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executive impact

Tokyo International School

45 Comments
By Chris Betros

After visiting Tokyo International School and experiencing the positive energy in the classrooms, you can’t help wishing you could go back to school again at TIS. In fact, many visitors feel that way, says school founder and vision navigator Patrick Newell, a dynamic individual with an infectious enthusiasm.

A resident of Japan since 1991, Newell established TIS in 1997, offering an International Baccalaureate-endorsed program of inquiry from Pre K – Grade 8. The school provides an internationally-recognized education and prepares children for easy transfer to the IB Diploma or other education systems. The school’s mission is to nurture confident, open-minded, independent-thinking inquirers for global responsibility.

Newell’s inquiring mind has taken him into other areas as well – he has co-founded TEDxTokyo, a community of leading thinkers, doers and changemakers of all ages to share ideas, connect the dots and to create an ecosystem that nurtures change.

Besides the school, Newell oversees an NPO, Living Dreams to enrich orphans in Japan, and 21Foundation which aims to make the purpose of education more relevant to the 21st century. In addition, Newell is in demand as a speaker at various events and also acts as a consultant for companies looking to create an environment to empower their employees to be more innovative.

Japan Today editor Chris Betros visits Newell at TIS to observe (and hopefully) learn some new ideas.

Take us back a bit. What were your school days like?

I don’t really remember my school time so much, except that I was bored. School was a small part of my learning how to be creative. It was more through my own exploration, my own way of looking at things, of solving problems. I was constantly trying to understand the meaning of things.

Why did you come to Japan?

I wanted to learn more about the Eastern way of thinking. I was working with my wife to manage two English schools. But I wanted to do more than that. So we established this school in 1997 to make a school for our kids that we felt was relevant for the 21st century. We started with 12 children in two classrooms. Now we have 330 students from over 50 countries.

What’s wrong with education today?

How long have you got? We’ve actually made a documentary on this subject called “21:21”, in which we show how ridiculous schools are and how they completely miss the boat worldwide. Most schools are stuck in the 20th century. Teachers are still up there telling students what they need to know, when they can Google and find the answer in five seconds. Teachers expect kids who are multidisciplinary, very dynamic and digitally skilled to sit there and just listen. That is absurd. But unfortunately, that is the way education is taking place all over the world.

Think about the relevance of what you learned in school and how much of it you are using now. It is a very small percentage. Children have more access to information than we ever did. The whole world is teaching them.

What is your approach?

If all you know is sitting in a classroom listening to your teacher, doing hours of homework and written tests, then you’ll be blown away by our curriculum. Our mission statement is not just words on a wall. We have created a model where you can see, hear and feel the mission within that environment. We empower the students to ask their own questions instead of having everything prescribed. They learn to use their cognitive skills. The key is to engage the learner in something that is interesting and relevant as well as to empower them to make some of their own decisions so they can be prepared for life in the 21st century. We have no real idea of what the needs of the world will be when these children leave formal education, so learning how to learn is so important.

How do you see your role?

It is my job as a leader is to be a vision navigator – to come up with a vision collaboratively and make sure it comes true. And that doesn’t only apply to schools. It can apply to business as well.

How so?

I do many presentations for various audiences and recently have spoken about innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship in the 21st century. One thing I emphasize is being sensorial. If you’re sensorial, then you are really igniting your senses. If you ignite your five senses, your sixth comes to life. And often, it is that sixth sense that really guides us in our life.

More and more people are looking to become more entrepreneurially minded and creative. That doesn’t mean you have to start your own company; it could mean you are working in a company but they want you to be more innovative and creative. So how do we create more entrepreneur-mindful people? The best place to start is at a young age in the schools.

How do parents, who are thinking of enrolling their children at TIS, react to your approach?

Our biggest challenge is that most parents have only experienced 20th century education. When you are looking at something new, you draw upon your past experiences to define what that new thing is, and they only know the old model of the teacher standing up at the front.

They are also concerned about whether their child will be able to transfer on to the next school after Grade 8. We have students from over 50 countries and one of our biggest responsibilities is making sure that those kids can move on to their next school environment in their home country and beyond. But it’s the how and the parents aren’t used to that. So we have to educate parents to understand what sort of learning their kids need and that it is not some kind of airy fairy creative process. Being around for 14 years, we now do have a track record to prove what we are doing truly works.

Do you have many Japanese students?

They make up about 10%. We’re quite different from a Japanese school, so if the parents don’t get it, that creates a gap in our community. It’s important that our parents be internationally minded. The key in a multicultural environment is to focus on the universalities and not the differences. We really hope the Japanese schools shift into the 21st century and start preparing children for a world that demands internationally and innovative minded people similar to those who redefined Japan 60 years ago.

Do you learn from the children?

