I'm posting a link to this U.S. News and World Report short article on Japanese schools
, hoping it will provoke commentary from one who can speak firsthand, rather than second, about the realities behind this rosy picture. (Not that she doesn't have dozens of much more important things to do.) Anyone else is welcome to comment as well!
Update: Here are the pictures from Janet of some of her students in Japan, cleaning the school pool. (See comments.)
Saturday, March 24, 2007 at
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I'm not sure what you want me to comment on (I'm assuming I'm the 'firsthand' sources your expecting). It doesn't look like a rosy picture to me, but maybe it's because I'm picturing it as I saw it. What impression do you get from it? Is peer pressure a good thing? That's another great way to allow free reign for bullying. Do you think the kids love to clean? Try being in charge of a group of them. They don't bend the knee easily and they're very good at looking like they're actually doing something (NOT, but they think they are). They do take better care of the building throughout the day, though. Most of the teachers didn't clean with the students, though. They just watched and told them how to do it better. At my school at least it wasn't at all meant to level the playing field like the article implies. The hierarchy in Japanese schools is rigid and the students are most certainly at the bottom. For laughs I'll send you the picture of the kids cleaning the pool. You can post it if you want.
The article came from a list of links, captioned "30 Valuable Lessons That Americans Can Learn from the Rest of the World," in this other U.S. News and World Report article
that Dad found. I haven't yet read the main article, let alone all the links; plenty of blog fodder I'm sure. I know we can learn a lot from other countries, and I wish we would, but the Japanese school story struck me because I know (from your experience) that it isn't all it purports to be. So I wonder how much to disbelieve about the other stories, for which I have no inside information. I've put the pictures in the main post, because it didn't work when I tried to put them in this comment.