TOKKATSU Educating the Whole Child

Course of Study for Tokkatsu: Elementary School (tentative)

I. Objective

Effective group activities aim at the well-balanced development of mind and body and the encouragement of individuality. Participation in the group helps build an active, positive attitude toward improving life and personal relations. At the same time, it should deepen each child’s attitude toward life and the ability to do his/her very best. (Translation from Tsuneyoshi ed. 2012, The World of Tokkatsu, translated by Mary Louise Tamaru).

II. Objectives and Contents for each Activity/School Event

[Classroom Activities]

1. Objective
Classroom activities aim at forming positive relationships and helping each to contribute in improving classroom and school life as a group member. They motivate pupils to deal with various problems and take action, and also to have a healthy attitude toward life.

2. Content
(Grades 1 and 2)
Using the classroom unit, teachers are encouraged to organize activities that help pupils form positive relationships with each other and make classroom life more rewarding. They should also encourage in pupils, a positive attitude toward their daily life and learning.
(Grades 3 and 4)
Using the classroom unit, teachers are encouraged to help pupils cooperate to make classroom life more rewarding. Teachers should also organize activities which encourage pupils to do their best in facing problems in daily life and their studies.
(Grades 5 and 6)
Using the classroom unit, teachers are encouraged to help pupils build relationships based on trust and mutual support, and to make classroom and school life richer and more rewarding. Teachers should also organize activities which encourage in pupils, a motivated attitude to do their best in dealing with daily life and their studies.
[Common Items]
(1) Creating a Classroom and School Community
* To solve various problems which come up in the course of classroom and school life
* To organize groups within the classroom and to share responsibilities
* To strengthen the quality of group life in the various groups in the school
(2) Adjusting to Daily Life and Studies, Addressing Health and Safety Issues
*To look to the future with hope and a sense of purpose
* To form good daily habits
* To develop positive personal relationships
*To help pupils comprehend the meaning of classroom chores (toban), such as cleaning, etc., and the importance of helping with this work
* Using the school library;
* To live in a way which is healthy and safe, both emotionally and physically
* To plan school lunches based on “food education” (shokuiku) and to encourage the development of desirable eating habits (2)

[Pupil Council Activities]

1. Objective
Pupil council activities aim at forming positive relationships and help pupils contribute in improving school life as a member of a group. They encourage students to acquire an outlook that enables them to be motivated in facing various challenges together and to put their thoughts into action.

2. Content
Activities by pupil councils in which all pupils of the school are members, aim to enrich and improve school life.
(1) Planning and management of the pupil councils
(2) Cooperative interaction in mixed-age groups
(3) Working together in school events

[Club Activities]

1. Objective
Club activities aim at forming positive relationships, and encourage the development of individuality. They help pupils acquire a motivated and active attitude to cooperate in contributing to the improvement of the club they are in.

2. Content
Clubs are composed of pupils, mainly 4 to 6th grade, from different grades and classes, who have common interest. Such activities give pupils from different age groups a chance to interact, and to enjoy activities they all like and take interest in.
(1) Planning and management of the club
(2) Enjoying the club activities
(3) Producing and showing results to others

[School Events]

1. Objective
School events aim at forming positive relationships and help pupils develop a sense of belonging and connectedness with others in their group and a sense of public spirit. They encourage pupils to be motivated and to work together towards improving the quality of school life.

2. Content
School events are composed of pupils from the entire school or from a certain grade, and provide order and variation. They provide pupils the opportunity to engage in experiences to enrich and promote the quality of school life.

(1) Ceremonial events
Ceremonial events give school life meaningful variation, and mark important turning points, provide pupils with the opportunity to experience both a sense of solemnness and freshness and help them to move onto a new stage of life.

(2) Cultural events
Cultural events provide the pupils the opportunity to display the result of their regular learning activities, help to motivate them further, and encourage them to take interest in culture and art.

(3) School Events Related to Health/Safety and Physical Education
School events related to healthy development, both physically and emotionally, and maintaining and promoting health, help pupils take interest in such matters. Events encourage pupils to understand how to act safely and follow common rules; they help pupils acquire a positive attitude towards exercising, and cultivate a sense of responsibility and togetherness, and contribute to better physical fitness.

