Innovating Schools in Japan

Innovating Schools in Japan

Tokyo, JapanTokyo and multiple cities throughout Japan, Japan
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Writing and Reading Workshop enhances academic skills as well as emotional, social, and life skills to contribute successfully in local and global society.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The problem is that current Japanese education system is not placing the children in the center of the learning process. Basically, in the classroom what they do is just passively sit and stay quiet while listening to a teacher, copying notes from the black boards and memorizing them for tests. This current one-way method without hardly any creativity or group work activities is not developing intellectual/emotional/social/ life skills, broad potentials, and great talents that each and every child has. This current way of teaching/learning is certainly not preparing students for future citizens of our communities and the world who successfully contributes in society.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The solution is to apply Writing Workshop and Reading Workshop in every possible public and private primary schools as well as in high schools. Writing Workshop’s ~ we call “Authors’ Time” ~ main objective is becoming a real author. As being an author, students write, write and write most of the time, while gathering ideas for their topics and styles. Students write and proofread themselves, among other students and publish in the end. There is also a chance to make a presentation of their work. It is a very exciting workshop that students are fully engaged to writing since they can express what and how they want with interaction to improve each other. Students naturally acquire and develop their emotional skills (EQ) including empathy, personal and social skills by participating in Writing and Reading Workshops; especially peer-conferencing, editing, and giving feedback to the published pieces. This workshop will definitely prepare students to contribute successfully in the world.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

As Writing Workshop and Reading Workshop becomes popular and noticeable, it will expand throughout schools in Japan like a ripple effect. Radical improvement of learning/teaching that Writing and Reading Workshop serves will make a great difference on teachers and principles mindsets; they currently have no choice but to pursue the way of teaching that hasn’t been changed or improved for decades. We really have to reform their mindset to “Transforming Schools to Learn/Teach What Matters”. Or else Japanese education will continue textbook based one-way teaching, which confronted with difficulties in the development of global standard person. General peoples’ mindset would change as well so that “children will become the center of the learning” where currently children is basically a follower/copier. Through Writing and Reading Workshop, children can not only learn write and read effectively but also be able to develop their emotional, social, life skills and great potential abilities that each and every child has; which prepares them to succeed in the rapidly changing world. Step1: get teachers to experience Writing Workshop and Reading Workshop themselves. Step2: after experiencing this Writing workshop, teachers get excited and decide to practice it in their classes for students. We will backup teachers when they have difficulties and give any support when they needed in the process. Step3: simultaneously, spreading voices of this project to society by the media and campaigns in order to effectively reach as well as to engage teachers, schools and parents faster.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

The most two challenges to overcome with will be the current mindset of people who are not keen on making changes and take action for “Transforming Schools to Learn/Teach What Matters” and the unwelcoming atmosphere for teachers to implement new things in schools. There are no peers and competitors in the Marketplace. It is heavily controlled by the Ministry of Education; most principles and teachers are very serious hard workers although their way of teaching is hardly adjusted to each student's personalities, levels and potentials. They are stereotyped to cover textbooks is the only way to teach. We believe that it is essential for general public participate more and take action in education in Japan. Writing and Reading Workshop is a radical way to enhance student's possible ability.
About You
Project Workshop
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

Project Workshop

Organization Country

, 3, Tokyo

Country where this project is creating social impact

, 3, Tokyo and multiple cities throughout Japan

Your role in Education


The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with

Public (tuition-free)

How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

The information you provide here will be used to fill in any parts of your profile that have been left blank, such as interests, organization information, and website. No contact information will be made public. Please uncheck here if you do not want this to happen..

How long has your solution been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Now that you have thought out your entry, help us pitch it.
Define your company, program, service, or product in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

Writing Workshop and Reading Workshop offers radical learning and teaching processes in classes to transform schools in Japan.

Identify what is innovative about your solution in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

Writing and Reading Workshop serves academic skills as well as emotional, social, and life skills to contribute successfully in society.

Social Impact
What has been the impact of your solution to date?

