Teaching controversial issues in Japan: An exploration of contextual gatekeeping

Thomas Misco, Toshinori Kuwabara, Masato Ogawa, Abigail I. Lyons


This qualitative case study sought to understand the extent to which Japanese high school Social Studies teachers grapple with controversial issues in their classrooms. Situated within a curricular-instructional gatekeeping framework, we conducted semi-structured interviews with eight respondents of varying backgrounds and schools in Okayama, Japan. The findings indicated that although the respondents believe they can teach controversial issues in their classrooms they generally do not because of specific contextual forces. Although we found controversial issue instruction to be generally moribund one respondent provided a rationale that reconceptualized exam preparation curriculum and instruction


controversial issue education, citizenship education

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