(4) School Trips and Overnight Events
School trips and overnight events aim to broaden the experience of pupils, expose them to nature and culture, by placing them in an environment different from their ordinary living conditions, such as group overnight events out in the country. Such activities also aim to provide pupils positive experiences in communal life (e.g., the relationship with others), and public morals, etc.

(5) School Events Related to Work and Voluntary Social Service (3)
Such events aim to provide pupils with the opportunity to experience the value of work and the joy of producing something, and the opportunity to cultivate the spirit of voluntary social service (e.g., volunteering).

III. Developing Lesson Plans and the Contents

1. In developing a lesson plan, consideration should be given to the following points.

(1) When preparing the overall plan for tokubetsu katsudo and an annual teaching plan for each activity and school event, schools should be given the flexibility to be creative. Furthermore, plans should adjust to the needs of the classroom and school, and to the developmental stages of the pupils. Activities in which pupils can be motivated and carry out their own ideas should be encouraged. In addition, effort should be made to link contents with academic subjects, moral education, foreign language activities, and the period of integrated studies, as well as to coordinate with families and people in the community, and to make good use of social educational facilities, etc.

(2) During “classroom activities” and other activities, teachers should try to provide opportunities for pupils to think about how they want to live now as well as in the their future.

(3) During “club activities,” teachers are encouraged to take into consideration the needs, etc. of the school and community, and to incorporate the interests and orientations of the pupils in planning and implementation.

(4) Based on the objective of moral education listed in subsections I-2 of chapter 1 “general provisions” and in subsection I of chapter 3 on moral education, teachers are encouraged to consider the relationship between tokubetsu katsudo and moral education and other periods, and to provide contents which fall under subsection II of chapter 3 of moral education in light of the unique characteristics of tokubetsu katsudo.

2. In teaching the content listed in subsection II, consideration should be given to the following:

(1) Teachers should provide appropriate support, taking into consideration the characteristics of the instruction contents, so that pupils can effectively engage in motivated and autonomous activities during “classroom activities,” “pupils’ association activities” and “club activities.” Care should also be taken to coordinate the content. In addition, teachers should give plenty of opportunities for classroom discussions about how to improve the classroom community, enable pupils to make and to follow their own rules, and help the pupils form good human relations.

(2) For “classroom activities,” in light of the needs of the class, school, and pupils, challenges faced in building the classroom community (group), and developmental issues, as well as the objectives of moral education listed in 1-(3) of subsection III of chapter 3 on moral education, teachers are encouraged to focus on the key instructional content that are appropriate for the specific grade. In addition, depending on the needs, teachers can examine the relationship between contents and combine, or add other elements. Teachers are asked to provide quality classroom management, and deepen their understanding of each pupil; instruction should be rooted in mutual trust between the teacher and pupil and the contents should be linked to student guidance.

(3) Mainly the pupils of the upper grades manage the “pupil council activities.”

(4) As for “school events,” in light of the needs of the school, community, and pupils, teachers are encouraged to focus on the key events and their contents, depending on the type of event. Teachers should selectively focus by linking and integrating events. In addition, at the implementation stage, teachers are encouraged to provide rich opportunities for interaction between different age groups, as well as with toddlers, the aged, those with disabilities, etc. Teachers are also encouraged to provide high quality activities such as experiencing outdoor life or social experiences. Teachers should be imaginative in providing opportunities for children to analyze what they experienced, put their thoughts into words, and to present the results to each other, among other activities.

3. During entrance and graduation ceremonies, in light of their significance, the national flag should be exhibited and the national anthem should be sung (4)

(1) The translation above was one prepared for this homepage and not the translation by the Ministry. The original (in Japanese) is available at:
(as of Dec. 2012).
(2) Not part of the Ministry’s translation. Food education includes not only eating a balanced diet, but also knowledge of traditional foods, etc.
(3) There is controversy over the term “social service” (hoshi) and volunteering, the former seen as having a more compulsory meaning.
(4) There is an on-going political controversy over the contents of this section.