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Maciamo
May 22, 2004, 16:20
What motivates me to start this thread is the widespread stereotype of the difficulty of the Japanese educational system. Long before coming to Japan, I heard of the Japanese "exam hell" (university entrance exam or "juuken") and stories of numerous students who committed suicide because they failed. I heard of "cram schools" (juku) where children and teenagers went after the regular school to study till sometimes 9pm. I heard of 5 years old kids forced to exercice in shorts and tshirts outside in the snow.

But all this is really isn't worth more than tabloid credibility. I don't know if the Japanese started spreading these stereotypes themselves to try to prove their "superior" education system, their industriousness or even their economic success in the 1980's. It all sounds like another "nihonjinron" ("theory of Japaneseness") to demonstrate the unique (read "superior") qualities of the Japanese compared to the rest of the world.

Here is how I came to realise that all this didn't mean anything and the Japanese educational system was actually one of the worse among developped countries.

After coming to Japan, I obviously came into contact with hundreds of Japanese, and my initial job as a privare language instructor gave me lots of opportunities to test my student's general knowledge besides language.

I was shocked many times at the poverty of geographical, historical, political and even linguistic (for their own mother tongue) of adult Japanese. Shall I mention that my students were not farmers or manual workers, but almost exclusively well-paid Tokyo business people and professionals. I heard such things as Argentina was in Europe, Napoleon was a middle-age knight or people not able to name the Japan's main political parties or Buddhist sects (while I could soon after coming to Japan, like most Westerners).

Then, I gradually asked as many people as possible about the Japanese education system and their personal experience at school (what subject did you study ? how many hours a week ? what kind of exams ? did you learn about this or that in this or that subject ?) to compare it with my own experience.

Weekly hours

I appeared that Japanese have less school hours than I did, as they both start later and finish earlier. I was used to start (primary or secondary) school at 8:30am and finish at 4 or 5pm, with an average of 32h/week. Japanese usually start at 9am and finish around 3pm, with an average of 25 to 30h/week. Most people going to juku do not exceed 5h/week. So altogether it is very similar, except for those who do not go to juku at all or just 1h/week (the majority I believe).

Curriculum

The main difference I noticed is that Japanese teachers follow almost exactly the curriculum and use only official books, while in my experience, teachers used any book or material they wanted (or more often wrote their own lesson material). Consequently, whereas it is said that almost all Japanese school teachers teach exactly the same thing, the same way at the same time all over Japan, teachers in my schools did not even teach the same from one class to another (depending on how their average ability), and each teacher of the same subject sometimes taught completely different things (esp. in languages, geography, etc.). This is probably the best example of difference between individualistic (Northern European) and collectivist (Asian) societies.

Exam system

Let us talk about the examination system, one of the most important difference, and what really made me understand the "exam hell" dillema.

In the schools I attended in Europe, their was a system of continuous assessment, which means that there are small tests almost every week in every subject. The end of the year exams accounted for 50 to 80% of the total. To pass to the next year, pupils (from age 6) must imperatively score more than 50% in every subject. If they don't, they are given another chance at the end of the summer holiday, and if they fail again they must do the same grade again - which means they lose one year of their life. In my primary school, the failure rate was about 15%, but it was famous being a tough school. In secondary, 1 to 4 student per class or 20 to 35 people failed. I have never seen a class where nobody had to re-do the year.

The contrast with Japan is huge. Apparently, nobody fails in Japan. Even if you don't understand anything in any subject, you automatically pass to the next grade.

Understandably, when students are confronted for the first time to serious exams that they can actually fail at the time of entering university (which will decide their career), many are completely stressed out, and it turns into the "exam hell".

This is just because their education had been too pampering and lenient before that. The exam hell happens at every year-end exam in European countries where I have studied (although it is softer thanks to the continuous assessment system). Actually, France and Germany also have big final year exams similar to the Japanese "juuken". They are called respectively BAC and Abitur. But they "only" determine secondary school graduation, not entrance to university, which do not exist in Europe to the best of my knowledge (except sometimes a maths or science test for medicine or engireeing).

In other words, the reason why Japanese students have to study so hard for the "juuken" is not because it is that hard, but because they didn't know their real ability due to the lack of real eliminatory exams before that. As a results, many simply do not have the necessary knowledge and instead of "doubling" a normal school year like in Europe, they end up becoming "rounin" and study one or two more years by themselves or at a "yobiko" (preparatory school) to be able to enter university.

It is this system itself that leads parents to send their children to cram schools, to increase their chances to pass the dreaded "juuken". Most parents seem to have no idea of their children's abilities or what is good for them, especially when it comes to English learning. Many people still think that because they pay for private schools or juku will increase their offspring's chances to go to university.

Private schools : buying your way to university

Unfortunately, the once socially equal Japanese educational system (in the 1960's) is becoming more and more elitist and class-divided. The reason is that some private schools have their own private university (which I never heard of in Europe). By joining one of these from primary school, children are almost sure that they can go directly all the way to

I said earlier that Japanese did not have eliminatory exams until the "juuken". Actually they do have exams at the end of primary and junior high schools, but only if they change school in between. These exams will determine who will be able to join more prestigious schools, not whether they pass or fail that year. The advantage of paid (and expensive) private schools is that children do not need to take these exams and pass directly from primary to junior high, to high school to university in the same institution. In other words, they might not be gifted at all and not learn much, but they will be amost sure to graduate from university anyway because they pay for it. In Europe, only bribery can achieve this.

Selection process

So, we could say that the selection process happens annually in Europe from the first year of primary school and continues even more harshly through university (where failure rate often surpass 50% in the first year, because of the absence of preliminary entrance exam).

In Japan, the selection is concentrated in the university entrance exam, and can even be skipped by going to a private school which has its own university.

That surely explains the poor general knowledge of the average population, best reflected by their language inability - as you can't know one's maths, science or general knowledge level without asking them questions directly related to that.

Ewok85
May 22, 2004, 17:23
Nice read. The one thing that shocked me in japan is like you said, the lack of general knowledge.

In my state we have an exam at the end of year 12 to receive a TER (tertiary entrance ranking). You pick 5 degrees that you would like to study from 1 to 5 then based on your TER you are given a course. This seems ok to me, but it has its problems. In australia though people do no ofter repeat years of school. Yr 12 sometimes....

Edit: The school I went to in Japan went from 8:20 to 4:00, monday to friday, 8:20 to 12:30 on saturday. 1st year high school/junior high kids had the occasional 'overnight' thing where they would have an extra 5 - 7 hours of study.

mad pierrot
May 22, 2004, 17:46
Good idea for a thread.

I've got a few questions, too. Maybe you can help me. At all of the schools I teach, the same texts are used. I have asked why, and I was told by a Japanese teacher that all schools have to use texts assigned by the Ministry of Education in Tokyo. This sounded like BS at the time, but now I'm not so sure.
Any thoughts?

Another question I have concerns actual class structure. For example, in the middle schools I teach at, there is one English class for each grade. (1-3) This usually means that the student's English ability varies tremendously in the class, often making it hard to teach them all at once. I've suggested that the classes be split based on ability rather than grade level, but I was shot down pretty fast. Again, all the explaination I recieved was mumbling about how this is the way it has to be, schools can't decide, etc.

Any other teachers want to jump in on this one?


:sorry:

Maciamo
May 22, 2004, 20:43
At all of the schools I teach, the same texts are used. I have asked why, and I was told by a Japanese teacher that all schools have to use texts assigned by the Ministry of Education in Tokyo. This sounded like BS at the time, but now I'm not so sure.
Any thoughts?

That is exactly what I have heard and read (many times) so it must be true.



I've suggested that the classes be split based on ability rather than grade level, but I was shot down pretty fast. Again, all the explaination I recieved was mumbling about how this is the way it has to be, schools can't decide, etc.


I understand that Japanese schools don't divide classes by abilities because that is also the way it was in my schools in Europe - and gaps were indeed huge, making the brighest students bored to death or leaving the slow ones well-behind depending on the speed adopted by the teacher. Usually the class' difficulty depended only on the teacher's personality, with some hard ones that were feared by most and some easy ones that were longed by the lazy average.

