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Did you see the terrible story in the newspapers about the boy in Osaka who killed himself because he had been physically abused by his teacher? The teacher said he was doing it to make the boy stronger. Mayor Hashimoto apparently apologised to the boy’s parents, although he admitted that he himself used to be in favour of the use of corporal punishment in schools.
Before I came to Japan, I read a book about the country’s education system. I remember reading that it was common for teachers to hit students, and that most Japanese people believed that this was an appropriate method of discipline. I remember reading one shocking story about a teacher who closed the school gate on the head of a young boy because he was late. The boy died, and the most surprising thing was that in his speech to the school afterwards, the principal basically said it was the boy’s own fault for being late!
I guess that this idea of discipline through punishment comes from the military. It is the same in the West, although there have been a lot of scandals concerning abuse in the army over the last few years, so even that is starting to change.
When I was young, it was quite common for teachers to hit students who misbehaved. When I was in primary school, our teacher used to hit our hands with a ruler. If we had done something very bad, we would be called out to the front of the class or into her room to receive our punishment.
I remember we had one teacher in high school who used to throw his board duster at students. He hit one of my friends on the forehead with it, and it left a big cut that started bleeding. I don’t think anyone said anything to the teacher or made any complaint.
Of course, everything is different now, and teachers in UK schools are not allowed even to touch students, never mind hit them. Some people believe that this change has had a negative effect on education, but it has definitely stopped a lot of dangerous abuse.
I guess that things are starting to change slowly in Japan as well, although it seems that there is still a problem, especially in the sports clubs. I have included a survey this week because I would like to get a sense of how Japanese parents feel about corporal punishment. I would also like to hear stories from your own schooldays.
Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
PS Someone asked me recently where I get the images for this blog. When I started, I used to get them from Google Images, but I realised that it is illegal to use other people’s images without their permission. Many bloggers do it, and most get away with it, but I didn’t want to take the chance. Now, I use a site called “Photos.com.” It costs about 5000 yen for a pack of 50 downloads. Whenever I do a new entry, I just go the site, search for an appropriate picture, and then download it. When I run out of downloads, I will just buy another pack of 50.
このブログは英語学習者のためのものです。レベルの高い人もいれば、初心者もいますので、自分のレベルや学習経験を気にする必要はありません。「いつもコメントを書いている人は仲間みたいだから参加しにくい」と思う方もいるかもしれませんが、勇気を出してコメントを書いてみてください。必ず温かく迎えてもらえます。多くのコメントは英語で書かれていますが、もちろん日本語もOKですし、英語と日本語を混ぜて書いても大丈夫です。言いたいことが言えないときは、How do you say 「〜」in English? と聞けば、きっとだれかが教えてくれると思います。私のエントリー、または他のメンバーのコメントの中に分からないところがあったら、「”…”はどういう意味ですか？」と遠慮なく聞いてください。このブログで使われているフレーズや表現をたくさん吸収すると、より自然な英語に近づけることができますよ！
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