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Old 2008-08-04, 01:14   Link #1
Autumn Demon
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Ithaca, NY
Age: 25
School in Japan

I have a bunch of questions about what school is like in Japan.

How does a typical school day in Japan go structure wise? For example, in America it's common for middle and high schools to work on nine period days, where each period is a different class with different people. From watching anime it seems like it isn't like that at all in Japan, but rather each grade/year is divided up into classes (of how many students?) and each class spends the (entire?) day together learning from different teachers. Is that all correct? And also, does each class move from room to room depending on what they're learning or do the teachers move around and the students stay in the same classroom all day?

What are the core subjects in Japan? For example, in America I would say they are English, math, science, history, and foreign language.

Do students have a choice of which classes they take? For example in America students can often choose from many electives such as art, cooking, shop, band, chorus, orchestra, economics, journalism, computer science, statistics, psychology, etc.

Can students choose which second or third language they take? Which languages can students usually choose from?

Can students take advanced/honors courses?

Do elementary, jr. high, and high school all operate on trimester years?

I know high school isn't mandatory, but is it free for everyone?

What are the typical costs for private school and university?

Are grades important for getting into high school/university or is it just entrance exams that count?

The rest of the questions are more trivial:

About what percent of japanese schools have swimming pools and require their students to take swimming classes?

How many students would a typical elementary, jr. high, and high school have?

Are school grounds usually surrounded by walls with a gate at the entrance that closes when classes start?

Do most schools have flat roofs that students are allowed to go on?

Do all schools require students to do chores before and after school?

About what percent of schools require their students to wear uniforms?

Does every school have 7 mysteries?

How rare is it to see a teacher throw chalk at a student?

Do students really have to memorize square root values of non-perfect squares in math class? (The square root of 2 is 1.4142 for example.)

At what times does school usually start and end?
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Old 2008-08-04, 03:29   Link #2
oompa loompa
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Autumn Demon View Post
I have a bunch of questions about what school is like in Japan.

How does a typical school day in Japan go structure wise? For example, in America it's common for middle and high schools to work on nine period days, where each period is a different class with different people. From watching anime it seems like it isn't like that at all in Japan, but rather each grade/year is divided up into classes (of how many students?) and each class spends the (entire?) day together learning from different teachers. Is that all correct? And also, does each class move from room to room depending on what they're learning or do the teachers move around and the students stay in the same classroom all day?

What are the core subjects in Japan? For example, in America I would say they are English, math, science, history, and foreign language.

Do students have a choice of which classes they take? For example in America students can often choose from many electives such as art, cooking, shop, band, chorus, orchestra, economics, journalism, computer science, statistics, psychology, etc.

Can students choose which second or third language they take? Which languages can students usually choose from?

Can students take advanced/honors courses?

Do elementary, jr. high, and high school all operate on trimester years?

I know high school isn't mandatory, but is it free for everyone?

What are the typical costs for private school and university?

Are grades important for getting into high school/university or is it just entrance exams that count?

The rest of the questions are more trivial:

About what percent of japanese schools have swimming pools and require their students to take swimming classes?

How many students would a typical elementary, jr. high, and high school have?

Are school grounds usually surrounded by walls with a gate at the entrance that closes when classes start?

Do most schools have flat roofs that students are allowed to go on?

Do all schools require students to do chores before and after school?

About what percent of schools require their students to wear uniforms?

Does every school have 7 mysteries?

How rare is it to see a teacher throw chalk at a student?

Do students really have to memorize square root values of non-perfect squares in math class? (The square root of 2 is 1.4142 for example.)

At what times does school usually start and end?
well.. technically speaking, you cant really memorize the square root of two

well, if what you know is from anime, youll find a few of your questions are answered in anime itself ( though im extremely skeptical on how realistically they portray actual school life.) anyways, heres what you can pick up from anime -

normally, teachers move into classrooms, rather than students moving to different classes, well for the most part of their schooling atleast.

secondly, yes, the majority of schools do have uniforms. its like that in a lot of the world ( all of south asia for example).

There is course/stream specialization at high school level.

They already have a mandatory second language to learn, english. and i tink its unreasonable to expect them all to learn a third language as well dont you think? ( not to say that people dont... )

I draw a lot of parallells from the schooling system that i graduated from. It also makes me wish that I graduated from an IB or American system sometimes. oh well. Ill post some real facts about the schooling system later

Last edited by oompa loompa; 2008-08-04 at 05:07.
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Old 2008-08-04, 03:37   Link #3
-KarumA-
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: In Maya world, where all is 3D and everything crashes
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Autumn Demon View Post
I have a bunch of questions about what school is like in Japan.