I would also have preferred a division by ability, esp. that we had about 8 classes (of about 30 students) per grade in secondary school. At least we were divided by options. One class for the "Latin-Maths", one for the "Latin-Greek", one for the "Maths-Science", one for the "Science-Modern Languages", etc. That makes it more difficult to divide, except for common subjects like geography, history, literature, etc.

RockLee
May 22, 2004, 21:02
In other words, the reason why Japanese students have to study so hard for the "juuken" is not because it is that hard, but because they didn't know their real ability due to the lack of real eliminatory exams before that. As a results, many simply do not have the necessary knowledge and instead of "doubling" a normal school year like in Europe, they end up becoming "rounin" and study one or two more years by themselves or at a "yobiko" (preparatory school) to be able to enter university.

I think this is the mayor problem in Japan, you just learn "little" so to speak, and for entrance at a university the Japanese have to LEARN(not memorize like they did before) and that's something they never really learned :? so they will go completely COOCKOO !!

Ewok85
May 23, 2004, 00:00
I understand that Japanese schools don't divide classes by abilities because that is also the way it was in my schools in Europe - and gaps were indeed huge, making the brighest students bored to death or leaving the slow ones well-behind depending on the speed adopted by the teacher. Usually the class' difficulty depended only on the teacher's personality, with some hard ones that were feared by most and some easy ones that were longed by the lazy average.

I would also have preferred a division by ability, esp. that we had about 8 classes (of about 30 students) per grade in secondary school. At least we were divided by options. One class for the "Latin-Maths", one for the "Latin-Greek", one for the "Maths-Science", one for the "Science-Modern Languages", etc. That makes it more difficult to divide, except for common subjects like geography, history, literature, etc.

Ahah! I dunno if it was just my school but it was the opposite. Classes were by ability, 1 being top. Classes were grouped into topics (language, sciences, arts). They had different teachers for each topic (teaching their specialised topic). The kids stayed in the same class with the same people (cept for PE where they would split boys/girls).

Its very annoying how little power schools and teachers hold on the education of their students. The Ministry of Education decides what books, the curriculum etc for the whole country. I do remember reading that some regions are able to change this if they wish.

I wouldn't mind 'streaming' (grouping classes by ability) in Australia. It works fine in Europe, would be good here too.

Mandylion
May 24, 2004, 14:29
It is going on 2:30pm here, ie the dark period before the coffee break, but I'll add a bit.


At all of the schools I teach, the same texts are used. I have asked why, and I was told by a Japanese teacher that all schools have to use texts assigned by the Ministry of Education in Tokyo. This sounded like BS at the time, but now I'm not so sure.
Any thoughts? Some do and some don't a lot can varry by regions. All texts have to be approved by the Ministry, but they are not assigned. How the process works is something like this (so I have been told). A publisher will put out, say, since we are JETs, a new text. They send it to Tokyo, Tokyo says OK, and then they go about trying to sell the text to local schools or districts. At my schools we are getting new samples in all the time.

Often all the schools in a district will all use the same text. Since I only work in one district with one elementary and one middle school, we get to see all the sample texts and decide at the local level. Other JETs who work in a different district teach from a different book (maybe) and are told which ones they will use. - For example, I teach from Sunshine (that comes out my rear) and a good friend uses New Horizon (such positive-sounding names).


Another question I have concerns actual class structure. For example, in the middle schools I teach at, there is one English class for each grade. (1-3) This usually means that the student's English ability varies tremendously in the class, often making it hard to teach them all at once. I've suggested that the classes be split based on ability rather than grade level, but I was shot down pretty fast. Again, all the explaination I recieved was mumbling about how this is the way it has to be, schools can't decide, etc. Again, a lot depends on how the district is set up. Mine is not representative since it only has one school to deal with, but I have heard of othersworking in similar ways.

Classes can be split up, it all depends on if the teachers want to get off their rears and do it. My district is going over the problem of splitting up some classes now. We have a good number of really bright students and a good numbers of slower learners. In high school there is some tracking of students (advanced students in one class, more general folks in others) on rare occassion. If it will help is the real question...

All is not as dark and dire as it may seem, but I do strongly disagree with the no-fail policy. Whoever thought this one up was someone who obviously never failed or perhaps came close to failing once.

I think everyone needs the experience of at almost failing at some point. Doesn't have to be on a timetable, but before you get out of college or high school, you should have to look down into that abyss and find out exactly what you are made of. If you fall in, people are still there to help you out. If you get out in the real world on your own and don't know how to either stay away from failure or fix the problem, you are in for a very rude lesson...

mad pierrot
May 24, 2004, 19:31
Great info!
Thanks Mand!

Btw, New Horizons is used here, too.
I bet you the next major text will be named something like, "Super-Fun Happy English."

:D

chiquiliquis
May 24, 2004, 20:04
Great info!
Thanks Mand!

Btw, New Horizons is used here, too.
I bet you the next major text will be named something like, "Super-Fun Happy English."

:D

Eww... yeah, New Horizons... I share your pain :mad: :eek: :angryfire :auch: :angel:

ashuri2
May 25, 2004, 23:47
well, that just burst my bubble! where i live, the kids are constantly in fear of failing. we have end of course test which tests general knowledge of the subject, and so many tests all the time, and then we take the state's graduation test...it's just hard for me to imagine a place where you actually can't fail, and you don't have to learn much until the university entrance exam. every teacher teaches differently here, which of course can create some problems when transferring to another school or state, but either way, you learn or you don't pass, and unless you're at a private school the teachers will not let you advance no matter how much they like you.

Eito
May 27, 2004, 01:02
I think everyone needs the experience of at almost failing at some point. Doesn't have to be on a timetable, but before you get out of college or high school, you should have to look down into that abyss and find out exactly what you are made of. If you fall in, people are still there to help you out. If you get out in the real world on your own and don't know how to either stay away from failure or fix the problem, you are in for a very rude lesson...
I completely agree with that. That's kind of what happened to me last year, and now I have to deal with it. I'm in the US, and with my school system they don't make you redo a whole year, only the few classes that you fail.
At my school they basically do whatever they want, but they are a private school so they can. The state doesn't give us many guidelines about curriculum.

In regards to "exam hell," it seems like a waste of time to me. From what I have read on multiple accounts, when a Japanese person goes to get a job, the employer rarely cares about college education. In fact, the Japanese system does not really entice people to aim for higher education so much, and less thn a third of them go on to university. So why do all the work when you don't have to?


A conversation in the book Dogs and Deamons, Chapter 12:

"If Japan's schools are so very good, why do you have to spend so much money for extra education?"

"The children do not learn what they need to know to pass the exams for university in public schools."

"Well, what are they doingin school, then?"

"They are learning to be Japanese."

Mandylion
May 27, 2004, 09:34
In regards to "exam hell," it seems like a waste of time to me. From what I have read on multiple accounts, when a Japanese person goes to get a job, the employer rarely cares about college education. In fact, the Japanese system does not really entice people to aim for higher education so much, and less thn a third of them go on to university. So why do all the work when you don't have to?

The employers don't look at what you did in university but rather the university you went to. Simply put good university = good job, great university = great job. So, they do all the work to get into a good university to get a good job on the strength of the reputation of that school alone, not to really further their academic horizons.

It always amazes me when a talent (pop star / idol / actor fluff) gets oohhs and aahhs when it is said they graduated from a top university. If they are smart, Japanese TV never lets them show it... This thing holds true if you went to a good univeristy overseas too (so mych so that some members of the government have lied about doing exchange programs or even graduating from top US universities). There is a foreign guy on TV here, can't recall his name - went to Harvard. Speaks good Japanese, but I think the name on his degree is the only reason anyone puts up with him. My wife - usually a kind, mild person - has pronounced him a complete git and very snobbish.

omae mona
May 28, 2004, 21:57
There is a foreign guy on TV here, can't recall his name - went to Harvard. Speaks good Japanese, but I think the name on his degree is the only reason anyone puts up with him.
On TV, the only reason anybody puts up with ANYBODY is because they think it's going to draw in audiences and help make a profit (if we're not talking about NHK).

