Degree Name

Master of Education (Research)


Faculty of Education


There is evidence that behavioural problems related to students in senior high schools have increased markedly since the mid-1970s (Numano, Nagata & Abumiya, 2002). This situation raises concerns for the emotional well-being of these students. A number of authors (e.g., Bernard, Stephanou & Urbach, 2007; McLaughlin, 2008; Vialle, Lysaght & Verenikina, 2005) suggest that senior high school teachers in Japan are in a position to support young people’s emotional well-being. However, it is unclear whether teachers view this as part of their role and whether they have the knowledge and skills to support their students effectively. This study investigates these issues by exploring the perceptions that Japanese senior high school teachers have of teachers’ roles in promoting the emotional well-being of their students.

The study focused on six Japanese senior high school teachers in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. A qualitative, hermeneutic phenomenological approach was utilised as the most appropriate means of investigation for this topic, and semi-structured interviews as well as a focus group were employed.

The results of this study suggest that the participants believe that support for students must be holistic. Importantly, this study also suggests that providing pre-service teachers and in-service teachers with some of the skills involved in counselling and communication can help them in their positions as educators. The findings contribute to the body of research on teacher education and practice regarding supporting students’ emotional well-being particularly in Japan.