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By Gail R. Benjamin

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Gail R. Benjamin reaches past predictable photos of authoritarian eastern educators and automaton schoolchildren to teach the benefits and drawbacks of a method remarkably diversified from the yankee one... --The long island occasions publication Review

Americans regard the japanese academic method and the lives of jap teenagers with a mix of awe and indignance. We admire a method that produces greater literacy premiums and more desirable math talents, yet we reject the excesses of a method that leaves childrens with little loose time and few shops for creativity and self-expression.

In Japanese Lessons, Gail R. Benjamin recounts her reports as a American father or mother with little ones in a eastern straight forward university. An anthropologist, Benjamin effectively weds the jobs of observer and father or mother, illuminating the strengths of the japanese approach and suggesting ways that american citizens may well examine from it.

With an anthropologist's prepared eye, Benjamin takes us via a whole yr in a jap public undemanding university, bringing us into the school room with its comforting constitution, vigorous participation, diversified instructing kinds, and non-authoritarian academics. We keep on with the kids on category journeys and activities Days and during the trials of summer season holiday homework. We proportion the stories of her younger son and daughter as they react to eastern faculties, pals, and academics. via Benjamin we examine what it capability to be a mom in Japan--how minute information, corresponding to the best way moms arrange lunches for kids, mirror cultural understandings of kinfolk and schooling.

Table of Contents
Acknowledgments
1. Getting Started
2. Why examine jap Education?
three. day by day Routines
four. jointly in school, jointly in Life
five. A operating holiday and certain occasions
6. the 3 R's, eastern Style
7. the remainder of the Day
eight. Nagging, Preaching, and Discussions
nine. Enlisting Mothers' Efforts
10. schooling in eastern Society
eleven. issues and Suggestions
12. Sayonara
Appendix. interpreting and Writing in Japanese
References
Index

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Extra resources for Japanese Lessons: A Year in a Japanese School Through the Eyes of An American Anthropologist and Her Children

Sample text

The book ends with an overview of the role of education in modern Japan and the history of Japanese education. I offer some suggestions about what might be borrowed into American schools and in what form. The ethnographic bases for the conclusions presented in this work are the time I spent in Okubo Higashi School as a parent and as a recognized researcher; the written materials and communications from school collected over the course of the year; reactions to school events we experienced; reports on "what happened at school today"; interviews with Japanese parents, teachers and other adults, including some whose children had been in American schools; what we learned and experienced when our children were younger in Japan; participation in other Japanese groups; and friendships with Japanese people.

School, then, simply takes up more time for Japanese children than for American children. The importance of school, defining the Japanese child's status and occupation, is reflected in other ways too. One is that children are seldom identified by age but rather by grade in school. " A second sign of the importance of school and the occupation of being a schoolchild is all the equipment and specialized paraphernalia required for elementary school children, different from that used by older students or adults.

There is no sense of hurry or compulsion about getting things done exactly on the button, but the end result is that things are accomplished very smoothly and on schedule. A Full-Time Occupation Like other occupations in Japan, being an elementary schoolchild is considered a full-time job. This seems a reasonable assessment of the role school plays in the lives of children. Consider the days and hours that elementary school occupies. Elementary school is in session 240 days a year, for forty-one hours each week (less for first graders).

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