Disclaimer: I know your foreign guy on TV quite well personally, but I think there are some more pertinent reasons he's on TV.



Speaks EXCELLENT, not good, Japanese
The only foreigner (to my knowledge) half of a manzai comedy duo. Not only does this require fluent Japanese, but also a damn good understanding of Japanese culture and what makes Japanese people laugh. Granted, I guess it's not working on your wife, but..
Looks good on TV




My wife - usually a kind, mild person - has pronounced him a complete git and very snobbish.

I can assure you he's not snobbish, but I think we all know that on TV (especially in Japan) everything comes off *exactly* the way the director wants it to. Frankly, I don't think he seems snobbish on TV either, but granted, I'm not going to be the guy to pick up subtle queues like what seems snobbish to a Japanese person.

[on edit: hey, how did my post count get set to 1? I was almost sure I've posted here before, but maybe I was hallucinating...]

kixot
Jun 24, 2004, 11:09
In my country (Chili, that's the "that's why" of my avatar) there's a huge jump between public and private schools. Private schools are far above public schools' levels.
We get 14 years of school in which you can't fail two classes or you simply don't pass the year.
In my school particularly, if you failed 2 years in a row you were out. But my school was particularly tough (no wonder we were studying form 8AM to 6PM almost every day in the 4 last years).
When you finish school there are big university entry exams and depending on your score you can apply to a good career and/or university.
The good thing is that even if private (i.e. expensive) schools are better, public universities are still far better than private ones.
It's interesting how different can different countries' educational system be.

Areku
Jun 24, 2004, 11:44
Good post,


Actually, France and Germany also have big final year exams similar to the Japanese "juuken". They are called respectively BAC and Abitur. But they "only" determine secondary school graduation, not entrance to university, which do not exist in Europe to the best of my knowledge (except sometimes a maths or science test for medicine or engireeing).


but can you clarify what you mean by this? Because in England unversities set required grades for entrance into their courses, which vary from low to high exam passes. Unless you mean what I think you do, and that they don't require *extra* exams to be taken (except prestigious uni's like Cambridge, which require a very hard Maths extension exam to be done if you want to do maths there)

Ewok85
Jun 24, 2004, 17:35
If this foreign tv comedian is the same one as im thinking about his japanese is amazingly good for the time hes been in japan, and he is funny, saw him live once. :D

Maciamo
Jun 24, 2004, 17:35
but can you clarify what you mean by this? Because in England unversities set required grades for entrance into their courses, which vary from low to high exam passes. Unless you mean what I think you do, and that they don't require *extra* exams to be taken (except prestigious uni's like Cambridge, which require a very hard Maths extension exam to be done if you want to do maths there)

Yes, that's what I mean. there are no "extra exams" between the final exams of secondary school (whatever they are called) and entering university. In Japan, "juuken" are given by each university independently, regardless of which school one comes from. So they have the exam twice, but only the university entrance exam seems to be difficult, not the one to "graduate from highschool" (to use the AmE expression). Some universities have specialized entrance exams for subjects like engineering or medecine, but most subject do not require it.

However, contrarily to the UK's A levels, I think that in most continental European countries, it doesn't matter how well one performs in each subject or even overall. People just pass or fail. If you pass, you can go to any uni and study any subject and that's it. However, the failure and drop out rate at university is extremely high. At my university, only about 10 to 20% of the students entering manage to graduate. In Japan, I heard the success rate is close to 100% (probably 95% or so) because the "juuken" have already made the selection.

canadian_kor
Jun 25, 2004, 04:42
Well, I'm glad that I was educated in Canada and not in Korea or Japan. I heard that suicide is not uncommon for youngsters in those two Asian countries (due to "exam hell" or failure). Education seems like a major thing for those two Asian groups. If you fail, not only do you fail in advancing to get the career you want, but you fail socially and let your family down.

Maciamo
Jun 25, 2004, 08:43
Well, I'm glad that I was educated in Canada and not in Korea or Japan. I heard that suicide is not uncommon for youngsters in those two Asian countries (due to "exam hell" or failure). Education seems like a major thing for those two Asian groups. If you fail, not only do you fail in advancing to get the career you want, but you fail socially and let your family down.

Actually, my impression is quite the opposite. I feel that most Japanese do not care very much about their education. They study because they have to or just in order to get a good job. That is very sad, as in Europe at least, education is seen as a way of fulfilling oneself. Teenagers entering university in Europe are usually told (by teachers, parents, friends..) to choose a subject they like, even without clear prospect of employment, rather than studying to get a well-paid job we might not like. I guess that is one of the biggest cultural rift between Europe and Japan.

In Japan, some students commit suicide not because they feel more stupid than the rest, but because they are afraid about their future employment. Money is a major daily concern in Japan (not honor, that was a long time ago !). I guess that most Japanese would agree that if one could buy their university degree when they were children, they just wouldn't bother going to school and uni, except for socialing and learning to interact with people. It already kind of happens with the expensive private schools which one enters from kindergarten and lead you directly to university ("elevator system", as they call it). This is just paying for one's degree, as the failure rate is almost inexistant. In contrast, education is free in Europe because everybody should have equal opportunities to learn regargless of their social background.

Anyway, Japanese school teaches more about how to live in harmony with the rest of the group and social manners than how to reason logically, analyze ideas or be creative.

In short, European education is idealistic and care about personal development and how to think well. Japanese education is practical (job-oriented), and care about social developement and how to interact harmoniously with people in society.

In my feeling, the US education is also job-oriented, but concentrates on personal development than social harmony. So it's somewhere in between.

bossel
Jun 25, 2004, 08:51
I think that in most continental European countries, it doesn't matter how well one performs in each subject or even overall. People just pass or fail. If you pass, you can go to any uni and study any subject and that's it.
In general this correct for Germany, too. The exception are some subjects where there are too many applicants for a university place. The places are distributed by the ZVS, which is the "Administrative institution for deciding on and awarding admittance to certain academic majors, admittance to which is restricted by an N. C. [numerus clausus] (e.g. medicine, law, pharmacy, dentistry)."

Golgo_13
Jun 25, 2004, 11:09
I wonder how many others here have gone to school in both Japan and the U.S. (or another foreign country). I have.

All I can say is, the quality of education I received in an American elementary school was far inferior to that I received in a Japanese school.

kara
Jun 25, 2004, 11:20
That is very sad, as in Europe at least, education is seen as a way of fulfilling oneself. Teenagers entering university in Europe are usually told (by teachers, parents, friends..) to choose a subject they like, even without clear prospect of employment, rather than studying to get a well-paid job we might not like. I guess that is one of the biggest cultural rift between Europe and Japan..In Japan today, daigakuinsei (graduate students?) are like European univ. students what you described.

And I don't think 100% of European univ. students choose a subject they like, even without clear prospect of employment. Do you know Florent Dabadie? In his book he wrote:"I wanted to major in Korean, but my father strongly opposed it because of the future employment, so I majored in Japanese at パリ東洋学院日本語学科".

Their must be a difference in greater or lesser degrees, but I hesitate to call it "one of the biggest cultural rift".


In Japan, some students commit suicide not because they feel more stupid than the rest, but because they are afraid about their future employment. Money is a major daily concern in Japan (not honor, that was a long time ago !). In these days many middle aged male commit suicide for money, but students? Teenagers easily can find a job for survive. What they hardly find are honorable, meaningful jobs for themselves. In such cases, should we say he died for money?


