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Topic: News From Japan
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Jerry P. Becker

Posts: 16,576
Registered: 12/3/04
News From Japan
Posted: Nov 18, 1998 10:25 PM
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Asahi Newspaper (Japan), November 14, 1998, Front page

[Translated by Mr. Kazuaki Uekawa.]

Note: The newspaper article appeared in the Asahi morning edition of
Saturday, November 14th. According to the article, The Ministry of
Education released the news to the press on Friday, November 13th.

Note: There was also a similar article in Yomiuri, another major paper, on
November 14th, but on p. 30. [In Japanese]

30% of elementary school students and 60% of junior high students don't
understand class instruction, it was found on November 13th, according to
the Ministry of Education's survey regarding the understanding of class
contents. "Ochikobore (droppers) students who do not understand classes
were found to constitute 70% of high school students, 50% of junior high
school students, and 30% of elementary students. This confirms a theory of
7-5-3 (that some people have told in the past in explaining the pattern of
how student understanding level decreases.). The Ministry of Education says
that (to tackle this problem) they will select the most elementary
curricular items in a new guildline and help teachers to do
"understandable" classes.

In Feburary the survey was done for the first time in four years and
students were asked about their understanding of teachers' instruction.
2300 students from 3rd grade and another 2300 from 5th grade, 2000
students from 8th grade, and 1600 students from the 11th grade participated.

Imagine a class of 40 students: the number of students who answered "I
understand the content of class very well" - 8 students at the elementary
level, two from the junior high, and one or 2 at the high school level.

Students who enjoy school life were 91% of elementary students, 66% of
junior high
students, and 55% of high school students, but 95% of the students said
"what they enjoy"
is "play with friends." Students who said "study is a fun" are 38% (3rd
graders), 20%
(5th graders), 9% (8th graders) and 7% (11th graders).

Note: 'Droppers' means those students who cannot follow (understand) the
topic taught.
This word "ochikobore" was often used in the New Math period of Japan
(namely, in the early 70's).

Jerry P. Becker
Dept. of Curriculum & Instruction
Southern Illinois University
Carbondale, IL 62901-4610 USA
Fax: (618)453-4244
Phone: (618)453-4241 (office)

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