|Budget Amount *help
¥3,300,000 (Direct Cost: ¥3,300,000)
Fiscal Year 2004: ¥1,000,000 (Direct Cost: ¥1,000,000)
Fiscal Year 2003: ¥900,000 (Direct Cost: ¥900,000)
Fiscal Year 2002: ¥700,000 (Direct Cost: ¥700,000)
Fiscal Year 2001: ¥700,000 (Direct Cost: ¥700,000)
Helen Heffernan was the chief of the Division of Elementary Education, California State Department of Education. She visited Japan from November 1946 to December 1947. During her stay in Japan, she made a substantial contribution to the establishment of the Japanese elementary social studies.
However, there is as yet no full-fledged study about her theories on curriculum construction and problem-solving learning, especially about her contributions to the social studies in Japan.
As a result of fact-finding study, the following became clear.
In Japan, the elementary social studies was established when "Course of Study for the Social Studies I (Tentative)" was presented in 1947. This plan was based on Virginia State Curriculum Program in 1943. Virginia Program was a curriculum that adapted a new scope of framework named "Major Functions of Social Life". She came to Japan in the middle of the edition of the aforementioned Course of Study. So she requested to add "Illustrative Units of Work" at the end of the Course of Study, moreover, to publish "Course of Study for the Social Studies Supplement" based on the model after Californian Curriculum Programs. Californian Programs were curricular based on a conception of child-centered curriculum.
In the annex of "Illustrative Units of Work", she has presented concrete development of the units of social studies. By reading them, a number of Japanese teachers were able to understand how to design a unit of social studies and how children should learn it. Her theories were accepted by a large number of elementary teachers in Japan, because she presented an orthodox and concrete education method of social studies.
For the reasons stated above, "Illustrative Unit of Work" as well as "Supplement" became prototypes of the curriculm and instruction of social studies in Japan. In concequence, we must duly appreciate Helen Heffernan's work.