I guess that most Japanese would agree that if one could buy their university degree when they were children, they just wouldn't bother going to school and uni, except for socialing and learning to interact with people. It already kind of happens with the expensive private schools which one enters from kindergarten and lead you directly to university ("elevator system", as they call it). This is just paying for one's degree, as the failure rate is almost inexistant. In contrast, education is free in Europe because everybody should have equal opportunities to learn regargless of their social background. I half agree with you. "socialing and learning to interact with people" but only with promising kids in famous private or national schools (not with ordinary kids in public schools) is the main reason for "ojuken" parents. Not the university degree itself. You know universities like Meiji, Hosei, Rikkyo, Gakusyuin, Aoyama-gakuin, Musashi, Seikei... etc are ranked not so high and their university degrees mean almost nothing comparing to Todai, Kyoto, Keio, Waseda, Hitotsubashi...etc. To be an elementary or (junior) high school student of them is by far important for parents than to get a university degree from their univ. category.

They believe their kids will grow up to be a intelligent person among intelligent friends, or to be a successful adult with the help of successful friends. So, they want their kids to keep getting touch with his/her friends in school. "they just wouldn't bother going to school and uni" is perfectly off the mark imo.

Anyway, Japanese school teaches more about how to live in harmony with the rest of the group and social manners than how to reason logically, analyze ideas or be creative.

In short, European education is idealistic and care about personal development and how to think well. Japanese education is practical (job-oriented), and care about social developement and how to interact harmoniously with people in society.I feel Japanese education is not so good both about personal development and about practical training. There is much room for improvement.

Ewok85
Jun 25, 2004, 17:46
Anyway, Japanese school teaches more about how to live in harmony with the rest of the group and social manners than how to reason logically, analyze ideas or be creative.

In short, European education is idealistic and care about personal development and how to think well. Japanese education is practical (job-oriented), and care about social developement and how to interact harmoniously with people in society.

I enjoyed my education here.Primary school was relaxed, lots of play and basics for maths, english and sciences. High School mixed tradition education with more practical things. At first you do everything, English, Maths, a 2nd Language and Society and the Environment are compulsary. Technology (Woodwork, Metalwork, Plastics, Computing, Electronics, Photography, Structural Design) and the Arts (Design, Sewing, Cooking, Outdoor Education - think camping, Music, Modelling (Clay etc)) are done over 2 years. In the third year you pick the tech and arts subjects. The other interesting subject is Work Experience, where they go over important things like workers rights and laws, occupational health and safety and one week of actual work experience. We go out and for one week work somewhere with the permission of the business owner (unpaid).

Apart from normal school stuff we have extra courses on offer all the time, I did a tourism and hospitality course, agriculture, mechanics, 6months at Mitsubishi Motors doing computing, web design and alot of Air Force stuff.

I mean its all nice to be able to do calculus maths and be knowledgable in physics but the fact of the matter is unless you go into that feild of work does it do you any good? I've done all that and its been of little use. On the other hand I can look after my self around the house, make things, mould things, weld things etc.

School here really feels like a stepping stone to getting out into the real world. Prepares you for the things that matter.

Maciamo
Jun 26, 2004, 10:18
I wonder how many others here have gone to school in both Japan and the U.S. (or another foreign country). I have.

All I can say is, the quality of education I received in an American elementary school was far inferior to that I received in a Japanese school.

Oh, yes. I never argue with that. :p It's just that there absolutely no comparison btw the US and Europe in terms of education.



And I don't think 100% of European univ. students choose a subject they like, even without clear prospect of employment. Do you know Florent Dabadie? In his book he wrote:"I wanted to major in Korean, but my father strongly opposed it because of the future employment, so I majored in Japanese at パリ東洋学院日本語学科".

It cannot be 100%, but that is true of any trend in any culture/country. I don't know how old is that Florent Dabadie, but choosing one's favourite subject is a quite recent trend, maybe 10 or 20 years old. There are of course conservative families in every country in the world, in the same way that some Japanese families wouldn't allow their children to get married to foreigners (but that %age is probably higher than European parents who oppose their children's choice either at university or as spouse).



In these days many middle aged male commit suicide for money, but students? Teenagers easily can find a job for survive. What they hardly find are honorable, meaningful jobs for themselves. In such cases, should we say he died for money?

Well yes, because they won't get as good a job as they were hoping for, so eventually a a money problem. There might be people commiting suicide for honor in Japan, but only if are ashamed of not being as good as others.



I half agree with you. "socialing and learning to interact with people" but only with promising kids in famous private or national schools (not with ordinary kids in public schools) is the main reason for "ojuken" parents. Not the university degree itself. You know universities like Meiji, Hosei, Rikkyo, Gakusyuin, Aoyama-gakuin, Musashi, Seikei... etc are ranked not so high and their university degrees mean almost nothing comparing to Todai, Kyoto, Keio, Waseda, Hitotsubashi...etc. To be an elementary or (junior) high school student of them is by far important for parents than to get a university degree from their univ. category.

Interesting. :-)


At first you do everything, English, Maths, a 2nd Language and Society and the Environment are compulsary. Technology (Woodwork, Metalwork, Plastics, Computing, Electronics, Photography, Structural Design) and the Arts (Design, Sewing, Cooking, Outdoor Education - think camping, Music, Modelling (Clay etc)) are done over 2 years. In the third year you pick the tech and arts subjects. The other interesting subject is Work Experience, where they go over important things like workers rights and laws, occupational health and safety and one week of actual work experience. We go out and for one week work somewhere with the permission of the business owner (unpaid).

Apart from normal school stuff we have extra courses on offer all the time, I did a tourism and hospitality course, agriculture, mechanics, 6months at Mitsubishi Motors doing computing, web design and alot of Air Force stuff.


It seems that the Australian education is very open and emphasize a lot practical, manual, physical and artistic activites. In Europe, the education system is divided in 3 categories of schools :
- general schools (maths, languages, theoritical natural sciences, social sciences) which about 80% of the people do (?)
- technical schools (mechanics, applied sciences, metal/wood works...), attended by about 10% of the people
- professional schools (artistic, sewing, cooking...) attended by about 10% of the people.

This is a kind of hierarchy and it is not noramally possible to change from professional to technical, or technical to general, although the other way is possible (usually for dropouts of the general). It is not possible for people graduating from technical or professional schools to go to university. These schools prepare directly to specific jobs, such as mechanics, plumber. electrincian, carpenter or other non-intellectual jobs.

Areku
Jun 26, 2004, 10:34
In England, most of the technical schools (although, usually people just do an apprenticeship with a firm) for manual labour are full of 16 yo dropouts from school.

Still, there's good money in joining and plumbing. Just that most people would rather go to university, and aim for even more money (takes longer to reach that goal though)

kara
Jun 26, 2004, 11:12
It cannot be 100%, but that is true of any trend in any culture/country. I don't know how old is that Florent Dabadie, but choosing one's favourite subject is a quite recent trend, maybe 10 or 20 years old. There are of course conservative families in every country in the world,A quite recent trend? What you wrote was "one of the biggest cultural rift"....:okashii:

And about Florent Dabadie, he was born in 1974. Too old for that trend?

Conservative families? As a logical-minded(あるいはそう自称・自負する人間として), You'd better not to say about what you don't know or just research it before stating.


FLORENT DABADIE BLOG
http://dabadie.cocolog-nifty.com/blog/main.html

「タンポポの国」の中の私 新・国際社会人をめざして
http://nifty.bk1.co.jp/cgi-bin/srch/srch_detail.cgi/40dcdd24594590105947?aid=01nifty52&bibid=02070180

Ewok85
Jun 26, 2004, 15:17
Still, there's good money in joining and plumbing.
I remember my chemistry teaching in the last year going "If you want a job where you can write your own money become a plumber" and it the truth, good money to be had.

I love the system thats in place here. I've done a bit of everything and then focused on what I wanted to do from that (Pure Maths, Chem, Phys, Japanese).

Golgo_13
Jun 29, 2004, 03:27
THIS IS NOT A JOKE!

From New York Post, June 25, 2004 -- WONDERFUL news for New York City par ents: Schools Chan cellor Joel Klein is opening a high school called the "Peace and Diversity Academy" in The Bronx.

The brochure says students lucky enough to be admitted will be able to take courses on: peace, diversity, cultural identity, cultural awareness, bias, conflict resolution, discrimination, prejudice, social action and leadership, and — why not? — war.

All at the same school!

At another new Bronx school, kids will be able to take "Hip-Hop & Citizenship."