All the time. They have a very different perspective on things. I have a lab of learners who are just flowing with ideas and questions.

What makes a good teacher?

You want to have people who can deal with the one constant in life -- which is change. You want people who are not fearful of change. In teachers, we look for someone who is able to think about existing challenges and articulately come up with questions that would best describe what they want to learn. They need to be people with inquiring minds and open-minded. This applies to not just schools, but also companies and organizations. One of the key skills is holistic integration.

What do you mean?

If you want to be effective and efficient with your time, you need to figure out how you can continually be integrating the different pieces together. In my case, the holistic perspective is creating the change that I wish to see through innovation, creativity, through people being empowered, to inquire, and if that is the core of what I want to share, how do I get these different organizations to achieve that? Some ways of doing that are education-based, like the film I mentioned earlier. Another way is a comic strip we are making to show how ridiculous schools are.

What about the TEDx talks?

TEDxTokyo, in a lot of ways, is about bringing a creative innovative community to Japan. There were pieces of it before but nothing that quite brought everyone together from all the different industries to share ideas. I have been part of the TED community for six years and TEDxTokyo has been very much part of the TEDx movement. The TEDxTokyo community has grown organically. We have been very precise about how we do things.

Our first TEDxTokyo was in May 2009. It was only the second event of its kind to be held anywhere in the world – and the first to be held outside of the U.S. Initially, people didn’t get it, so part of my role was helping translate the purpose of that vision into how you could see, hear and feel it as a hub of creativity. For TEDxTokyo 2010, we had 25 speakers from both Japan and abroad, and 300 attendees and over 7,000 others tuning in to our bilingual live streams from 57 countries. In May 2011 for our third TEDxTokyo, we had over 50,000 people watching a live stream and 1,600 people apply, so it has really taken off. We just did TEDxTohoku for about 500 people at Tohoku University. It was about redefining Tohoku.

Building on what we have done so far, we wanted to see youth involved. Myself and a few other Tedsters were talking about this and we came up with the idea of staging TEDxYouth Day on Nov 20, which is Universal Children’s Day and the day the U.N. Children’s Right Declaration was signed. This was our second annual event which saw over 100 events around the world where students ran the entire TED like a conference. This is another great example of empowering students around something they find interesting, engaging and relevant.

You are involved in so many projects. How hands-on are you?

In the start-up phase, I am very much hands-on. Intuitively, I have a very strong feeling about why we are doing it with the end in mind, so part of my responsibility is taking our purpose and mindfully working together with different people to create something unique.

What do you do with corporations?

I do some consulting. At the outset, companies ask: “How can you help make our company more TED-like or Google-like?” A lot of organizations have this huge mission statement, often paragraphs long. I usually break it down into a sentence and then empower them to build a framework of how you can see, hear and feel the mission in that particular organization.

Also, most companies still have a board meeting room with 20 people sitting around a huge table or set permanent work space. Why don’t they have couches and create a living room type of environment. When you feel more comfortable, you’ll try new things. The key is creating an environment where people can be inspired. My way is to get people out of their boxes, out of their routines because the more they have a routine, the less creative they will be.

I’ve had the opportunity to spend a fair amount of time with different creators and what really fascinated me is the amount of time they spend being sensorial, just walking around, taking in things. Often, the “a-ha” moments come when they are connecting things in a way that most people do not take the time to notice that brings it all together to create something new.

When do you experience your “a-ha” moments?

When I am connected with nature, especially when I am surfing, snorkeling, snowboarding or cruising around on my skateboard.

How do you divide up your time?

I am Tokyo seven months of the year, then I try to spend about three months in Hawaii being inspired and creating something unique. The other two months I speak at conferences, workshops and consult.

Looking ahead, what do you think are the biggest challenges facing education?

In the developed countries, the biggest challenge has to do with college entrance examinations and the criteria put on them which in many ways are still assessing the learning using 20th century assessment tools. Another challenge is getting educators to change. As dedicated as they are, they did not grow up in a system that the children are growing up in today. The gap between what they know and experience and what the kids need is huge. There needs to be a quantum shift in the system from the teacher standing up front telling the students what they need to know to the teacher standing at the side, being a guide.

The next major bubble in the world is going to be universities. The cost and expense are absolutely ridiculous for what value you are getting. A lot of education at university is about becoming an adult. It’s not necessarily what you are learning in the classroom.

What it comes down to, is that if people are actively engaged in something they find interesting and relevant, then they are pretty much good to go.

© Japan Today

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45 Comments
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respect! I'd love to have the opportunity to work there in the future. if i ever have children i'll definitely seriously consider this school.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The next major bubble in the world is going to be universities. The cost and expense are absolutely ridiculous for what value you are getting. A lot of education at university is about becoming an adult. It’s not necessarily what you are learning in the classroom.

