Waseda University (Japan)


We investigate the everyday governance and decision-making practices of educators to care for the health and well-being of pre-K–12 students during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through multi-sited, multi-scaled, mixed-methods, community-engaged research at two schools in the San Gabriel Valley region of Southern California, we examine how teaching models for physical and mental well-being are being adapted to online and distance learning environments. Beginning from the initial announcements of school closures to the ongoing contingency planning for the 2020–21 school year, this study will produce: (1) original qualitative datasets regarding hitherto marginalized educational areas and pedagogical practices, (2) analytic frameworks to assess how everyday decision-making practices change within differential school infrastructures and forms of governance, and (3) analysis of emergent adaptive practices in education systems during this extraordinary time and under ongoing community stressors.

Principal Investigators

Fred Hernandez

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Faculty of Sport Sciences, Waseda University

I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Graduate School of Sport Sciences at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, funded by a joint fellowship from the US National Institutes of Health and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. My work in Japan studies the development of mixed-gender sports and coaching pedagogy from extracurricular school sports to national team settings. I received my PhD in gender studies from the University of California, Los Angeles (2019), analyzing local public school sports coaching to understand larger debates about athlete safety, participation versus competition, and coaching preparation and certification. My interdisciplinary research primarily relies on ethnographic, oral history, media and archival analysis. I currently am part of the Asthma Files research team (Fortun et al. 2014), a decade-long consortium of projects examining cultural dimensions of environmental health.

Nadine Tanio

Visiting Junior Specialist, University of California, Irvine

I am a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Anthropology at UC, Irvine. I received my PhD in education from UCLA (2020). My dissertation was a youth participatory action research (YPAR) project on collaborative visual storytelling that involved making short films with young people who had received heart transplants as children and were transitioning to adulthood and adult health care. This work emerged from ongoing participatory team research (Raia and Deng 2014). The short collaborative films from this study have been screened at international conferences, national education forums, and in university undergraduate seminars. My work is interdisciplinary and positioned at the nexus of education, anthropology and science and technology studies (STS). I am currently part of the Asthma Files research team (Fortun et al. 2014), a decade-long running consortium of projects that examine the cultural dimensions of environmental health. In collaboration with Dr. Hernandez, our SSRC funded study seeks to understand how differently situated pre-K–12 schools in the San Gabriel Valley region of Southern California are adapting to the challenges of remote teaching and distance learning during Covid-19.