Wonder when the students will have time for math and English . . .

Welcome to New York's small-school movement, a theater of the absurd where taxpayers spring for front-row seats and the proceeds go to leftist political groups more interested in ideology than education.

-------------------------

From New York Post June 28, 2004 --
IT'S hard to believe that almost half a century has passed since Bern stein and Sondheim composed "Gee, Officer Krupke," satirizing our therapeutic society's response to juvenile delinquency and gang warfare. For those who don't recall, gang members examine the "root" causes of their criminal behavior by in turn appealing to the police, the court, the psychoanalyst and finally the social worker.

But not the schools - because, back then, no one imagined that our schools would become the comprehensive clinic for all the social ills that afflict our youth. Today, however, all the clichés that Bernstein and Sondheim lampooned are enshrined in New York's public schools, at the expense of real educational goals.

Consider: In the midst of the most radical overhaul of New York's schools, and the bold attempt to end social promotion, the central schools office at the Tweed Courthouse recently informed us that "rehabilitated" high school students [from violent offenses] would serve as reading mentors for failed third graders this summer. At session's end, they'll get a $500 stipend.

Huh. The last contract with the United Federation of Teachers extended the school day to allow for the required staff development for our new scripted reading program. Tweed prepared CD ROMS for our English teachers; a vast host of coaches spent the summer learning the new curriculum. Now we learn that kids with the worst discipline and academic records are to be "role models" and tutors after a few months of behavior modification in a Second Opportunity School - SOS being the euphemistic name for the schools of last resort for our most violent offenders.

So was all that staff development a waste of time and money? Or has simple common sense gone out the window when it comes to dealing with our most difficult discipline problems?

This month, a student suspended from Washington Irving HS for choking a dean and throwing him to the ground had to be readmitted because the postponement of his hearing denied him timely "due process" and his "right" to an education. Not to worry, the Department of Education would have a school aide accompany the student to his classes until the hearing is held. Who knows, perhaps another role model in the making?

Meanwhile, the failure to ensure proper safety for the Asian student minority at Lafayette HS has resulted in yet another consent decree between the Justice Department and the city schools. That's the second consent decree this year, and it guarantees another round of endless regulations and court oversight - on top of the consent decrees already in force.

These decrees don't simply apply to one school; they create precedents for the entire system, and live on in perpetuity. Do they make our schools better, safer, and more efficient? Mostly, they establish permanent boards of inquisition, add to paperwork - and give activists a license to meddle. Perhaps worst, each is a "sword of Damocles" hanging over administrators' heads, intimidating them from taking any initiative that might result in a lawsuit.

Couple court oversight with federally-funded counseling and peer- mediation services, and you ensure the ongoing presence of behavioral problems in our schools, with very little to show for it but increased costs and diminished educational performance.

Imagine that the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center was permanent, and every year we'd add decorations without removing the old ones. How long would it take before the branches started bending and breaking as the tree collapsed from the weight of the ornaments?

That, in a nutshell, is our school system - and the Bloomberg/Klein administration has shown that it can decorate the tree with a vengeance.

The "pushout" consent decree at Franklin K. Lane HS has ensured that guidance counselors citywide will no longer hint that a 19- or 20- year-old with no hope of getting a diploma should consider alternatives like the GED or Job Corps for fear of a lawsuit.
. . . .

Well, you get the point.

ashuri2
Jun 30, 2004, 08:03
........
i'm actually speechless. diversity is good, but doesn't it need to be taught to those who don't know diversity? isn't the bronx already diverse? wow, this political correctness and sensitivity is getting way out of hand, it's becoming ludicrous (no pun intended).

Golgo_13
Jun 30, 2004, 08:08
........
wow, this political correctness and sensitivity is getting way out of hand, it's becoming ludicrous (no pun intended).

Funniest thing I've heard you say yet! :D :D :D

RockLee
Jun 30, 2004, 08:09
What's education these days.. :mad: :clueless: ??
Every country teaches something else, different standards
different subjects,different....even in 1 country they have like uncountable
differences...what is best??what is the thing that gets you the most?
It's getting out of hand :souka:

Golgo_13
Jun 30, 2004, 08:13
Some say we should do away with all exams all together because they put undue pressure on kids..

Up to what grade?

Would you go to a doctor who never took an exam?

RockLee
Jun 30, 2004, 08:44
You're absolutely right Golgo..that's nonsense...one should always take exams to prove that he is capable of holding knowledge he learned...but maybe spread the exams over smaller periods would take the stress away a bit.Because studying something is childsplay, BUT learning it in very LITTLE time and A WHOLE LOT of material is the biggest difficulty :-)

Mandylion
Jun 30, 2004, 08:56
aside to omae mona - thanks for your input. Don't think it will change my wife's opinion of him :bow: But then again, my household has a rather strong distrust of any mass media (of any country) and those who appear on it. Judgemental, yes, we free and openly admit it. But if you go on TV, you paint a target on your chest - we know there is more to him than meets the eye, but this (the televised version) is all we can see - it is nothing personal.

ashuri2
Jul 1, 2004, 07:57
Funniest thing I've heard you say yet! :D :D :D

i'm actually against political correctness becaus eof the lengths it's going to, and many actually agree with me, i wrote an essay against it when i applyed for an academic summer program, and it seemed to impress the judges a lot and i got in. hmmm....at first i'd thought they'd throw it out because i was against it, and the program is held at cornell univ. and i know many universities are liberal and support it.... :souka:

Golgo_13
Jul 1, 2004, 08:20
Political Correctness for Teens
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
No one fails a class anymore, he's merely "passing impaired."

You don't have detention, you're just one of the"exit delayed."

Your bedroom isn't cluttered, it's just "passage restrictive."

These days, a student isn't lazy. He's "energetically declined."

Your locker isn't overflowing with junk, it's just "closure prohibitive."

Kids don't get grounded anymore. They merely hit "social speed bumps."

Your homework isn't missing, its just having an "out-of-notebook experience."

You're not sleeping in class, you're "rationing consciousness."

You're not late, you just have a "rescheduled arrival time."

You're not having a bad hair day, you're suffering from "rebellious follicle syndrome."

You don't have smelly gym socks, you have "odor-retentive athletic footwear."

No one's tall anymore. He's "vertically enhanced."

You're not shy. You're "conversationally selective."

You don't talk a lot.. You're just "abundantly verbal."

You weren't passing notes in class. You were "participating in the discreet exchange of penned meditations."

You're not being sent to the principals office. You're "going on a mandatory field trip to the administrative building."

It's not called gossip anymore. It's "the speedy transmission of near-factual information."

The food at the school cafeteria isn't awful. It's "digestively challenged."

Kama
Mar 23, 2005, 05:26
Maciamo, sometimes it really surprises me that you make such a generalisation about Europe. It's so different in Poland.

Many of the employees is concerned only for good university's diploma, not for the faculty they graduated from. of course, this isn't true in Western-capital firms.

We don't have a lot of exams during the school years. Usually from elementary to secondary there were class test (for a bigger or smaller part of material) or oral exam. the hardest is before the end of semester. :D We hardle ever have a year-ending exams, it depends on the teacher actually.

here people dont often study what they really want. Many people study what they think is profitable - f.ex. law, psychology, informatics etc. when somebody goes for a exotic (like japanese faculty studies) which isn't profitable at all, people are surprised and asked "why" and "what are you going to do in the future?"

men sometimes study whatever they got into because they don't want to go to the army.

Maciamo
Mar 23, 2005, 09:33
Maciamo, sometimes it really surprises me that you make such a generalisation about Europe. It's so different in Poland.

When I say Europe, it usually means old EU members (in the same way as "America" usually means the USA, not the continent). Poland has just joined the EU and so the education system has not yet have time to adapt to EU standards (or anyway that won't affect you as you have already finished school).

Sometimes I feel that Eastern European countries have chosen to follow a more American-style consumerist approach to capitalism after 1990. Is that the New Europe, Old Europe divide they were talking about ?

