As parents, and grandparents for that matter, we consider it to be a bit of a rite of passage to tell our children just how easy they have it compared to what we went through at their age. File this under the “when I was your age, I had to walk 2 miles to school each day, uphill both ways” category. And school rules are definitely not exempt from this category, by any stretch. Adults of a [ahem] certain age can easily call to mind that our playgrounds weren’t lined with soft, cushy materials, but rather gravel and bark that claimed many a scraped knee. And grandparents will regale their grandchildren with stories of teachers who took no “funny business” from the kids in the class, and instilled a sense of unquestioned authority and command not often shared by today’s classroom teachers. Yes, the proverbial pendulum often swings hard and fast in the opposite direction when it comes to daily life. But the stories of our American elders have nothing on the school rules of today, in countries like Japan.
This article discussing 8 Japanese School Rules that Would Never Fly in America outlines differences in our educational culture, compared with Japan’s, including seemingly simple things like the prevalence of uniforms and school rules about required greetings, to more complex things like the way Japanese schools handle general clean up and care-taking of the school facilities.
There are many things that can be gleaned from Japan’s school rules, but adaptation in American schools is probably not likely. Even in charter schools and private schools, which are often able to create their own sets of student expectations and school rules, it would require a major change of thinking to adopt Japanese school rules like Saturday school lessons and student-and-teacher-led clean up policies. But, just ask your grandparents or parents and you’ll soon find out, you just never know how far and how fast the pendulum might swing!