This paper outlines latest curriculum reform in moral education in Japan with specific reference to the qualitative changes in teaching and learning methods in moral class. Japan has traditionally fostered a wholeschool approach to moral education with a class for Moral Education at its core.
After much discussion and debate regarding the effectiveness of the Moral Class in schools, Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) decided to upgrade the status of the Moral Class by introducing “Moral Class as a special subject”. The Course of Study was revised in March 2015 and will be implemented in elementary and junior high schools, starting in fiscal years 2018 and 2019, respectively. The new curriculum standard made reference to the importance of nurturing in children the competencies to collaborate with people with different views, to tackle challenging problems and to create a better society and well-being of their own. To meet these objectives, the new subject puts emphasis on “independent and interactive deep learning” which encourages children to think reflectively and discuss with others from various perspectives. Recently MEXT updated the guideline of evaluation and calls for developing intra-personal evaluation in a descriptive style focusing on the learning process of each children. As teachers are less familiar with this type of evaluation, consensus building and systematic initiatives in schools are required to ensure this new subject in school.