Japanese Schools and What They Have to Offer

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. 

A Trip to Japan And a Global Learning Experience

Last month I had the wonderful opportunity to visit Japan. This has been a ten-year goal for us to visit and experience the country of Japan, so it was exciting once we were able to make it there finally! We ended up leaving our kids home during our trip, but after only a few days in the country, we quickly agreed that we needed to set a new goal to bring our whole family back in ten years because Japan is incredible!

Here is a quick rundown of what we learned and experienced while we were there, through the eyes of a global learner-

Children independently riding and navigating the train and subway systems in the busiest parts of the city to get to and from school and extracurriculars on their own. 

Family-friendly everything. 

Many school groups out on field trips during the weekend (when they do not have school). All of them were dressed in school uniforms and acting incredibly respectful. 

Everyone having a deep respect and reverence for their cities and communities, working together to keep them clean and tidy. 

As well as students having the same respect and reverence for their schools and spending time cleaning after the school day is over. (Could you imagine that in the U.S.?! That would be incredible!) 

Very safe and clean streets, which make walking and biking very easy and accessible for adults and children alike. 

Respect from everyone in the community for the disabled and elderly or anyone that 

Students attending tutoring sessions in their free time outside of school, not just for extra help, but for extra learning hours. 

One big recurring theme I saw was the respect level for all ages and abilities from all ages and abilities. Learning about the culture and more about the school systems in Japan was so eye-opening to me and influenced how I move forward with my kids and how I view and use the educational system in the United States. 

Have you ever traveled somewhere and had it completely changed your perspective?