Thursday, February 15, 2007

Preconceptions can be wrong!

Today I was one of about 14 people asked to be a guest speaker at a local junior high school. We were supposed to be giving the students a glimpse into the real world and motivating them to do something special with their lives (or something like that anyway!). It had been a long time since I have been in a junior high school here, but things have definately not changed!
Before I came to Japan I had the image that Japanese students were incredibly well behaved, studied very hard etc. I quickly discovered that the reality is very different (at least here in my town...). Talking, sleeping and abusing the teacher or fellow classmates during class is the norm. Listening while others are talking is definately not something enforced by many teachers. I find this incredibly frustrating, but what I find even more frustrating is the lack of energy, enthusiasm and expression shown by the students. It is impossible to tell if the students are interested in what you are talking about as they show nothing in their faces. If you ask them a question they stare at you blankly as if you are speaking in some alien language. Of course all the students are not like this, but unfortunately the majority seem to be. I know that the education system is mainly responsible for this, so every chance I have I make as many suggestions as I can.... none of which have been listened to yet!
New Zealand schools are looking more and more attractive as my children get older! Now I just need to find a willing grandparent or two....

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