Kitamura Yuto’s Lab

Main research themes

1. A Study of conceptual and assessment frameworks for sustainability education in postgraduate programs: Cases of GPSS-GLI and Lumes



A number of sustainability education programs in higher education are increasing with the growing concern towards sustainability in the global society. Sustainability Education (SE) program aims to train the individual as a change agent, who can identify, frame, process, negotiate and explore sustainable solutions to the wicked problems prevailing in the respective societies. SE is an emerging field of academia, which faces a diverse set of challenges from that of conventional education. The purpose of this study is to explore assessment criteria for outcomes of SE programs (identifying an assessment criteria matrix) and to find out if current learning and outcome of SE programs are aligned with the criteria determined in assessment criteria ( a comparative study of two sustainability programs by applying the assessment criteria matrix). GPSS-GLI in Tokyo University and LUMES in LUND University were explored in this study to determine the perception about sustainability education and how it is implemented in the program by assessing the learning output of the program students.

The results of the extensive literature review and semi-structured interviews to the faculty and experts stated certain criteria for sustainability education. The criteria identified are categorized in three dimensions, namely, transdisciplinarity (conceptual, methodological and collaborative measures), Competences based (Wiek et al. 2011 study key competences), and examination setting (educational setting and personal learning setting). The result of this three dimensional matrix assessment on GPSS and LUMES show that the conceptual understanding and perceptions of the faculty in each program is partially implimeted on the on-ground respective programs. In addition, although both the programs focus on sustainability education, both differ in concepts and methodologies they emphasize. Therefore, there is a need to identify a common ground for defining sustainable education to make the field recognizble in academia as well as in society.

2.  Multicultural education in a globalized context: measuring foreign students’ adjustment at international schools in Japan



As the total population of Japan is decreasing dramatically, the number of foreigners migrating to Tokyo is currently increasing. It is forecasted to continue like this even in 2030. Consequently, the number of foreign students enrolling at schools in Japan is also increasing, which makes it instrumental to study how foreign students adapt to schools in Japan. In the past as well as now, foreign students have been treated differently in Japanese public schools due to lack of Japan’s internationalization. This study will look at students’ adjustment in international schools in Tokyo as it is essential in understanding how to create a sustainable Japanese education system that meet the needs of all students. This will ultimately help in the creation of a sustainable Japanese megacity and community that can effectively work to mitigate the consequences of urbanization, which directly addresses Sustainable Development Goal 11.

In this study, it was found that effective engagement is a stronger indicator of student engagement than cognitive engagement. This was an expected outcome as effective engagement is more likely to be influenced by changes in the student’s residence. However, if cognitive engagement was found to be more significant in impacting student engagement, then it can be inferred that the school’s curriculum affects student engagement more than the relationship that the student has developed with their school. In this case, since effective engagement was found to have more influence on student adjustment, then the student’s sense of connection to their school should be questioned. The specific factors that led to this effect are analyzed in this work.