How does a typical school day in Japan go structure wise? For example, in America it's common for middle and high schools to work on nine period days, where each period is a different class with different people. From watching anime it seems like it isn't like that at all in Japan, but rather each grade/year is divided up into classes (of how many students?) and each class spends the (entire?) day together learning from different teachers. Is that all correct? And also, does each class move from room to room depending on what they're learning or do the teachers move around and the students stay in the same classroom all day?

What are the core subjects in Japan? For example, in America I would say they are English, math, science, history, and foreign language.

Do students have a choice of which classes they take? For example in America students can often choose from many electives such as art, cooking, shop, band, chorus, orchestra, economics, journalism, computer science, statistics, psychology, etc.

Can students choose which second or third language they take? Which languages can students usually choose from?

Can students take advanced/honors courses?

Do elementary, jr. high, and high school all operate on trimester years?

I know high school isn't mandatory, but is it free for everyone?

What are the typical costs for private school and university?

Are grades important for getting into high school/university or is it just entrance exams that count?

The rest of the questions are more trivial:

About what percent of japanese schools have swimming pools and require their students to take swimming classes?

How many students would a typical elementary, jr. high, and high school have?

Are school grounds usually surrounded by walls with a gate at the entrance that closes when classes start?

Do most schools have flat roofs that students are allowed to go on?

Do all schools require students to do chores before and after school?

About what percent of schools require their students to wear uniforms?

Does every school have 7 mysteries?

How rare is it to see a teacher throw chalk at a student?

Do students really have to memorize square root values of non-perfect squares in math class? (The square root of 2 is 1.4142 for example.)

At what times does school usually start and end?

read this =3 it answers most of your questions about subjects, costs, cleaning in classrooms etc.

http://www.bookmice.net/darkchilde/japan/classroom.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Education_in_Japan

other answers: schools have flat roofs yes but access to them normally isn't allowed
chores is only after school, though soemtimes you have to set the tables, chairs etc.

a school without uniforms is VERY rare

school is never free but you have to do highschool according to law (its the same here), it is after upper secondary highschool that you can stop studying to work fulltime or that you, during those last years do entrance exams for university. this is why japanese study so hard because getting in the best university is hard
schools there use three periods instead of four (so no trimester), 1st term is from April to mid July (depending on the summer holiday start date), second is late September to December and final term is from January to begin March with spring break followed. graduation is done in March and enrollment in April

swimming is very populair in highschools etc. there is always a swimming club (they are n.o. 1 picks for after school club activities)
students learn how to swim in kindergarden

as for the entrance exams, you take two tests. one is an actual test and int he second is an examination to see if you are capable to enrol, meanign they look at your older grades, if they are low then you won't be allowed to enter no matter how high you scored on yoru entrance exam

Last edited by -KarumA-; 2008-08-04 at 04:02.
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Old 2008-08-04, 07:14   Link #4
Anh_Minh
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Originally Posted by oompa loompa View Post
They already have a mandatory second language to learn, english. and i tink its unreasonable to expect them all to learn a third language as well dont you think? ( not to say that people dont... )
Why? In France, two foreign languages are mandatory.
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Old 2008-08-04, 07:48   Link #5
-KarumA-
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Why? In France, two foreign languages are mandatory.
in our school you get to do three if you're in the higher up classes X3 heck even 5 if you count latin and greek
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Old 2008-08-04, 07:58   Link #6
Anh_Minh
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You can do, or you must do?
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Old 2008-08-04, 08:19   Link #7
oompa loompa
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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
Why? In France, two foreign languages are mandatory.
I never argued with that..Two languages are mandatory in most countries. i had 3 languages mandatory uptil the 8th grade, and had to continue 2 uptil the 10th. my point is, with two languages already mandatory, there is much much less pressure to pursue another language. In my case, ( as well as most people who graduated with me ) you only took the two mandatory languages ( hindi and english in my case ) really seriously, while the curriculum for 3rd was signlificantly easier. Frankly speaking, its very very difficult to juggle 3 languages at a higher level, and most kids would opt out of it. I did say that ' not that people dont.. ( learn another language ) as well
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Old 2008-08-04, 08:19   Link #8
LiberLibri
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Autumn Demon View Post
..but rather each grade/year is divided up into classes (of how many students?) and each class spends the (entire?) day together learning from different teachers. Is that all correct?
Yes. But in some advanced schools adopt ability-based classification; with respect to Math and English in particular, it is effective to re-organise the teaching unit according to the students' understanding. The number of pupils varies from a school to another, cities and rural districts. In Tokyo, a grade has usually 2-3 hundreds pupils, divided into 5-7 classes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Autumn Demon View Post
And also, does each class move from room to room depending on what they're learning or do the teachers move around and the students stay in the same classroom all day?
Some classes unavoidably require students to make trip; music, science, PE etc. But on normal subjects it is more efficient for the teacher alone to move than demanding it to the whole students.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Autumn Demon View Post
What are the core subjects in Japan? For example, in America I would say they are English, math, science, history, and foreign language.
The Cabinet Directive of 2003 requires high school students to learn at least the following subjects:

Japanese
English or any another foreign language
Mathematics
World History
Either Japanese History or Geography
Either Philosophy or Political Schience & Economics
Three from Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geology & Astronomy or Fundamental Science
Physical Education
One from Music, Visual Arts, Crafts or Calligraphy
Home Economics
Computer

However, students rather focus on the subjects they must pass in the entrance examination to university.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Autumn Demon View Post
Do students have a choice of which classes they take? For example in America students can often choose from many electives such as art, cooking, shop, band, chorus, orchestra, economics, journalism, computer science, statistics, psychology, etc.
Yes. They make decisions according to their interests and expecting careers. The latitude of choice is much narrower than in the US, though. We have no cooking or orchestra class; if you want, you do as Club activity (bukatsu).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Autumn Demon View Post
Can students choose which second or third language they take? Which languages can students usually choose from?
Some students like to learn French and German. But most ones are suffocated only with English. You know how hard it is for Japanese people to learn English when you learn Japanese...

Japanese Class mentioned above contains the grammar of ancient Chinese as well as classic Japanese. I cannot understand modern Chinese at all, but I can read archaic continental poems.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Autumn Demon View Post
Can students take advanced/honors courses?
Yes. Some schools offer special courses for the gifted. You see, in Suzumiya Haruhi, Koizumi takes such course.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Autumn Demon View Post
What are the typical costs for private school and university?
According to the statistics of 2007, the average cost per annum is, in JPY,
high school: 851,256
university: 1,146,533 (humanity and social science), 1,498,096 (engineering and natural science), 5,103,734 (medical)

Last edited by LiberLibri; 2008-08-04 at 08:31.
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Old 2008-08-04, 08:28   Link #9
Anh_Minh
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Originally Posted by oompa loompa View Post
I never argued with that..Two languages are mandatory in most countries. i had 3 languages mandatory uptil the 8th grade, and had to continue 2 uptil the 10th. my point is, with two languages already mandatory, there is much much less pressure to pursue another language. In my case, ( as well as most people who graduated with me ) you only took the two mandatory languages ( hindi and english in my case ) really seriously, while the curriculum for 3rd was signlificantly easier. Frankly speaking, its very very difficult to juggle 3 languages at a higher level, and most kids would opt out of it. I did say that ' not that people dont.. ( learn another language ) as well
And we're required, from grade 8 to 12, to learn two foreign languages. (We just do it very badly.)
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Old 2008-08-04, 08:29   Link #10
oompa loompa
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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
And we're required, from grade 8 to 12, to learn two foreign languages. (We just do it very badly.)
I think were both saying the same thing - learning a lot of languages is not an easy busniess , and that 2 languages , (native, and english ) is fairly normal. Picking up a third language seriously is not an easy choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LiberLibri View Post
The Cabinet Directive of 2003 requires high school students to learn at least the following subjects:

Japanese
English or any another foreign language
Mathematics
World History
Either Japanese History or Geography
Either Philosophy or Political Schience & Economics
Three from Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Geology & Astronomy or Fundamental Science
Physical Education
One from Music, Visual Arts, Crafts or Calligraphy
Home Economics
Computer