Kama
Mar 24, 2005, 04:17
When I say Europe, it usually means old EU members (in the same way as "America" usually means the USA, not the continent). Poland has just joined the EU and so the education system has not yet have time to adapt to EU standards (or anyway that won't affect you as you have already finished school).

Sometimes I feel that Eastern European countries have chosen to follow a more American-style consumerist approach to capitalism after 1990. Is that the New Europe, Old Europe divide they were talking about ?

Maciamo, so don't talk about Europe when you have few countries on mind. It's misleading.
I don't know about any diversity between New Europe and Old Europe. These terms are just stupid-western-europe-countries-made. Damn, we have a 1000 of years of national history, so we are not the NEW Europe. And being a democratic country for shortert/longer time isn'a any criteria for being an European country. Poland is also part of Europe, as well as Russia, Lithuania and some other countries. Remember about this ALWAYS when you are talking about Europe.

Polish education system is being adapted to EU for many years, I suppose about 10 years now. I rember that in secondary school there was a chance (scholarship) to go to Great Britain and make a matriculation exam there.

Also, Erasmus and etc. (I don't remeber other names) are operating in Poland for years. Even years before joining EU we had the point system at universities compatibile with that in EU countries.

TenMonGaKuSha
Mar 24, 2005, 08:05
I believe that education across Europe differs a little bit. I live in Serbia which is not part of EU (and I'm not sure if it will be soon) and I finished elementary and high school here. Now, I'm on the 3rd year of studying at the university of natural sciences, astronomy and astrophysics.

I am not sure how difficult passing through grades is all over the world but I think that our education (in Serbia) is pretty strong. We don't have many graduated students put that's because of the criteria at universities.
In elementary and high school we have tests all the time during school days. We have about 13 subjects per year in high school and exams about 8 times from each subject during a year. For example, in physics we have 4 written tests (like 4-5 problems which you have to solve) and 4 theoretical exams. We don't have tests with cheking the wright answer... That's too easy. We don't have exams for finishing/graduating school, but we do have exams for entering high school and university.

The exams for high schools are the same for almost every school and they're from the Serbian language and mathematics. The exams for entering the university, of course, vary a lot and they are not easy at all! However, to enter the faculty of physics in my town (the 2nd largest in Serbia) is not hard because a small number of people want it :))
Anyway, when a person like me enters physics/astrophysics/astronomy or something like that, you need 4 years to graduate and you have about 35-40 exams. Most of them are theoretical and experimental, so a student have to work really hard to pass all that.

Anyway, our system is half-synchronized with European (EU) Bologne declaration so a student can go over there (to EU) and continue his studying very easy. That's good.

I'm not sure how does it work in Japan.
If you're wright about their low-education system in elementary and high schools, what kind of criterium do they have at universities? How about post graduated studies? That's what I'm interested in.

Maciamo
Mar 24, 2005, 10:06
I don't know about any diversity between New Europe and Old Europe. These terms are just stupid-western-europe-countries-made.

In fact they were made by the Bush administration to criticize "Old Europe" for not supporting their Iraq War. And btwm the UK and Spain are also New Europe, so it's really only political. I was just being sarcastic here.

Legato
Nov 28, 2005, 21:30
Very interesting thread!
I don't know enough about japan to add any input but it's good that a lot of the conventional wisdom about their education system is chalenged.
just to add to the comparison, though, I would say that looking at primary and secondary schools is not necessarily important. it is agreed that the education system sucks at this level but that doesn't mean americans are stupid. A lot of the elite researchers still come out of american universities, which are still top ranked in the world (although all this is more balanced now with Europe and the rest of the world having more and more world class universities and research centers). But these elites do come out of this same educatrion system which sucks so bad. I'm glad I got my education in France but now I understand better how American schools work, that is, on a more self motivated basis. In the US if you are motivated you can usually achieve a lot, there are fewer restrictions, on the other hand if you are lazy not much will try to motivate you. The French system (I try not to generalize too much) standardises a lot, not unlike Japan, by using centrally designed programs and exams. It also stigmatizes a lot by promoting only the general branch of education (which leads to upper education) and leaves very few options once you get stuck in a branch (I don't know how I managed but there are exceptions). Also a big problem, which is more global I believe, is that university education does not lead to a secured job anymore, undermining the university system and giving less incentives to study more. the other side of that is the fact that now people who go to universities are usually motivated and want to learn something specific (I'm tempted to say that it is still a minority though). One last thing I will say is that, I've been studying in one of top universities in Europe (Uppsala, Sweden) with an exchange program and I believe there is still a big difference in what universities offer depending on the country. Subjectively, I think the American system is still the best in the world at the university level.

PS: Sweden doesn't have any final exam at the end of high school, or any entrance exam to university, a system that exist in a few other European countries. Everything is based on your grades during high school emphasizing a more constant demand rather than a very focused one such as in France. (correct me if I'm wrong)

jEsteR_bOy
Dec 14, 2005, 10:48
Wow...I was biased in thinking that the Japanese Education System was immaculate and complex...Eh..

cyberryo
Dec 20, 2005, 15:28
I am not so sure about the Japanese high school and senior high school matters, but I did study engineering at a Japanese university which is highly regarded in Japan.

I agree that entry and graduating from a good university generally provide some job security for most, and that many Japanese students take it easy after entering the university. But in the field of engineering and sciences, I seriously doubt that many Japanese students can skive so much.

My fellow students didn't attend the lectures regularly, and were busily taking part-time jobs to fund their travels during the U holidays. But I can seriously say that they earn their place in that U as they were definitely above-average Japanese, and their mental dexterity amazed me at times during our maths and physics tutorials.

I remembered my first year subject on Linear Algebra. During the course of the lectures, there was no assignment, report, question, etc. We just attended the lectures and there's this lecturer talking to himself and scribbling on the board. At the semister end exams, there were only 2 theoretical questions. About 1/4 of the students who sat for the exams failed, and had to redo the subject during their second year if they accumulated enough credits to move to second year. I checked with some friends over at top level U in US, UK, etc. and realised that their exams had a good mix of computation and theoretical questions to test their grasp of the subject.

The above is a very typical Japanese way of doing things. They ask short simple questions, but they will scrutinise your answers to see how deep you can go and analyse the question. Sort of like "zen".

Ken

JerseyBoy
Jan 2, 2006, 04:55
This thread interests me as I have gone through the typical Japanese educational process myself.

The Japanese education may have changed since I graduated from a Japanese high school years ago (early 90'). In my school districts for an elementary, junior high, and high school, the teachers were very supportive of students to learn subjects and I was one of the model students (do homework, understand the subjects, and good at tests and exams) and a few teachers at my elementary school gave me the extra tutoring after school as I was aiming for a private junior high which has a tough admission policy and entrance exam; of course, the public schools in general are one size fits all. So, I went to a juku to study more to beat my fellow students in the local and national exams (I am always competing against my fellow students for better exam scores). Then, I moved on to the well-regarded high school which is ranked top 3 in my prefecture in terms of output of quality students it graduates and the strict admission exam to screen out students who did not study in junior high.

Then, I veered off the beaten path after I am done with the high school as I decided to go for a college/university in the USA. That is after I did one year of college in Japan, which has good foreign study/language programs. The reason I left that college is I did not see any challenge there (they had an English exam periodically and I was always #1 as they listed up the top 10 students on the main board at the college). I picked a college in North East USA where there is not many Japanese students because I wanted to focus on studying and immerse myself in the local environment/culture and because many Japanese college students come to the states more for fun than educational nourishment and challenges or because they could not make it to Japanese universities. I majored in Journalism first (in a 2 year college) and switched to Communications and Marketing when I transfered to a 4 year university. Journalism was my interest at that time (it is so even now); but, I needed to be in the business fields where I can be more marketable in the global job markets.

Long story short, I think Japanese junior high and high school programs are in a decent shape (but there is always room for improvement) compared to USA. I have no experience in European education system so I cannot comment on that. I actually tutored American students during my 2nd year (they paid me a minimum wage for tutoring) when I was a student at this 2 year college (I was fresh out of Japan and this was my first stint in a foreign country). I admit the Japanese undergraduate universities/colleges are rather anti-climactic after the feverish studying for the entrance exams as the most of the students tend to slack off.

