Tips For Teachers

Documenting Classroom Management

How to Write Effective Progress Reports

Building Relational Trust

"Making Lessons Sizzle"

Marsha Ratzel: Taking My Students on a Classroom Tour

Marsha Ratzel on Teaching Math

David Ginsburg: Coach G's Teaching Tips

The Great Fire Wall of China

As my regular readers know, I am writing from China these days, and have been doing so four years so far. Sometimes the blog becomes inaccessible to me, making it impossible to post regularly. In fact, starting in late September 2014, China began interfering with many Google-owned entities of which Blogspot is one. If the blog seems to go dark for a while, please know I will be back as soon as I can get in again. I am sometimes blocked for many weeks at a time. I hope to have a new post up soon if I can gain access. Thank you for your understanding and loyalty.

Search This Blog

Monday, November 19, 2007

Japanese Schools are More Homogeneous than US Schools.

There are many reasons why Japanese secondary schools display a much more uniform high quality than US secondary schools, including, but not limited to:

*Top students commonly choose teaching as a career.

*Teachers must rotate every three years from school to school with the express purpose of ensuring that all schools, rural or urban, rich or poor, share the teaching talent of the nation.

*The tax base for each local school is national, not local.

*Every school is required to have certain minimal basic resources, ie, every school has a fully appointed science lab, a library, an art room, physical education facilities including a gym, and more.

*Homeroom teachers visit the home of every student early in the school year.

*Every school provides a hot, highly nutritious lunch to every student.

*There is a real, national curriculum.

*Textbooks must be approved by the Ministry of Education, and schools choose only from the approved list.

*Practically every secondary student attends supplementary schools (called juku) at private expense.

*Students must pass a college entrance exam to go to college. Each year the exam is published in the local newspapers after the exam is given.

*The express goal of secondary education is to enable students to pass the entrance exam.
*And more...

I must add that the Japanese system of high schools is really three separate systems with discrete campuses. Western writers often never realize that when they think they are writing about the Japanese education system, they are not talking about a multi-track comprehensive high school such as what we have in the US. Normally Western writers research, visit and write about academic (sometimes called college-prep) high schools whether they know it or not. There are also vocational high schools attended mostly by boys with a few girls, and commercial high schools attended mostly by girls with a few boys.

When you read about the Japanese secondary education system, you are almost always reading about the academic high school system. In my experience, writers seem oblivious to the existence of the other types of Japanese high schools. I am not suggesting that the US should wholesale adopt the educational policies of Japan. However, I am suggesting that a serious discussion regarding the portability of some features of the Japanese system would be valuable. Since US society is choosing the education system it has, warts and all, it would be nice if that choice were made with eyes wide open.

No comments:

Post a Comment