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Issues in Educational Research, 2020, Vol 30(4), 1522-1538.
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Japanese elementary school teachers' professional experiences of long working hours

Takahiro Sato
University of Tsukuba, Japan

Shannon Mason
Nagasaki University, Japan and Murdoch University, Australia

Chie Kataoka
University of Tsukuba, Japan

This study is an in-depth investigation of the experiences of a small group of elementary school teachers in Japan, who have among the longest working hours in the world. A total of eight teachers from four public elementary schools volunteered to take part in this study. Its design is descriptive-qualitative, using an in-depth, semi-structured interviewing approach which is well-suited to understanding complex academic and social phenomena. Through field visits and interviews, a number of demands were identified that place considerable stress on teachers, all of which relate to extra-curricular expectations beyond the core roles of planning, teaching and assessment. Few resources are available to help cope with these demands, leaving teachers overwhelmed and exhausted, and frustrated as they have little recourse to affect change. The findings should serve as a warning of the risks to teacher well-being.
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Authors: Takahiro Sato PhD, CAPE is a professor and chair of International Development and Peace through Sport Masters program at University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan. His scholarship and research focus is on Japanese education, multicultural physical education, disability studies, adapted physical education professional development, and diversity in higher education.
Email: sato.takahiro.gf@u.tsukuba.ac.jp

Shannon Mason PhD is currently assistant professor in the Faculty of Education at Nagasaki University, Japan, and also adjunct senior lecturer, Murdoch University, Australia. Her research activities in education cover a range of themes with a central interest in the lived experiences of beginning and established teachers and the policies, processes and practices that influence them.
Email: shan@nagasaki-u.ac.jp

Chie Kataoka PhD is an assistant professor of University of Tsukuba, Ibaraki, Japan. Her research focuses on youth risk behaviours among Japanese adolescents such as cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking, drug abuse, risky sexual behaviours, violence and self-harm behaviours. She also researches to improve health classes.
Email: kataoka.chie.gb@u.tsukuba.ac.jp

Please cite as: Sato, T., Mason, S. & Kataoka, C. (2020). Japanese elementary school teachers' professional experiences of long working hours. Issues in Educational Research, 30(4), 1522-1538. http://www.iier.org.au/iier30/sato.pdf

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