LAS Journal

Meet a Visiting Scholar: Yoshida Hisashi

LAS Education Research Center

LAS's Educational Research center reaches out to creative professionals in education—consultants, professors, and content specialists to name a few. These Visiting Scholars work on their own research projects alongside LAS faculty, learning, leading, and presenting their findings to the school community.

Our first Visiting Scholar was Yoshida Hisashi, former headmaster of our neighbor school, Kumon Leysin Academy of Switzerland. We recently reconnected with Yoshida to ask him about his time at LAS. Continue reading for the interview!

Tell us a little about yourself!

I started my career as a high school teacher (English) and for 18 years in Japan. During this period, I:    

(i) Was sent by the Ministry of Education in Japan (MOE) to the University of Essex in England to do research in teaching English.

(ii) Appointed by MOE as Head of the Guidance and Counselling Section of the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR), and served this institution (jointly managed by the three ministries of Japan) for two years to implement the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) program.

(2) Had a grad life at the Pennsylvania State University (University Park), and majored in the educational administration in the academic year of 1991/1992.

(3) Was hired by the Kumon Institute of Education in Japan and appointed as Principal of the Kumon Leysin Academy of Switzerland (KLAS, a baby between LAS and Kumon) in 1992. Enjoyed my stay in the Magic Mountain!

(4) Returned to Japan and started teaching & researching at the Obirin University in Tokyo in September 2001 (up until now).


What did you do while at LAS?

I stayed at LAS from October 2014 to February 2015, and frequently visited KLAS for my research activities during this period: visited almost all the buildings of LAS and the town information center for literatures, interviewed the founder of LAS and the members of the Ott family, local people. I summarized one paper, A Study on the International Education in the town of Leysin, Switzerland. I published the paper in Japan in March, 2015, which was introduced in the research department of LAS, and was also very briefly introduced in Spotlight magazine compiled and written by Paul at LAS.


Did you work with our students?

No, I didn’t. But, I interviewed a few of the IBDP students in the library areas in the fall and the spring semester. Also, I had a chance to talk with Kim Oppenheim, concerning students’ attitudes in the ESL classes. She allowed me to get access to the works of her students so that I could see if there was a certain level of correlation between students’ performances and their nationalities.


How was your experience at LAS?

That was a very fruitful and rewarding experience: I was able to study the history of the town where I had stayed and worked for approximately 10 years, and the summary on the development of the international education in Leysin had given an opportunity to many school administrators in Japan to recognize how an alpine resort in Switzerland has developed into a great international town, and how an important role the founders of LAS had played after 1943 (after the streptomycin was discovered). 


How would you describe our school and community?

LAS prides itself on change, I believe. LAS acquired the Grand Hotel in 2008 and renovated it as its main campus (Belle Époque). Dr. Steven Ott states in A School for the World (2010) as follows: "it is a unique building, historical and phenomenal. Most of all, Belle Époque is both the culmination and extension of our school’s mission." I am sure thanks to the arrival of this ‘new’ campus, LAS has been able to provide students with stronger programs both academically and socially, which is certainly vital for the further success of LAS.


What have you learned?

While talking with the LAS administration staff, I recognized the importance of mixture of unchangeability and openness to new changing things in our present human society. ‘Moulding of the moral character’ and teaching knowledge/skills through education are essentials, however, schools need to change approaches and teaching methods in educating students who live in the future.


Did you relate with our school values?

If we agree with each other, a vision is an image we hope to be in the near future, missions are what we have to achieve towards that vision from now on, and values are school culture or sense of values in our school community, then I would say your research department and the admin team had been making daily efforts to establish positive and professional values. It was very nice for me to have been able to perceive this atmosphere at LAS.

If we have a vision that students will be contributing to creation of world peace in the future (vision), your missions are developing innovative, compassionate, and responsible citizens in the world. Then, we definitely need a positive and professional faculty group and good support teams within our school. This is an ongoing effort to any school, I am sure.

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