education by altering admission policies and school programs, which otherwise might not have been carried out. However, many returning children still find difficulties in being fully accepted by their classmates, especially when conformism predominates in the environment. This is basically due to the very monolithic concept of "what is Japanese." In Japanese society variant behavior is discouraged and variant types of Japanese persons having different cultural backgrounds offen suffer as a result. Under such circumstances the returnee often chooses, as a survival strategy, to behave as if he/she is a well adjusted "normal Japanese, " while struggling with the internal "true self." This suggests that we need to make a conceptual distinction between "external (or superficial) adjustment" and "internal (or true) adjustment" in the psychological study of returning children. Also, we need to expand our ideal images of Japanese so as to accommodate acculturated Japanese, which may be a prerequisite for participating in the modern international world.

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