However, students rather focus on the subjects they must pass in the entrance examination to the university.
)
I have a question about that, is it like that all the way till their 3rd year of high school? Or is there some sort of stream seperation, i.e for humanities, science etc. for the last 2 years?. Having looked at that, it could get quite rough taking that many subjects, i'm curious to see a regular schools syllabus now
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Old 2008-08-04, 08:42   Link #11
Anh_Minh
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Originally Posted by oompa loompa View Post
I think were both saying the same thing - learning a lot of languages is not an easy busniess , and that 2 languages , (native, and english ) is fairly normal. Picking up a third language seriously is not an easy choice.
No, I'm saying that, despite your claim it's "unreasonable", we must learn two foreign languages, in addition to the native one.
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Old 2008-08-04, 09:05   Link #12
-KarumA-
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You can do, or you must do?
must depends if your doing gymnasium or one below it either way you must do it
gymnasium has the english, french, dutch, greek and latin where as the one lower level which we call vwo has english, french and german
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Old 2008-08-04, 09:09   Link #13
LiberLibri
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oompa loompa View Post
I have a question about that, is it like that all the way till their 3rd year of high school? Or is there some sort of stream seperation, i.e for humanities, science etc. for the last 2 years?. Having looked at that, it could get quite rough taking that many subjects, i'm curious to see a regular schools syllabus now
High school students select their course at the end of 1st year; either Bunkei (humanities & social science) or Rikei (engineering, natural and medical science). Both course have common subjects but the contents of each subjects differ. For instance, the former do not learn partial differentiation or matrix calculation in Math.

Every school has different timetable, but as an example (of 2nd year):

Normal Course


Special Course


国語 Japanese
体育 P.E.
保健 Health Science
現代文 Modern Japanese
古典 Classic Japanese and Chinese
数学 Mathematics
生物 Biology
英語 English Reading
ライティング English Composition
世界史 World History
日本史 Japanese History
演習 Practical Lesson
創造 Creative Class
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Old 2008-08-04, 09:14   Link #14
oompa loompa
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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
No, I'm saying that, despite your claim it's "unreasonable", we must learn two foreign languages, in addition to the native one.
Sorry didnt read the last post properly, i stand corrected. i still do think its unreasonable to do 3 languages simultaneously properly, but i suppose thats a different issue.
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Old 2008-08-04, 09:19   Link #15
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Originally Posted by Anh_Minh View Post
No, I'm saying that, despite your claim it's "unreasonable", we must learn two foreign languages, in addition to the native one.
All students in EU are required to master two languages used there other than the mother tongue, right?

According to the EuroBarometer, 34% of French people know English, and 10% do Spanish. I wonder what the rest do, and how the minority languages such as Català and Breton are treated in France.
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Old 2008-08-04, 09:49   Link #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiberLibri View Post
All students in EU are required to master two languages used there other than the mother tongue, right?

According to the EuroBarometer, 34% of French people know English, and 10% do Spanish. I wonder what the rest do, and how the minority languages such as Català and Breton are treated in France.
yes that's right. I'm required to study english and french. but there are some schools that require german instead of french (or english).
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Old 2008-08-04, 10:21   Link #17
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Originally Posted by LiberLibri View Post
All students in EU are required to master two languages used there other than the mother tongue, right?

According to the EuroBarometer, 34% of French people know English, and 10% do Spanish. I wonder what the rest do, and how the minority languages such as Català and Breton are treated in France.
I'm in Britain, and for the first three years of school we 'HAD' to take lessons on the French and German languages. After those three years my year group was the first year group that did not have to choose a language to learn after 'Year 9' for GCSE's. I chose not to learn a language as they were not my strong point, so instead I chose Drama....etc. But in those first three years in which you go into secondary school you have no way of dropping those two foreign language sessions, unless ofcourse one finds it 'extremely' difficult, too much to handle, and is spending a lot of their time in trying to learn the specified language and it is affecting how they are doing in other lessons and exams.

That was sometimes the case within my school.
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Old 2008-08-04, 10:22   Link #18
-KarumA-
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiberLibri View Post
All students in EU are required to master two languages used there other than the mother tongue, right?

According to the EuroBarometer, 34% of French people know English, and 10% do Spanish. I wonder what the rest do, and how the minority languages such as Català and Breton are treated in France.
yep English is always standard. Here we had our mother language, English class and in the first 2 years of highschool French and German, in the last two where you get to pick special courses you'll need to chose between French and German. Unless you're in the more intelligent class then you keep both and if you're even higher you can add Greek and Ancient Latin to it X3
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Old 2008-08-04, 10:32   Link #19
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Originally Posted by LiberLibri View Post
All students in EU are required to master two languages used there other than the mother tongue, right?
Well, in Hungary, we must master one foreign language, however two is recommended, but not necessary.
But I think Hungary is not considered to be a 'normal' EU country (due to "certain circumstances"... hell even Romania is richer than us now! ...Don't take it offensively, Patrunjelu.)
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Old 2008-08-04, 10:41   Link #20
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@ solais - don't worry, no offense taken
I know that Romania is known to be a poor country. The bad thing though is that no one is trying to fix that... too bad. Soon every Romanian will leave our country leaving nothing but dust behind. Can't blame them though... I intend to do the same thing :\
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