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eely225



Joined: 23 May 2006
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Location: West Lafayette, IN
PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2017 1:27 pm Reply with quote
I imagine they're studying English, not American.

EDIT: I misread it, the author clearly meant "America" not "American"
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relyat08



Joined: 20 Mar 2013
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2017 2:30 pm Reply with quote
eely225 wrote:
I imagine they're studying English, not American.

EDIT: I misread it, the author clearly meant "America" not "American"


Yeah, I was confused at first as well, but it definitely should be America.
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EricJ2



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2017 3:05 pm Reply with quote
Back during the "Corporate-fear" 80's--when we were told how moms forced their kids onto the Fast Track since kindergarten age, and back when we were first finding out what Ami Mizuno meant when she always said she "had to go to cram school"--remember reading those articles on how some kids were supposedly getting better learning test-results at the cram schools than they were at rule-ritual regulated high schools.

Partly because of smaller class size, there was a little more personal attention for the teachers to help the students "get" the concepts, more interested student morale and motivation, less state-regulated clamping down on uniforms or sacrificing individualism for the school, and pretty much everything that the better American high schools had been doing right all along.
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chronos02



Joined: 25 Feb 2009
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2017 3:34 pm Reply with quote
As someone who attended all his school years within the same escalator institution, I can't really talk about the situation as a whole in my country, Spain, but I can say with confidence that I envy the school system they have in Japan, be it now, or back when I used to be in school.

First and foremost, schools here are either assigned by district, town, and/or proximity, and if they're out of space, well, you will probably need to take very long trips to your new school, and that will depend on your parents, since a child is mostly not allowed to go by itself on public transportation, for it might be dangerous for them (and most schools forbid the use of scooters). That is not to say there aren't private schools, but those are pretty expensive, and are mostly full, with years of reservation in advance (some parents reserve a slot for their child even before conceiving him or her); there are also hybrid private-public schools, but they have the same problems as the former.

In contrast, Japan (in my probably lacking knowledge) has schools divided by rank, and the student must make an effort to enter the school they want to, I'm not too clear on wether this applies to both public and private schools, but I was told that private schools, or some of them, will accept anyone, as long as the student can demonstrate their prowess in an entry exam (not requiring a recomendation from a teacher from the previous school, contrary to some public schools, or so I've heard). This is miles better than trying to enter a school you might not even be allowed to simply because the slots were reserved years before you were even born, or simply because the allotted spots have been filled and you'll need to attend a far away school, without any means to go there but your parents's car. In contrast, Japan has the best public transportation system, which, combined with Japan being one of the safest countries on earth, makes such a situation a trivial discomfort of having a slightly longuer trip (to our standards).

Now, regarding the cram schools, I must say I'm also quite envious of them too, living near Barcelona I had the best cram schools available in the whole country (some might argue Madrid should have better ones, but Barcelona being an International commercial hub, made it evolve further than the more traditional Madrid, though I am generalizing here), yet... they didn't hold a candle to the Japanese ones (I attended one back in 2005 due to several circumstances, and was made to visit a few others), be it installations, location, quality of study materials, teachers, regulations and systems, Japan was the clear winner as a whole. The students attended without issues and listened to the lessons, the teachers asked and followed the evolution of each student, and were even formal in their behavior and speech; on the other hand, back in Spain, most classes were noisy as hell, maintaining order was something akin to a pipe dream, listening in? no need, just give us the printouts, the teachers were mostly rude and unwilling to help in many situations, probably because they were fed up, and they held no respect for their students. Well, there were also some other "better" cram schools here, but those were tied to religious groups, were way too strict, extremely expensive (often having to flush 500€ per month), and had compulsory religious classes, they were also often not open to outsiders of certain schools, which made them kind of "secret" so to speak. And... well, there wasn't much of a difference between a student that attended cram school to one that didn't, so it was often believed that those that attended cram schools had problems with their studies, alas, that was not the case, since cram schools had different curriculums than the schools the students attended from, which is ridiculous, but... live with it.

