After studying the non-involvement approach of Japanese schools when children began fighting, results showed that it could create autonomy opportunities and foster ownership, suggesting a new strategy for handling children's difficulties in every country.
The teaching strategy Mimamoru is a portmanteau of the Japanese words mi (watch) and mamoru (guard or protect). The term "teaching by watching" is generally understood to mean that adults, including early childhood teachers, will deliberately permit children to deal with discrepancies themselves to promote learning via voluntary exploitation and action.
But, Japan's Early Childhood Education and Care Program (EECC) does not have an official part, it is considered an implicit guideline. The approach reflects Japanese practices of socialization at home and in school, and adults must expect children to respond to problems and guide them to learn.
Researchers said that insights into the Mimamoru approach could offer educators a fresh insight into disciplinary practices, especially in countries where direct intervention are given priority.
Maximize Learning by Minimising Intervention
Japanese and US teachers have highlighted the three main traits of Mimamoru -- temporary, minimal intervention -- in order to reduce the immediate risk of physical harm; failure to intervene or stay away from fighting for children to solve their problem; and failure to mark present or leave the child alone once determined that they can solve the dilemma without adult support.
During the experiment, 34 Japanese and 12 American early childhood educators took part in it and examined the non-intervention strategy using modified video-cued multi-vocal ethnographic methods. The teachers discussed non-verbal questions shown by students and teachers, and the timing of the speech after a three-minute clip in a private pre-school in western Japan.
The findings, published in the Early Childhood Education Journal, show that the Japanese approach of non-intervention sees conflicts as a valuable learning opportunity. The behavior of children can also be unknowingly judged as good and bad, which can have a negative impact on overall relationships.