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The Meaning of Relationships for Student Agency in Soka Education: Exploring the Lived Experiences and Application of Daisaku Ikeda's Value-Creating Philosophy through Narrative Inquiry

Nagashima, Julie (2017) The Meaning of Relationships for Student Agency in Soka Education: Exploring the Lived Experiences and Application of Daisaku Ikeda's Value-Creating Philosophy through Narrative Inquiry. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation examines a pedagogy called Soka education that was founded in early 20th century Japan. Specifically, this dissertation offers an empirical and conceptual study that examines the application of Soka education in present day. After examining the historical and political context of Soka education, I explicate on Ikeda’s (1928 - ) interpretations of Makiguchi’s (1871-1944) Soka pedagogy and formulate a conceptual framework based on Ikeda’s philosophy of education. This study uses narrative inquiry as method of research to examine the lived-experiences of four graduates who have attended Ikeda’s Soka schools and who have become teachers. The stories, represented in biographical narrative vignettes, focus on the graduates’ experiences when they were students at the Soka schools and their experiences as teachers. This dissertation theorizes from the narratives and shows how students developed an epistemological agency. Students graduated with a strong sense of self and commitment to contribute to society. The narratives also reveal that graduates experienced a prepared environment at the Soka schools that included upperclassmen and underclassmen bonding, strong peer relationships, mentor and disciple relationship, teachers’ encouragement and support, school mottos, after school activities, school songs embedded with a distinct Soka value, and reading the founder’s speeches and messages. This environment formed a safe space where students willingly participated in a culturally specific phenomenon including persevering under any circumstance and aiming to live a contributive life. The environment was permeated with an ethos, specifically Ikeda’s philosophy of education, that emphasized a culture of care that was passed down and instilled through relationships. The graduates’ current classroom experiences reveal a sharp contrast between what their students experience and what the graduates experienced at the Soka schools. This difference further motivated the graduates to pass on the ethos they embraced at the Soka schools. Although the graduates experienced Ikeda’s philosophy through various relationships at the school, they valued the one-to-one teacher and student relationship as the underlying factor by which they can instill this ethos to their students. After a thorough discussion of the findings identified from the autobiographical narrative vignettes, implications are offered for future research, theory, and educational practice.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Nagashima, Juliejulie.nagashima@gmail.comjtn4
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGunzenhauser, Michaelmgunzen@pitt.edumgunzen
Committee MemberGoulah,
Committee MemberGarman, Noreenngarman@pitt.edungarman
Committee MemberChilson, Clarkchilson@pitt.educhilson
Date: 5 January 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 5 December 2016
Approval Date: 5 January 2017
Submission Date: 22 December 2016
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 254
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Soka education; Daisaku Ikeda; Tsunesaburo Makiguchi; culture of care; narrative inquiry; autobiographical narrative vignettes; narrative authority; caring relationships; teacher and student relationship; teacher-student relationships; mentor and disciple relationship; global citizenship; human revolution; student agency; epistemological empowerment; epistemological agency; safe space; prepared environment; relational epistemology; Japanese education; international education
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2017 21:09
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2017 06:15


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