Alltogether, Spain is a wreck in terms of education, plus there's a HUGE abyss between High School and University (Spain's system involves a national exam that every High School student must pass in order to attend university, and an average is calculated between both the marks in High School and this national exam, the final mark being key to access one institition or another, with crazy requirements such as Telecomunications Engineering demanding a 5 out of 10 (the minimum possible passing mark), while something as dumb as management asked an 11 out of 10 - it's possible to do multiple extra exams of other subjects to accumulate additional marks, up to 13 out of the usual 10-), this leap in level must be tackled by the student alone, and not a single cram school helps in this case. For instance, when entering telecomunication engineering, you're supposed to already know how to operate imaginary numbers, while in High School they're not even mentioned (and they still ask for the minimum mark...).

I'm sure the Japanese system has plenty of faults, but comparing it to Spain's... well... it looks like something out of a fairy tale (though I'm sure there are other places in a far worse situation than us).
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partially



Joined: 14 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2017 11:41 pm Reply with quote
I cannot speak much for Japan. But certainly in China "cram schools" and the like are almost a requirement among the educated. Many schools operate by a fairly strict curriculum, and a set period to get through it. So if you do not understand something, often you cannot get extra assistance within the classroom as the teacher will be pushing through the required material. Seldom due to large class-sizes will teachers be looking at individual work within class time. Which is probably somewhat similar to Japan, as I hear they have large classes too.

So if you miss content, or are a slower learner, you are simply left further and further behind. Extra classes and "cram schools" are therefore pretty much the norm. Students are expected to attend additional after-school and evening schooling. I heard from both teachers and students that many students will attend school and after school "schools" from about 7 in the morning, until between 7 and 10 in the evening. So your entire live literally revolves around getting an education.
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Tempest_Wing



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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 4:46 am Reply with quote
I wonder if the schooling itself had a part to play in Japan's current birthrate. Did these people who grew up in the 80s and 90s in Japan ever have a life beyond going to school and studying? It seems like whats happening in China now where kids wake up at 4 in the morning and go to bed at 11 at night doing nothing but studying is what Japan was like 20-30 years ago. I mean seriously? A cram school to be able to ace an entrance exam to a goddamn high school?! Maybe i'm wrong but the idea of cram school just seems like a holdover from that time when "my kids HAVE to be the best in school" was the prevalent philosophy. Now don't get me wrong schooling is important, but there are other things a child needs to be a well rounded individual besides schooling.
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Merengues.Pop



Joined: 20 Mar 2015
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:33 am Reply with quote
Tempest_Wing wrote:
I wonder if the schooling itself had a part to play in Japan's current birthrate. Did these people who grew up in the 80s and 90s in Japan ever have a life beyond going to school and studying? It seems like whats happening in China now where kids wake up at 4 in the morning and go to bed at 11 at night doing nothing but studying is what Japan was like 20-30 years ago. I mean seriously? A cram school to be able to ace an entrance exam to a goddamn high school?! Maybe i'm wrong but the idea of cram school just seems like a holdover from that time when "my kids HAVE to be the best in school" was the prevalent philosophy. Now don't get me wrong schooling is important, but there are other things a child needs to be a well rounded individual besides schooling.


I agree, but its hard to change the way of thinking of people. I also agree that children need to develop in more ways than simply cramming as much info as they can into their head. In the end, it's also less effective to force all the info-dump instead of guiding children to learn for themselves.

Some private schools in North America have figured it out, and have their students develop not only academically, and that makes better students. Back in HS I made it into quite exclusive private one (We had to take a SAT-like test and score at least 1000 of 1600 to get in), but they had a lot of focus in other stuff other than studying. We did have classes from 8 to 2, but then we had to take an elective on culture (either music, crafts, folkloric dance, chess, etc.) and join one of the sport teams (it didn't matter if you sucked, you had to join unless some extreme problem). So we mainly stayed at school until 6 or even more if you preferred to use the library for homeworks, but more than a chore most of us really enjoyed it. I preferred being there than at my home for sure.

It really makes a difference, children are not only well versed in academic stuff, but develop better social skills for their adult life and have healthier live styles... When I got to college it really made it quite easier than for most. And overall me and my classmates found more success in professional life than guys from the cramming culture.
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starlightshine



Joined: 20 Nov 2016
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 5:55 am Reply with quote
Not talking about Japan, but the most well-known and notorious example of Asian cram schools has to be South Korea. There were over 70000 hagwons (cram schools) in Korea in 2008; I'd imagine the number has risen by now. Kids are generally expected to go to these hagwons, and it's gotten bad enough that Korea has implemented a curfew for hagwons (to what extent it's implemented is another question). Korea incidentally also has regulations restricting air travel during university entrance exams, police will drive late students to their examination venues, and also has one of the highest suicide rates (teen and otherwise) in the world.