Since 2008, Writing Workshop (“Authors’ Time”) has so far reached some 540 teachers to experience all over Japan and approx. 160 teachers are actually practicing it in their classrooms. Teachers reported that Writing Workshop could actually draw out and develop student’s potential abilities than they thought which wouldn’t be revealed if they taught in current one-way method (vise versa, meaning that current teaching method of writing is pulling back student’s ability). Students who do Writing Workshop demonstrated significant growth on intellectual ability, which they actually noticed they have improved their own writing skills. In addition, teachers acknowledge that students acquired emotional, social and life skills including cooperating, accepting others, listening to each other, showing empathy and caring for others, concentration, calming down, willing to improve themselves, problem solving, management and leadership skills. (Please refer to attached documents for further lists.)

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

The number of teachers participating in experience sessions for Writing and Reading Workshop is set at 2000. From our past experience, 1/3 to 1/2 of the participants implement in their classrooms. By expanding Writing and Reading Workshop in both public and private schools (especially elementary schools) in Japan, it will certainly giving the impact on developing students intellectual and potential abilities as well as emotional, social and life skills so that they will be able to contribute successfully in their next stage.
We believe that seeing those joyful students and teachers through Writing Workshop and Reading Workshop will create a soil of Japanese education system which set new mindset and open-welcoming atmosphere that willing to implement new effective methods in schools.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

There are three main barriers; expansion, finding teammates and funding.
First barrier is to raise the number of teachers who would experience Writing Workshop and Reading Workshop. We will overcome this by creating and launching effective promotional strategy for Japanese society.
Second barrier is to find efficient teammates especially who have marketing, branding, PR, funding, and creative background with showing empathy with us. In order to overcome this, is again to promote effectively in Japanese society and ask around actively.
Third barrier is lack of funding. Applying competition like ASHOKA’s is certainly an opportunity, asking companies for their CSR, and getting advise from consultant/strategist would be the possibilities to overcome this barrier.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Strategy is set to hold Writing Workshop once a month, 100 new teachers will experience and 30-50 new teachers begin to launch.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Find someone who can help us making a strategy to expand Writing Workshop and Reading Workshop as soon as possible.

Task 2

In May we will hold a Writing Workshop for 20 teachers. From then, we will be holding Writing Workshop once a month.

Task 3

Simultaneously, working out funding system by approaching funds, company CSR, and seek for collaboration campaigns.

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Gave social impact in Japan and reformed people mindset so that expanding rate increases rapidly. Up to 250 teachers launched.

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

The structures have been set so that workshop for teachers held constantly at least once a month.

Task 2

“Learning Together Center” is on action and people work together to expand and launch Writing and Reading workshops.

Task 3

Produce a documentary and or publish a book on Writing and Reading Workshop with students and teachers voices/interviews.

Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world [125 words]

I myself did not really like to learn in schools in Japan since most classes were taught passively and I was not in the center of learning. I liked to learn and express myself in art, drama, and dance because I enjoyed hands-on experiences, thus I became a designer.

But when I noticed about Writing and Reading Workshop, it gave me an “Aha!” moment; that learning process can actually be creative and be able to express myself! I just did not know how to learn that way. I realized that I disliked to “study” what I was told to do. Although, Writing and Reading Workshops will change the situation, which most students feel, by setting them in the center of learning and providing creative learning process. Innovative part is that everyone acquire skills to write and read while enjoying this workshop enhancing their emotional, social and life skills at the same time. I saw the vision of by applying these workshops is the solution to make change in the Japanese society as well as the world.

Tell us about your partnerships

We do not have partnerships as of now. We will contact marketing/PR/branding professionals, strategists, creators, and companies who might collaborate with us and or become partners.

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section? [75 words]

Especially following three areas are the keys for Project Workshop and have to work/collaborate with professionals in achieving our milestones; planning, expansion and funding.
It is essential for us to team up with marketing/PR/branding experts, strategists, creators in website/motion pictures/graphic design field and advisers in education field.

At the beginning, it would have to be a volunteer-based team until when we establish sustainable funding system. As we develop sustainable funding system and becomes financially available, some teammates might become staff or advocate members.

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list

Reading Workshop project has just launched, it is effective to do it with Writing Workshop simultaneously. (Also, it takes more time since teachers have to shelve so many books in their classrooms before launching.)

Since not every teacher can show interest in writing and reading, we are in the process of developing science workshop, history and geography workshop, and math workshop as well.