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Research Method

In 2013, the author compared and examined debate-focused courses held in two universities located in Aichi, central Japan; details of the courses are as follows.

1. “Enshu 1” (Seminar 1), a first-semester course, was taught to thirdand fourthyear students at Sugiyama Jogakuen University's Department of Human Sciences.

2. “Introduction to debate,” a first-semester course, was taught to secondand third-year students at Aichi Shukutoku University's Faculty of Global Culture and Communication.

3. “Introduction to debate,” this time a second-semester course, was taught to secondand third-year students at Aichi Shukutoku University's Faculty of Global Culture and Communication.

By studying these classes, the author hoped, first, to elucidate how students understanding of the debate issue—the disposal of high-level radioactive waste— would be affected by the lessons; and, second, to assess the effectiveness of debating classes on issues related to natural science facing modern society. In addition, students completed a questionnaire, “Fundamental Literacy for Members of Society” (2). Through analysis of the results of this survey, the author sought to gain new insights into methodology to promote a deeper understanding among students of issues facing modern society.

The course as listed here had four main features. First, the theme of the debate was announced at the beginning of the course. Second, rather than having students choose the subject for debate, the topic was assigned to the students. The fact that the topic was a science-related one was the third feature of the course. Because the students were from a humanities/social sciences background, their basic knowledge of science was, on the whole, rather limited. Because there was some concern that students would not be able to cope with debate, efforts were made to deepen students' understanding of the issues involved before the actual debating contest. For example, Hajimu Yamana, professor at the Kyoto University Research Reactor Institute (KURRI), and Tomohisa Kakefu of the Japan Science Foundation were invited as guest speakers, and students also visited the Mizunami Underground Research Laboratory and the visitor facilities at Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station. The fourth feature of the course was, therefore, that students were not left to research the topic by themselves, but were supported by, for example, being given the opportunity to listen and talk to experts. In addition, there was an element of experiential learning incorporated into the course in the form of, for example, the visit to Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station just mentioned.

Outline of the Courses

(a) “Enshu I” (Seminar 1) comprised the following lessons: Lesson 1: Orientation

Lessons 2–5: Discussion of selected readings from a 2009 book (“Buraika Suru Onatachi” [The Making of the Rowdy Women]) that was unrelated to the theme of the debate.

Lessons ~6–8: Entitled “Introduction to debate,” these lessons covered the theory and practice of debating, including debating techniques.

Lesson 9: Visit to Mizunami Underground Research Laboratory.

Lesson 10: Lecture on “High-level radioactive waste” by Hajimu Yamana (see above).

Lesson 11: Lecture on the geological disposal of radioactive waste by a

member of staff of NUMO (the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan).

Lesson 12–13: Preparation for debate. Lesson 14–15: Staging of a debating contest.

In addition, during the course (on June 29, 2013) students toured visitor facilities at Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station in Shizuoka Prefecture.

Yoshida [2] (Yoshida, A. 2014:123)

(b) “Introduction to debate” comprised the lessons shown below. Lesson 1: Orientation

Lessons 2–5: Entitled “Introduction to debate,” these lessons covered theory and practice of debating, including debating techniques.

Lesson 6: Lecture on the geological disposal of radioactive waste by a member of staff of NUMO (the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan). Lesson 7: Lecture on “High level radioactive waste” by a guest speaker,

Hajimu Yamana, of KURRI (see above).

Lesson 8: Focus on geological disposal of radioactive waste Lesson 9–10: Students engaged in “communication training.” Lesson 11–12: Preparation for debate.

Lesson 13–15: Staging of a debating contest.

During the course students were taken to Mizunami Underground Research Laboratory (June 22) and to the visitor facilities at Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station (June, 29).

Yoshida [2] (Yoshida, A. 2014:123)

(c) The second semester “Introduction to debate” course comprised the following 11 lessons:

Lesson 1: Orientation

Lessons 2–3: Entitled “Introduction to debate,” these lessons covered the theory and practice of debating, including debating techniques.

Lesson 4: Visit to Hamaoka Nuclear Power Station in Shizuoka Prefecture.

Lessons 5–6: Entitled “Introduction to debate 2,” in these classes students participated in a model debate and watched a DVD of the debating competition held in the first semester.

Lesson 7: Lecture on the geological disposal of radioactive waste by a member of staff of NUMO (the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan).

Lesson 7–8: Students engaged in “communication training.”

Lesson 9: Tomohisa Kakefu gave a talk on radiation, which incorporated demonstrations.

Lesson 10: Lecture on the geological disposal of radioactive waste by a

member of staff of NUMO (the Nuclear Waste Management Organization of Japan).

Lesson 11: Visit to Mizunami Underground Research Laboratory.

 
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