I come from Singapore, where we're also known as a 'Tuition Nation' because of the high amount of kids who have tuition outside of school. 7 in 10 parents send their kids to tuition, and it's not necessarily because their children are falling behind in studies - many kids have tuition to improve their already good grades. (As an aside, I remember my teacher told me about a time he taught at a primary school and asked his class how many of them had tuition - and all but one raised their hands. Even I had tuition before myself.) Tuition is a billion-dollar industry here, with a few tutors even making a million a year, and it's no surprise to see school teachers quitting their jobs and becoming tuition teachers. Teen suicide rate last year was also the highest in 15 years.

TL;DR: some Asian countries be taking education a bit too seriously
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SaneSavantElla



Joined: 25 Jan 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 9:47 am Reply with quote
This is becoming popular even in relatively poorer countries like the Philippines. "Review centers" started out offering one-on-one tutorials for "hard" subjects like math and science, then eventually expanded to refresher courses for entrance exams to the most popular colleges and high schools in the country. And I do believe there are some offering cram school style classes these days.

I remember my classmates telling me I was so lucky to be able to get into those popular high schools and colleges without my parents having to pay a cent for a refresher course (they are very expensive!). The review centers are so effective that, in many cases, it's the only difference between a pass and a failure for students who are otherwise equally intelligent and hardworking.

Sometimes it becomes frustrating to see these high schools and colleges (which offer the best education in the country virtually for free, which is why they have entrance exams) get filled with rich kids who got in there with the help of these review centers. It's not like they've done anything wrong, but when I imagine the scores of poor hardworking students out there losing their slots to these rich students who idle their way through their free college education... hrmm Confused
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Afezeria



Joined: 20 Aug 2015
Posts: 507
Location: Malaysia, Kuantan.
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 7:08 pm Reply with quote
I don't have much to comment about the topic in question because it's always gonna come down to different parents wanting to teach their children in the method that they've desired, and the general awareness for obeying their own specific cultures as Chinese had always been known to be very strict when it comes to education, for example. It is overwhelming for sure for the kids, but their parents decided everything for them and if they are paying to scale up their children's stress meter, then so be it. It's always started off with good intentions at heart, but there's always gonna be another method if you've tried looking hard enough that doesn't involved in the increasing suicide rate. All that left is to take lesson regarding this matter and avoid having your kids in similar affair in the future. Because studying isn't everything and they've need your love too instead of letting some exam papers being stickied to their faces all the time, for god sake.
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leafy sea dragon



Joined: 27 Oct 2009
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 4:48 am Reply with quote
chronos02 wrote:
First and foremost, schools here are either assigned by district, town, and/or proximity, and if they're out of space, well, you will probably need to take very long trips to your new school, and that will depend on your parents, since a child is mostly not allowed to go by itself on public transportation, for it might be dangerous for them (and most schools forbid the use of scooters). That is not to say there aren't private schools, but those are pretty expensive, and are mostly full, with years of reservation in advance (some parents reserve a slot for their child even before conceiving him or her); there are also hybrid private-public schools, but they have the same problems as the former.

Now, regarding the cram schools, I must say I'm also quite envious of them too, living near Barcelona I had the best cram schools available in the whole country (some might argue Madrid should have better ones, but Barcelona being an International commercial hub, made it evolve further than the more traditional Madrid, though I am generalizing here), yet... they didn't hold a candle to the Japanese ones (I attended one back in 2005 due to several circumstances, and was made to visit a few others), be it installations, location, quality of study materials, teachers, regulations and systems, Japan was the clear winner as a whole. The students attended without issues and listened to the lessons, the teachers asked and followed the evolution of each student, and were even formal in their behavior and speech; on the other hand, back in Spain, most classes were noisy as hell, maintaining order was something akin to a pipe dream, listening in? no need, just give us the printouts, the teachers were mostly rude and unwilling to help in many situations, probably because they were fed up, and they held no respect for their students. Well, there were also some other "better" cram schools here, but those were tied to religious groups, were way too strict, extremely expensive (often having to flush 500€ per month), and had compulsory religious classes, they were also often not open to outsiders of certain schools, which made them kind of "secret" so to speak. And... well, there wasn't much of a difference between a student that attended cram school to one that didn't, so it was often believed that those that attended cram schools had problems with their studies, alas, that was not the case, since cram schools had different curriculums than the schools the students attended from, which is ridiculous, but... live with it.


