Home Events Learning Crisis (1): School Closure and Learning Crisis of Special Education by COVID-19 (On Demand: Recorded)

Learning Crisis (1): School Closure and Learning Crisis of Special Education by COVID-19 (On Demand: Recorded)

Main Topic: Education, Teaching and Classroom Practices
Session Type: Paper


The COVID-19 pandemic has created the largest impact on all learners, especially students with disabilities. In Japan, all schools are asked to close to prevent the coronavirus’s spread in February 2020. The Japanese government made a sudden shutdown of all schools at the beginning of April, although April is the new school year’s timing in Japan. Under the pandemic, some schools decided to extend school closure till June. During the closures of schools, some online educational content was supplied. However, little online content was designed for children with disabilities. Adjusting educational environments and encouraging children to learn, an essential part of special education, faced a serious challenge. COVID-19 pandemic caused a “Learning Crisis” for children with disabilities, which deprived them of their learning motivations and chances of keeping to learn. Counter Learning Crisis Project planned to survey 1153 special education schools (schools for the Intellectually Disabled, the Physically Disabled, and the Health Impaired, the Blind, the Deaf) in Japan. We have four parts in the questionnaire; part one focused on the influence of long-term school closure, the second part is a question about the conditions after reopening school, the third part contains questions about conducting a class on each subject, the last part is about the impact on children and family. Questionnaires were administered from the last of August till the middle of December. (Recovery rate is 16%) During school closure, 58.7% of schools tried to implement online support. However, whether implemented or not implemented, almost all schools experienced a shortage of internet access infrastructures neither in schools nor at homes, dis-communication between school teachers and staffs. Implementation of online support depended on a human resource that enables to make actions for something break through the situations. The reopening school timing was considered to have been affected by the school’s locations, types, and size. After reopening the school, teachers had to manage classes by making physical distancing, mask-wearing, temperature checks. Students could not sing in music class because of infectious disease prevention, and the foreign language class did not contain the activities of communication. Most of the learning opportunities off-campus, like school excursions, were canceled; these decisions disappointed many students. In this questionnaire, teachers pointed out that there were difficulties in making collaborative experiences and taking an alternative way of practical learning, and they experienced a dilemma between student health and learning. 88% of the respondents answered they had tough challenges because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some teachers worried about children’s inner impact, who normally keep daily life and adapted to “New Normal,” though suppressing assertiveness. Moreover, online support would allow have shown an alternative way for distance learning for children with disabilities, but there has been serious inequality in internet accessibility. Highly individual continuous support is essential for learning by children with disabilities. To counter the Learning Crisis, Manakiki suggests that students with disabilities need continuous attentive supports and cultivate good relations in the community and society under the “New Normal” life.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this session, participants will:

  • Grasp the trend in the Japanese Learning Crisis impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Talk about tough challenges in special education brought by the COVID-19.
  • Discuss serious problems in conducting classes in schools under the “New Normal.”
  • Notice the inner impact on students.
  • Have a chance to consider how to counter the Learning Crisis.

Keywords: Counter Learning Crisis Project, COVID-19, special education, school closure, Manakiki

View the Session: https://community.pacrim.coe.hawaii.edu/groups/4189398/feed


Feb 23 2021 - May 01 2021

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Feb 23 2021 - May 02 2021
View the Session: Virtual Space


  • Dr. Yoshimi Matsuzaki
    Dr. Yoshimi Matsuzaki
    Tsuda University - Associate Lecturer

    Tsuda University

    Yoshimi Matsuzaki, Ph.D., is an associate lecturer at Tsuda University, specializing in medical sociology, emphasizing mental health and social inclusion. She has begun research for reasonable accommodation of reading accessibility (RARA), aiming to examine and consider better accommodation to learn and understand reading material deeper. Since 2020, she has engaged in the project, Research Inclusive Assistant (RIA), which focuses on assistant training to make inclusive accommodation for researchers with disabilities. Furthermore, she is in charge of the office in the Counter Learning Crisis Project, and she manages “Manakiki” (https://learningcrisis.net/), the website for students with disabilities.

  • Kuniomi Shibata
    Kuniomi Shibata
    Tsuda University - Associate Professor

    Tsuda University

    Kuniomi Shibata, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Tsuda University and specializes in assistive technology, especially focusing on information technology for persons with disabilities. Currently, he is in charge of support programs for students with disabilities and is the director of the Inclusive Education Support Division, also the president of the “Counter learning Crisis Project” (Manakiki) https://learningcrisis.net/.