Japan – Teaching Respect and Manners

What role do Japanese schools play in encouraging good manners? Japanese children are well known for being well-behaved and polite. In two Tokyo schools, Suginami Dai Elementary and Koenji Junior High, we find out what role Japanese schools play in encouraging good manners and an attitude of respect for others. We learn that a sense of obligation to help others is encouraged by getting the pupils to work in groups with particular responsibilities, including serving each other lunch, and cleaning the school buildings.
The Japanese Ministry of Education is torn between the importance of encouraging children’s individual strengths, and a fear that too much emphasis is now being placed on individual rights, so that young people no longer feel a sense of public duty. As a result, schools are putting increased emphasis on Moral Education lessons, and there’s great pressure on teachers to cultivate a sense of morality and citizenship.

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