I think the general education system does not have the power to motivate students (but it can help foster the learning environment) as much as parents/guardians of those students.

Sorry for the long post. But, I thought I would share my story on this topic.

Ma Cherie
Jan 2, 2006, 06:26
Political Correctness for Teens
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
No one fails a class anymore, he's merely "passing impaired."

Why say that, what's wrong with saying that a person failed? :souka:
You don't have detention, you're just one of the"exit delayed."
Errrrrr...........okay
Your bedroom isn't cluttered, it's just "passage restrictive."
No, it's just dirty
These days, a student isn't lazy. He's "energetically declined."
Lazy, lazy, and more lazy
Your locker isn't overflowing with junk, it's just "closure prohibitive."
Your locker is overflowing with junk, I call the way I see it
Kids don't get grounded anymore. They merely hit "social speed bumps."
I don't even know what to say about this one

Your homework isn't missing, its just having an "out-of-notebook experience."
As far as I'm concerned, you either lost it or just didn't do it.:okashii:
You're not sleeping in class, you're "rationing consciousness."
What? :souka:
You're not late, you just have a "rescheduled arrival time."
Not that's just pathetic
You're not having a bad hair day, you're suffering from "rebellious follicle syndrome."
LOL :D
You don't have smelly gym socks, you have "odor-retentive athletic footwear."
Your socks STINK!!!
No one's tall anymore. He's "vertically enhanced."
What?
You're not shy. You're "conversationally selective."
*sigh*
You don't talk a lot.. You're just "abundantly verbal."
You're just a chatter box
You weren't passing notes in class. You were "participating in the discreet exchange of penned meditations."
Who comes up with this stuff?
You're not being sent to the principals office. You're "going on a mandatory field trip to the administrative building."
Huh?
It's not called gossip anymore. It's "the speedy transmission of near-factual information."
No, it's just gossip
The food at the school cafeteria isn't awful. It's "digestively challenged."

No the food is GOD AWFUL!

These are just too funny to me:lol: But this is kind of sad as well I'm afraid.

Kana_Star
Jul 11, 2006, 10:32
Its fun to see how education is viewed different from a studdents to a teacher's point of view

ex-gaijin
Jul 18, 2006, 06:54
What really surprised me when used to talk to my co-workers was the lack of general knowledge. They used to come up with "What is the national (?) in Europe?", "Che Guevara? Is he a character of a new Manga?", "Is Paris an Italian City?"

I was a bit surprised about this but even wen I inquired about their own culture, literature and history...I used to get the same sort of answers. They were even more sureprised bacause a "gaijin" knew about Kabuki, Noh and Samurai...

I wasn`t a language teacher in Japan but sometimes I did enjoy teaching languages, just as a hobby. It a nice way to get to know more about the locals.

I remember once, I was explaining "where do/does + subject + live". I asked my two students "where does the kangaroo live?"...one of them said in Japanese "wakaranai"...so I repeated the question slowly. The other one replied the same again "wakaranai"....
I started being a bit confused...
I asked in Japanese what the problem was, but they didn`t answer.
I explained the whole structure again, and asked the same question.

The first answer was "the kangaroo lives in Africa". Well, I started laughing my head off...saying in japanese: sorry your grammar is fine but you just said something really outrageous. The other guy soon broke into the conversation saying: "no no it`s wrong, the kangaroo lives on the mountains somewhere".

Well, I couldn`t believe myself. Two business men, with a degree, who travelled the whole world that didn`t know anything about kangaroos living in Australia.
When I told them the correct answer, they both replied in Japanese "ehh honma?"....

In a European school you learn these things on your first day of school, when you are 5 or 6. If you ask the same question, in any European country, to any kind of people with or without dgree, everyone knows the answer.

In other occasions I asked other people, co-workers, friends, acquaintances, about the education system in Japan. It seemed quite clear to me that the only subject they study everyday is koku-go. No Geography, no History, nothing whatsoever...just Japanese!

The result is: they grow up in a fairy tale, and when they go abroad they realize how the real world is.

Ayame2112
Feb 4, 2007, 06:13
I'm sorry if I am taking the conversation back, but I was reading and found that I have found different experiances with the Japanese Education system.

Chiaki, my friend, has recently graduated High School. She would wake up each morning at 5 to eat, dress and then catch the 6 am train. Her class started at 8 am and she would go until 2. After she would have clubs or cleaning. She would then go to Juku. Her english is very good with only a few verb problems. (Considering our President has verb problems with his native tongue I'm sure it can be forgiven) She did have a hard time with Kanji and told me her mother would often make remarks such as, "Are you even Japanese? You ace English yet fail Japanese."
As for the lack of rounded education. You see the same problem with Americans. There are teens who don't know who Napoleon is other than "some short french dude." There are plenty of ignorant people, but then there are brilliant people. I believe it depends on the school, the children, and the neighborhoods.

I would have written a better post, but I'm supposed to writing a College essay on the Japanese Education system so I can't stay here long.:gomen:

Dr. J. M.
Feb 11, 2007, 03:05
Is there any specialization in the Japanese school system?

I guess in France students can choose between three different paths in their bac (sciences, economics/social sciences and literature, iirc.), in GB there are specializations in their GCSE and A-Levels and in Germany there is the Abitur.

jmwintenn
Aug 30, 2007, 16:04
wow,I thought our school system was bad.

I went kindergarden-12th grade in the united states,the southeast of the united states to be exact, and it sounds like yall have it easy. Elementary school started at 8am and went to 1am for k-3rd,8am-3pm for 4th-6th. Junior high started at 7:30am and lasted to 3:15 for grades 7-8th.Highschool start at 7:15am and lasted to 2:15pm. If you failed any subject(less than 70% mastery) you failed the whole grade and could go to summer school or repeat that grade next year. We had advanced classes starting in 7th grade for those students that had the grades for it.

In highschool,you could pick if you wanted a university path(all advanced classes,junior and senior years[11-12] you could take college classes in highschool),a technical path(autoshop,more art and computing based classes)or a dual path. Now, my parents picked my classes for me(yay) and had me in all honors and AP(standard=regular difficulty classes,honors=hard classes,AP=advanced placement,or college classes). School has never been hard for me,but I was bored out of my mind in all my classes,and then I had to go in a standard class to give a teacher a note...I found out all standard teachers did was pass out worksheets,and some kids still failed!!

we normally didnt have enough textbooks for everyone,and there is a set curriculum but most teachers taught what they thought was relevant,the few who went "by the book" normally had the lowest passing rates,because lets face it, you cant cram 1200 pages into a kid every 3 weeks and expect them to do too well on a test.oh,each school decided on what textbooks they would use.

You could choose what maths/sciences/foreign languages/histories you wanted,but you had to take a certain amount of each and you had to take algebraI & II,geometry,US history,biology,IPS,english 1-4,keyboarding(like people dont get enough practice >_<) and you had to have 2 years of PE.


sorry about length of post,didnt expect to write this much,but after reading what you all said,I'm kinda glad I went to school where I did.

Tatsuki
Sep 15, 2007, 03:09
Aha, of course some people fail in Japan, especially the occasional university entrance exams.

I think with Japanese education, you know so much that you do not even have to continue education after grade 9, but we still do.
And you have hammered in brain that you want to do this career in future, though gakusei change their mind every second. (this is not always the case)

England splits up classes into academic ability, but in Japan, you can have the clever, the medium and the very dumb/lazy in one class. Also there are homework, and exams, but not to an excessive degree.

Education is education. As long as you get a job afterwards and not become a hikikomori, who cares XDD

w1ngzer0
Sep 15, 2007, 03:32
What's education these days.. :mad: :clueless: ??
Every country teaches something else, different standards
different subjects,different....even in 1 country they have like uncountable
differences...what is best??what is the thing that gets you the most?
It's getting out of hand :souka:

or how about someone that spends 50-70K in schooling and can't get a job because the baby boomers have not retired. So, this person around my age is working in a call center or starbucks waiting for the baby boomers to retire. But, it won't happen until they are 70 because 9/11 destroyed their retirement.

