Autonomous Learning Derived from Learners’ “RITA” (i.e., Sense of Communicative Supportiveness)

By Ayako Hirano and Tsukasa Yamanaka.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences: Annual Review

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This paper discusses the value of a learning style, RITA-learning, in which learners manifest “RITA,” a Japanese word meaning an altruistic sense of supporting each other, in their communication. In Japanese education, three learning styles, namely self-learning, peer teaching, and RITA-learning, have been employed. Especially, self-learning and peer teaching styles are widely introduced in a classroom setting. In the style of self-learning, the range of learning outcomes is limited; in other words, it never goes beyond the learners’ capacity. Another learning style, peer teaching, is more effective in encouraging students than self-learning because it offers a learning environment in which learners support each other. However, in reality, this approach sometimes contributes primarily to helping teachers, when good students provide their knowledge to poor students. Besides, this approach only guides students to review what they have already learned and strengthened their memory, and they do not have a chance to create something else. In contrast, RITA-learning can enhance learners feeling of learning because one of its characteristics is guiding students to look for a way to contribute to peers’ projects proactively. RITA-learning also brings about unique group dynamics and cultivates students that are capable of self-directed learning. In addition, it can be the most functional approach to achieving an educational goal. These claims are supported by pragmatism, a theoretical framework, as well as the results of our practical implementation. Considering the limitations of self-learning and peer teaching, RITA-learning is more effective in enhancing learners’ feeling of learning. Lastly, this paper proposes how to implement RITA-learning in a coursework design.

Keywords: Self-learning, Peer Teaching, RITA-learning, Pragmatism, Rorty

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences: Annual Review, Volume 12, pp.1-11. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 729.506KB).

Ayako Hirano

Lecturer, College of Information Science and Engineering, Ritsumeikan University, Kusatsu, Shiga, Japan

Dr. Tsukasa Yamanaka

Associate Professor, College of Life Science, Ritsumeikan University, Kusatsu, Shiga, Japan