I don’t like saying that specific cultures are superior to others, I truly believe that every culture has something unique and incredible to offer our world. However, I think Japanese schools are one of those golden nuggets that are something unique and incredible to our world.
First, the culture of the school. They are surrounded by and expected to be respectful, kind, and considerate. Overall, this is the vibe of the entire country, but especially in schools. They are expected to respect their elders.
They take care of their school. When school is over, the students and teachers roll up their sleeves and get to work cleaning and maintaining the school. Boards and surfaces are wiped and cleaned, as well as walls, windows, doors, and floors. There are no janitorial jobs in schools because they work together as a community to keep their schools and streets clean.
The students are responsible and independent. The train systems in Japan are very intricate, but it’s not uncommon to see children as young as elementary-aged students riding the trains by themselves to get to and from school and activities by themselves. They start riding the trains at such a young age that by the time they are in school, it’s not a big deal for them to hop on and off at their correct stops and make transfers when needed.
Overnight field trips are common. Even in elementary school, it’s typical for students to attend overnight field trips with their schools. The goal of these trips is not only to experience new places around Japan, but to also utilize life skills such as navigating trains and buses, working together in groups of students, and being responsible for themselves outside of a school setting.
Overall, they are held to a high standard. The students are expected to be respectful, try their best, and be good, upstanding citizens both inside their schools and out.
The amount of respect within the country is astounding! It’s very cool to see how Japanese schools differ from our schools in America. There are many, many other countries with great schools, too! Finland and Singapore are two that easily come to mind, but each country has its own school systems that are equally fascinating to observe and compare.