This is America.

maushan3
Sep 15, 2007, 13:29
or how about someone that spends 50-70K in schooling and can't get a job because the baby boomers have not retired. So, this person around my age is working in a call center or starbucks waiting for the baby boomers to retire. But, it won't happen until they are 70 because 9/11 destroyed their retirement.
This is America.

Trust me, don't worry. Companies will soon be crying for educated employees.

Mauricio

w1ngzer0
Sep 15, 2007, 14:11
If people like ron paul do what they say, this will be the case. At least this is what i believe. We don't need another Reagan, nor bush, nor bill clinton. We need a George Washington. We need to stop spending so much f'in money in this country. Or is this world turning into a solid snake scenario. Where war is what runs countries economy? :(

Anything minor happens in our country, our $ and stock market goes down like a cut piece of paper.

basuotoko
Sep 15, 2007, 22:59
So I guess you're an expert on world monetary policies then? What do you think got the US out of the Great Depression of the 1930s? Spending on the World War II effort, in large part. If George Washington were president today, he'd probably stray away from Martha, have an affair, and get the White House burned down.

w1ngzer0
Sep 16, 2007, 01:41
it's used as an example. As a motivation as you will. I guess i need to use more discretion in my posts. George Washington IS a founding father after all :-)

A21-Mujahid Toor
Sep 9, 2008, 20:19
Education system in all over the world is same but the method is changed. In every country have their Owen syllabus which teacher tough them. Are you agreeing with me?

Chirpy9
Sep 9, 2008, 21:26
Hi,
I have to travel to Japan. Was planning to take my kid also along and then later on put him to a japanese school. Currently he is only 2.5 years old.
But after going through all the comments, I think its better for him to stay in India only and study :worried:

FrustratedDave
Sep 10, 2008, 08:26
Another waste of time thread. How could anyone believe the half truths of someone b/c they "think" this is how the Japanese school system works. There are just too many things to comment on so I won't bother. I guess the old saying really does ring true here again, "A little knowledge is dangerous!".:okashii:

Glenski
Sep 10, 2008, 11:19
Does anyone else realize that this thread was actually a year old until A21-Muhajid Toor revived it? Don't expect answers from last year's posters.

Chirpy9
Sep 10, 2008, 12:38
..but the thread is there.....for all to see and comment.
Anyway, I guess I made a mistake through my earlier comment

FrustratedDave
Sep 10, 2008, 22:00
..but the thread is there.....for all to see and comment.
Anyway, I guess I made a mistake through my earlier comment
And rightly so, if it is there for people to read the truth should be told. Good post Chripy.

kireikoori
Sep 11, 2008, 07:18
Japan has: a stressful education system.
Japan has: a bad English education system.
A weird combination.

FrustratedDave
Sep 11, 2008, 10:32
Japan has: a stressful education system.
Japan has: a bad English education system.
A weird combination.
What percentage of people in English speaking countries have learnt another language at school and become good enough to get by in most everyday situations? Now compare that to Japan and people who can do the same in english. There was one second language class in my final year at school which had 20 students in it out of 400 students in my grade. Where as at least Japan makes English compulsory across the board, so even though the methods may not be ideal they are still way a head of English speaking countries when it comes to learning a second language at school.

kireikoori
Sep 11, 2008, 12:37
Well the reason for this is that English is the international language.
Though I do wish foreign language were more available in my country anyway.

For English being a major course taught in Japan, it's not taught well enough.

GodEmperorLeto
Sep 16, 2008, 18:26
Where as at least Japan makes English compulsory across the board, so even though the methods may not be ideal they are still way a head of English speaking countries when it comes to learning a second language at school.
Here is where personal experiences come into play. I took Japanese for two years in college and learned it thoroughly enough to survive basic conversation. Two years of French in high school and I can read French almost fluently, even though I can't speak it anymore.

English education is compulsory, but not always beneficial to the learner. Part of the reason I retained these languages so well is because I am interested in it. Compulsory English education benefits me (a paycheck) much more than I believe it benefits my students.

Besides, the modern education system is created to churn out drones, not to truly make people learn. At this it succeeds very well, regardless of what country you are in.

jobmaster
Apr 20, 2009, 21:51
Hi
Thanks for your information and it is really rocking......

raine09
Sep 18, 2009, 22:41
Interesting topic and i like the replies here. I'm actually interested in studying in Japan. Thanks for sharing your stories.
Regards,
Raine

DougLewis
Oct 8, 2009, 07:23
I have always liked to think that general knowledge is education. General knowledge is useful for the student, perhaps not for future employers or even the politico.

I feel sometimes that the purpose of education has now become just a feeder system for work place and commercial interest components.

If I am correct, then that is a sad turn of events in terms of individual enjoyment of and for the learning experience.

Hopefully I am wrong.

DougLewis
Oct 8, 2009, 07:32
Japan has: a stressful education system.
Japan has: a bad English education system.
A weird combination.

Perhaps the problem is about setting the wrong goals for learning a second language. If vocabulary is a measure... i.e. the volume of words learned is a measure of success, then that could be a factor.

The average native speaking person uses only about 400 words or so a day to get by. English as an example has a vocabulary of around one million words, trying to achieve that knowledge is fruitless endevour. It is probably a better strategy to focus on the common everyday words and becoming extremely fluent with those. Later, specialized words can be added to complement a specific field of endevour.

Just a thought.

gaijinalways
Oct 12, 2009, 16:49
frustrateddave said
A little knowledge is dangerous.
A little knowledge can be dangerous, and it can also save your life sometimes.

frustrateddave said
What percentage of people in English speaking countries have learnt another language at school and become good enough to get by in most everyday situations? Now compare that to Japan and people who can do the same in english. There was one second language class in my final year at school which had 20 students in it out of 400 students in my grade. Where as at least Japan makes English compulsory across the board, so even though the methods may not be ideal they are still way a head of English speaking countries when it comes to learning a second language at school.

It would depend on the school. As Godemperorleto said, some people do actually learn foreign languages and are able to use them. Unfortunately in Japan, the percentage is small and some of it has to do with the methods used to teach the languages and the way the users of those languages (foreginers) are portrayed in Japan.

DougLewis
Oct 13, 2009, 03:25
Unfortunately in Japan, the percentage is small and some of it has to do with the methods used to teach the languages and the way the users of those languages (foreigners) are portrayed in Japan.

I wonder if someone would care to expand upon this observation?

Generalizations are made everywhere I know, still, I am very interested in learning how foreigners are regarded in Japan. Of course there are varieties of "foreigners" so I am wondering if distinctions are made.

Often in other countries "foreigners" tend to be categorized by leading perceived traits (Usually based on fallacy).

For instance, a generalization about Japanese people in some countries use words such as "Inscrutable", "Unemotional", "Honorable". I know these are stereotypical, but are they warranted? If so - Why?

If not - Why?

Is this phenomena an impact on educational quality in Japan?

(As intimated by the previous poster)

nice gaijin
Oct 13, 2009, 03:41
I wonder if someone would care to expand upon this observation?
Generalizations are made everywhere I know, still, I am very interested in learning how foreigners are regarded in Japan. Of course there are varieties of "foreigners" so I am wondering if distinctions are made.
Often in other countries "foreigners" tend to be categorized by leading perceived traits (Usually based on fallacy).
For instance, a generalization about Japanese people in some countries use words such as "Inscrutable", "Unemotional", "Honorable". I know these are stereotypical, but are they warranted? If so - Why?
If not - Why?
I recommend you create a new thread for your question, because what you're asking is such a large departure from the actual topic.

DougLewis
Oct 13, 2009, 03:46
Sorry if I am in the wrong topic.

My reply was to a quote within a reply in this thread?

Even so your suggestion is noted and appreciated. It helps me to understand the logic of the forum topic flow. My intent was to see if stereo typing has impacts upon either the approaches or successes of the educational system by way of bias.

Thank you.

D.