Thursday, 28 June 2012

and now I understand why....

Yesterday was school observation day, we had to go in for the last lesson of the day and watch the maths class. Ebi-kun doesn't like his maths class, don't get me wrong, he loves doing maths he just doesn't like the lesson, he says it is boring and after watching yesterdays class I have to agree.

At any given time there appeared to be only 3 or 4 kids actually paying attention to what sensei was talking about and very few were engaged with their work. I stood there just thinking to myself that Maria Montessori was so right and this method of teacher focused learning is so wrong. Instead of enjoying the class and actually learning, most of the kids were bored silly and shuffling around whatever was on their desk. When sensei asked questions he had to do so twice to get a decent response. 

Now, admittedly, this was just one lesson so after I quizzed Ebi-kun and it sounds like all the core subjects are taught in the same manner, not surprising really. I find it really disheartening that these kids can't reach their full potential because of the teaching methods applied, but what can I do? If there was a Montessori school or one of the other alternative methods of teaching schools near here, I would send Ebi-kun there in a shot. The alternative is home-schooling, which I would be happy to do BUT... although the elementary schools methods suck I can't teach him the things he needs to learn about living in a Japanese community. Obviously the language would be an issue and there are the cultural aspects of living in Japan that I can't teach his simple because I didn't grow up here, I don't know!

For example, each day 2 kids take charge of the class, they stand up at the start and end of every lesson and say something on the lines of we will study well and thank you for your lesson sensei. It happened to be Ebi-kuns turn, you can see him closing the day below. They also work together in small groups and have certain responsibilities that they have for the day.

Once class was dismissed, the kids were then sent off to watch a film whilst the parents attending a meeting, let's say, it was about as interesting as the maths lesson. THREE moms were sleeping as the sensei droned on, if I had been him, I would have given them detention, so rude of them. There were long drawn out explanations of the pieces of paper we were given and a details explanation about the summer holidays.

from an online dictionary
natsu yasumi:: summer vacation, rest, recess, respite, holiday, absence.
and here we have the schools definition

natsu yasumi:: shitloads of bloody homework and 5 days to go into school for swimming lessons
Unlike some places in the world, the kids here only get 5 weeks off, the last week of July and the whole of August. I don't remember the full details of the homework but it included, writing a full exercise book of writing practice, keeping a (drawn) picture diary each day, studying a morning glory plant for the whole holiday, maths and Japanese reading practice everyday and to do some kind of project which is presented in September at a fair.

And so he will have time for actual rest when? So, what they are actually saying is you have a shit load of work to do but you have to do it at home, not at school because the teachers are on their jolly holidays (see dictionary definition).

Sorry this has turned into a small rant! All this doesn't sit right with me, I am not convinced it is the best thing for Ebi-kun and right now I feel frustrated because I can't actually change anything. Please excuse me whilst I go to bang my head on the wall for a while....

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