It's much the same in the United States too, at least in big cities (though it may vary between school districts). We were assigned schools too, though because I was part of a sub-program in the district, my middle school and high school were about 13 to 15 miles away (about 25 to 28 kilometers), as opposed to the schools which would've been assigned to me otherwise, which were a quarter of the distance--those schools were the closest ones that had the program. That being said, we do have a school bus system, and I took the bus home each day, though they became increasingly unreliable as the years went on so my parents would drive me to school instead as they didn't want me waking up at 3 AM just to ride a bus for four hours. (For some reason, one of my bus drivers would always get us to the school 2 minutes before class began, and it caused some of the kids on the bus to be late because they couldn't get to their first classes on time. As a result, someone in charge moved the schedule back 15 minutes, and this caused the driver to spend 15 minutes more on the route. They'd move it back further and further until the 90 minutes became the four hours it became. She was a very sweet woman, but she was committed to getting us there 2 minutes before class began and was very consistent about it, to where she would drive around blocks to kill time.)

As for teachers, if yours were anything like mine, they started out caring very much about their students but became apathetic and jaded over the years. It's probably the culture, but most of the students had zero interest in doing well in school, preferring to make life as difficult as possible for the teachers. I've always wondered how our schools wound up with a culture like what I saw whereas schools in Japan and Korea and such have such well-behaved students. My first guess is still the one I'm more sure about, but I am not at all certain on it: In both cases, behavior of a few students spread to the entire system and became the norm. I'm more puzzled by the peaceful behavior of east Asian students though. Aren't teenagers supposed to have a naturally rebellious phase?

Tempest_Wing wrote:
I wonder if the schooling itself had a part to play in Japan's current birthrate. Did these people who grew up in the 80s and 90s in Japan ever have a life beyond going to school and studying? It seems like whats happening in China now where kids wake up at 4 in the morning and go to bed at 11 at night doing nothing but studying is what Japan was like 20-30 years ago. I mean seriously? A cram school to be able to ace an entrance exam to a goddamn high school?! Maybe i'm wrong but the idea of cram school just seems like a holdover from that time when "my kids HAVE to be the best in school" was the prevalent philosophy. Now don't get me wrong schooling is important, but there are other things a child needs to be a well rounded individual besides schooling.


The program I mentioned prior is an accelerated learning one (which, in hindsight, meant nothing to colleges or employers), so that was basically what I went through too, only I didn't have time for cram schools (not that anyone would willingly admit to going to one anyway, between it meaning "fell behind" and "more school") because we were given 3 to 4 hours of homework every day and also had the if-you're-absent-you'll-fall-behind scheme.

If or when I have kids, I will never subject them through this, because the result was that I graduated high school with little to no life skills. The whole program was meant to streamline the students to go to prestigious universities, under the idea that degrees from those institutions would be the ticket to high-paying jobs. Life skills, social skills, and street smarts were pushed far to the wayside as the people running the program felt that the program eliminated the need for such things.

In other words, well-rounded individuals are not what these education systems are meant to produce. They're meant to min-max the students towards a high-income career.

That being said, my school day began at 7:45 AM and ended at 3:37 PM, or almost eight hours. (Based on those times, you could probably narrow it down to the specific school.) The reason they were so long was that the high school's administration somehow got about 7,000 students total (they're given government funding based on the student population, so I suspect they did this to channel in as much money as possible), and they couldn't fit them allin at once and thus created three tracks, with two tracks in the school at a time. This meant we had to have 4 months of vacation throughout the year, but it also meant the days had to be longer to fulfill the district's quota of hours per year.

