Why do teachers in Japan work long hours? : Comparison of job contents of primary school teachers in Finland
Motomura, Rin (2019)
Master's Degree Programme in Teacher Education
Kasvatustieteiden ja kulttuurin tiedekunta - Faculty of Education and Culture
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Recently, it has been an issue that teachers in Japan are working long hours. Most statistics show that teachers in Japan work more than 55 hours a week. While long working hours (LWH) may bring benefits, studies of LWH have revealed that LWH can deteriorate mental, physical, social well-being of workers. It is suggested that working less than 48 hours a week is desirable to lead a healthy life. On the other hand, in Finland, it is reported as an average teacher working time of only 37 hours a week. Why are Japanese teachers working such long hours? Which work contents teachers in Japan spend longer time compared to other countries have yet to be understood well. Furthermore, past studies on the work contents of teachers are limited to self-report from teachers, and only few continuous observation time-motion studies have been conducted to clarify teachers’ work. Therefore, this research set out to investigate what are the characteristics of teacher work in Japan seen in work contents and their distribution referring to teacher work in Finland by continuous observation time-motion study in elementary schools. Moreover, this research examined the implication of specific work contents to LWH of teachers in Japan and showed that teachers in Japan spend long hours for marking and work as a class/grade teacher. The work hours spent for these job contents by teachers in Finland was rarely observed. Thus, this research suggested that LWH of teachers in Japan may not be explained only by the efficiency of teachers’ work since there are job contents conducted only in Japanese school context. As such, this research also implies that the necessity of further research to investigate the social and cultural background and expected educational effects of educational activities which are mostly only observed in teachers in Japan to improve the situation of LWH of teachers in Japan.