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Thursday, March 10, 2005

Japanese Schools vs. American Schools

In the early 90's, I visited Japanese schools to see how they were different from U.S. schools. I don't know about how it may have changed since then, but these are a few of my observations from the schools I visited.

Students go to school around 240 days a year. They take several weeks off in the summer but they have homework to do and must return with it completed. (On a side note - this link tells about one judge's view of summer homework in America) If you multiply this out, you will find that a Japanese student may have up to 720 additional days of school over an American student. This divides out to 4 years of American school - all in the same 12 year period. Folks - it isn't apples-to-apples when people make comparisons.

They have a one-week break in the spring when they change grade levels. There is a New Year's Break as well. The teachers were year-round employees in the schools I visited, with two weeks vacation.

Crime and violence were non-existent for the most part, and disrespect was never tolerated. Students were even expected to be respectful to their underclassmen. Discipline seemed more direct than here and parents were more concerned about their children's "responsibilities" than their "rights."

Every grade level in the nation had the same textbook and followed the same curriculum. If they want to do better on an international exam they just align the texts and the entire country gets new materials. Presto - instant alignment. No wonder Asian nations always do well on international tests.

Students are tested into high school and college. Good scores and you go to college prep high schools. Bad scores and you go to blue-collar career-oriented high school.

Lifetime employment with a company. Good news - you may have a job. Bad news - it's your lot for life.

Japanese students are taught conformity to group norms. This does lead to respect for peers and constant worry about what others think. American students are taught individuality and creativeness.

My observation? This is why we lead the world in creating new products and services, but when it comes to manufacturing, it gets built overseas.

It isn't as simple as comparing scores on a test.

PS. If any teachers have course standards that would fit this topic, I have a slide show that I can do to discuss these differences with students. I would be willing, schedule permitting to do this for a class or grade level.

For community members, this could also be a service club program.

14 comments:

carolyn baker said...

I have also been interested in Japanese education. What I am reading is there is a definite "black cloud" in their seemingly "silver lining". The suicide rate of sudents and physical bullying is happening in epidemic proportions due to the stress. Check out a website. Just type in Japanese education. The Japanese are working on educational reforms to allow for more individuality and creativity.

Anonymous said...

this is a great article and very useful for my college essay. Thanks for the help

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

this will sooooo help my social studies grade Thanks! ;)

American Schools said...

This blog about the comparison of Japanese and American schools is very nice and informative.

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Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with you. The Japanese are more known world wide for inventive products but I doubt the news in the US would broadcast every new product from around the world.

I prefer the Japanese school system because it results in students working hard for their future and continuing to work hard in their lives.It also teaches them responsibilty.THey're in charge of the future- no one else and for the most part are thankful to their parents for paying for their education.Also, the curriculum is more advanced than the typical American school.On average adult Japanese read a new book every month.
The majority of American students don't realize how lucky they are to receive free education up until college and therefore don't work hard.

Anonymous said...

This artical was very helpful for me to write my essay THANKS A BUNCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks a million!!!!!!!! this will really help me on my social studies american schools vs. japanese schools venn diagram!!!!!!!!!!!! :-)

Anonymous said...

. This is really great ! I would love to see some visuals to help me fully understand the comparison of American and Japanese schooling, I am a very visual person. I am doing a project in my english AP 11 class, and this will really help me if you have anymore information. My email address is karkeithia_gamble16@yahoo.com , thanks a lot !

Textile Student Blog said...

Both are good but i think USA can gives better education than Japaneses schools. Actually i don't want to heart somebody' mind but according to me America is better than others.

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