SaneSavantElla wrote:
Sometimes it becomes frustrating to see these high schools and colleges (which offer the best education in the country virtually for free, which is why they have entrance exams) get filled with rich kids who got in there with the help of these review centers. It's not like they've done anything wrong, but when I imagine the scores of poor hardworking students out there losing their slots to these rich students who idle their way through their free college education... hrmm Confused


That has always annoyed me too--as someone from a low-income family, and a family with no prior experience in navigating the American education system, I had to crawl up on my own, and I found myself surrounded by rich kids all the time, and I kept finding people who've never felt any real hardship in their lives. Their parents would provide them with everything they needed and everything they wanted.

Do you know about how in northern India, there's been a rash of rich kids paying to cheat on their entrance exams? There's stuff like hiring a different person to take the test for them, bribing the examiners, even so much as assassination of other examinees. The way those exams work is that the scores are ranked from top to bottom with the top X passing, so the people taking these tests who can't afford those means to cheat (or are morally against cheating) are at a terrible disadvantage. Even worse, I'd say, is that if these incompetent people get admitted in and remain incompetent by not paying attention and paying to cheat some more, then you're going to get incompetent people in the workforce. I certainly do not want to be treated by an incompetent doctor or ride a plane with an incompetent pilot, for one...
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EricJ2



Joined: 01 Feb 2014
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 5:27 am Reply with quote
leafy sea dragon wrote:
As for teachers, if yours were anything like mine, they started out caring very much about their students but became apathetic and jaded over the years. It's probably the culture, but most of the students had zero interest in doing well in school, preferring to make life as difficult as possible for the teachers. I've always wondered how our schools wound up with a culture like what I saw whereas schools in Japan and Korea and such have such well-behaved students.


Japanese teachers are allowed to be more personally responsible for bossing the parents around about their kids, instead of vice versa being the plague in American schools, since the culture emphasizes that it's your fault if you don't do well, not authority's:
In anime, it's a beloved cliche'-trope if tough bored/frustrated Japanese HS teachers pitch a blackboard eraser at an inattentive kid's head, in the US, he'd be fired within minutes.
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John Jones



Joined: 06 Feb 2017
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 11:28 pm Reply with quote
In years of reading about this topic I've never been able to get a straight answer as to the quality of Japanese schools that isn't tied up the tired old racist trope shit about the Japanese hive mind. I'd say bonus points for the proverb of the nail getting hammered down being mentioned but that's basically a guarantee so no point
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DerekL1963
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 1:22 am Reply with quote
leafy sea dragon wrote:
Aren't teenagers supposed to have a naturally rebellious phase?


In the US it was taken as given that said rebellion could be thwarted. Then discipline went out of fashion... And I'm not speaking of corporal punishment alone, but of self discipline as well. All the teachers I know tell the same story - of kids arriving at school undisciplined and uncontrollable.

Quote:
If or when I have kids, I will never subject them through this, because the result was that I graduated high school with little to no life skills. The whole program was meant to streamline the students to go to prestigious universities, under the idea that degrees from those institutions would be the ticket to high-paying jobs. Life skills, social skills, and street smarts were pushed far to the wayside as the people running the program felt that the program eliminated the need for such things.

In other words, well-rounded individuals are not what these education systems are meant to produce.


o.0 U.S. public education has never been about providing students with life skills or street smarts, and only peripherally with social skills (in the form of manners, though this too has fallen by the wayside).
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leafy sea dragon



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 2:28 am Reply with quote
Well, when I mean "this," I mean the particular accelerated learning program. It was completely about getting the students in this program into good universities, under the idea that a good degree from a good university will automatically lead to a high-paying job, and when you have money, you don't need to worry about anything else. The person who ran the system kept talking about degree = job, and I only learned after getting said degree that it's not how the world works. On top of that, the program didn't produce higher achievers, higher earners, or more influential people than those not in the program. It just produced people who were good at taking standardized tests and writing essays.

I think what frustrated me further was that we were required to take a life skills class, only nothing was actually taught in it. From what I hear, the standard for life skills classes are the basics in searching for jobs and how job interviews work, the sort of things adults have to pay for, how to do your taxes, and such. The one I took was built under the assumption we already knew how to do those things--while I don't doubt that some of my classmates were already prepared, I wasn't, as neither of my parents took normal trajectories in their lives and so there was no one in my life to learn them from.
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