Perks of the Japanese Education SystemTokyo, Summer 2012

As part of the home stay trip in Mobara, IES provided us the opportunity to tour and observe both elementary and high school classes. I have to admit that I’m both amazed and jealous of these students!


Let’s start with elementary children shall we?

One of the first classes we observed was a home economics class teaching cooking. It was then that I received a revelation: 9 year old children can cook better than most people I know.

This class taught not only cooking, but sewing as well. How amazing is that? 9 year old Japanese children are more self sufficient than 20 year old American adults.

In addition to an emphasis on self-sufficiency and preparation to enter the world on their own, Japan also focuses heavily on the arts as well. Singing, music, and drawing classes are mandatory in elementary schools, with certain classes mandatory in high schools as well, providing each student with a well rounded educational environment. It is with a heavy heart when I think back to my own education, having to choose between art, music, and home economics, wanting them all but only allowed one. How I would’ve loved to pursue all three!

From what I’ve observed, the Japanese are a very community oriented people, and I can see now that this is emphasized both in daily life and in school. I don’t know about the elementary system, but in junior high through high school, students stay in their classroom while their teachers are the ones to change classes. This means that the people in your class are the same exact people you’ll be with for every subject the rest of the year, rather than seeing a variety of new faces with every class.

As a result, students in each class tend to grow very close and this closeness follows them through the rest of their school years. I admire this aspect of the education system, as it emphasizes community while not restricting their chance to meet and speak with other students since classes still have the opportunity to mingle with one other.

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