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Ms MAKO MIYAJI profile picture
  • Student
  • IOE - Curriculum, Pedagogy & Assessment
  • UCL Institute of Education

I have three academic backgrounds: 1. Elementary School Education, 2. Positive Psychology, and 3. Cultural Geography in my undergraduate and master's degree. Currently, I am an MPhil/PhD student at the Institute of Education at UCL, specializing in Geography Education in CPA (curriculum, pedagogy, and assessment). 

I obtained my undergraduate degree (education) from Japan Women’s University, and transferred to Salve Regina University in the US as a psychology major student, after finishing my undergraduate. Because of the pandemic, I had to withdraw from the course, and then I worked in a university and after-school club in Japan for a year as a part-time job. After my first study abroad experience, I realised that I had focused on ‘human beings’ by studying education and psychology, but I need to consider human development in a relationship with the environment. As I have been thinking of the definition of ‘home’ for us, I studied Cultural Geography at Royal Holloway, the University of London for a year. In one year of master’s study, I learned ‘home’ means ‘sense of place,’ the emotional connection with a specific place.  My dissertation title was ‘the impact of hometown learning on children’s place attachment through analysing their drawings.’ 

Research Summary
Based on my findings in my master’s dissertation, I currently work on this research theme: the impact of education on children’s well-being. Especially, my research focuses on hometown learning in Japan, which is an inquiry learning that year 3 to 6 students experience in primary school in order to deepen their understanding of their hometown. In addition, my research interest lies in 1. how children nurture their relationship with their hometown in Fukushima, which still has a natural disaster risk in the near future, through experiencing hometown learning in nature in the school; 2. how children define their well-being in their relationship with nature. I plan to research my interest in this research title: the impact of hometown learning on children’s eco-capabilities in Fukushima, Japan. The eco-capabilities mean the capabilities with which people can define what well-being is, in their interaction with nature. Thus, I aim to attempt to find 1. how education, especially geography education curriculum can nurture children’s well-being and 2. how geography education tackles children’s mental health problems.
Teaching Summary

I have teaching certificates for primary (all subjects) and junior high school (society subjects). Although I have not worked as a full-time classroom teacher, I have rich volunteer and teaching support experiences in 6 different schools including both primary and junior high schools in Tokyo and Kanagawa prefecture in Japan, during my undergraduate. In addition to the experience in mainly primary school, I taught an online course for English classes in primary school for 6 months, practising the contents with students planning to become school teachers. 

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