Spot on.

The future is correspondence university degrees. The growing cost of university education belies the stagnating quality issues. Kids are going to be spending a lot more time getting their degrees at home and online. Self-motivation and self-direction are the all-important factors in such an equation.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Theres no mention of the semester tuition rate.

That might end the discussion, fullstop, for most.

Tuition ( which covers bare-bones tuition, nothing else ) is comparable to college education fees, 2 times a year, from K-12.

That's a lot of "enthusiasm".

I remember thinking how funny the school's newsletter was, informing parents to buy sneakers in the US, as they were very expensive in Japan...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It is about $25,000 a year.

Same with Seisen, St. Mary's and all the other internationals schools. US Base schools are expensive too if you are not under the status of forces agreement.

Only 10% Japanese. Totally opposite of St. Mary's and Seisen, and Sacred Heart.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

As a person who worked with Patrick from the outset and later enrolled her own children at TIS, it's worth every penny.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

And TIS is located.....? That may have been a useful piece of information...

Moderator: It's in Mita.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

sourpuss

Kids are going to be spending a lot more time getting their degrees at home and online. Self-motivation and self-direction are the all-important factors in such an equation.

So, college-age kids are going to learn independence, self-motivation, self-reliance, etc. studying while living at home? I don't think so. Patrick Newell himself says, "A lot of education at university is about becoming an adult." For most, it takes leaving the comfort and safety of home to live and study on your own at a university to become an adult. I for one wouldn't hire someone with a correspondence/on-line degree they earned from home who's never paid rent, utilities, and had to cook and clean for themselves over someone who physically attended a university away from home and had to take care of themselves.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Patrick and Bea are great people and sincere about their goals.

I worked for them back in 1994, when they just had the 3 English Studio schools - 2 in west Tokyo and 1 in Funabori. Even then Patrick was always looking to the bigger picture.

Keep up the good work.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Google Pat's name and look for images. You will find some interesting pictures, and they are not with his wife. I have known him for years and he is a good guy. Smart too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

USNinJapan, I guess you believe in the value of the education bubble, and 30 grand or more a year makes sense to you. I see.

Times four years, that's 120 large in the hole for four years of mommy/daddy sponsored frat-house drunken debauchery. I guess you think this is something that teaches one how to become an adult. Nice.

It is interesting how you can write off a whole segment of the population who cannot afford such a lifestyle, but are working hard to get the education anyway. Education can be gotten in many ways, all it takes is some self-direction and self-motivation...

0 ( +1 / -1 )

sourpuss:

" The future is correspondence university degrees. The growing cost of university education belies the stagnating quality issues. "

Not quite true. There are still countries in Europe that offer free university education for everybody. In the national language for undergraduates --- meaning your kid will have to spend a year at a language school, and get a useful skill on top of everything else. Postgrad, there are plenty of courses offered in English. Check it out. I am definitely gong that route with our last kid.

(Sending him through the intl. school system her til grade 12 will have cost me enough.)

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I am happy to see some comments related to the article! It is true some countries have free university education.

The comment on value of students becoming adults mainly focusses on the transition from living with your family at home to living on your own and having to be self-sufficent. Did not intend anyone to understand this as receiving an online education and to stay at home to do it. There is value in the debate and interaction which takes place in the classroom environment. Many schools are also bridging the gap and are aligned with 21st Century learning however most of the top schools ranked in the world are quite expensive http://www.usnews.com/education/worlds-best-universities-rankings/top-400-universities-in-the-world

I know a lot of international schools that would prefer to have their tuition much lower however would not be able to run. Would be great to see the public education systems move their learning into the 21st Century. This is generally speaking of course.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

patrickpan:

" http://www.usnews.com/education/worlds-best-universities-rankings/top-400-universities-in-the-world "

Well, right there on place 51 to 53 I see some unis which are free. So, once the kids are big, there is life after the outrageous expenses of intl. schools in Tokyo.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Teachers are still up there telling students what they need to know, when they can Google and find the answer in five seconds.

Bad idea.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

It sounds good on paper but I can't help feeling that this school is nurturing monsters.

These kids when they become adults will never be able to fit in anywhere. They'll get a job at some company and the boss will ask them to do something menial and then they'll start asking "Why do I have to do this useless work?" or else suggest "I have a much better idea" or something like that. The boss will hate them, they won't be able to make good relationships within the company and will then be fired.

I also note that there is almost nothing in this article about science. The patient observation skills, attention to detail, ability to use tools, mathematical and logical problem solving skills... these kind of schools never offer anything in that department... they're far too busy "empowering the children to question everything"...

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Also, most companies still have a board meeting room with 20 people sitting around a huge table or set permanent work space. Why don’t they have couches... My way is to get people out of their boxes

This is hilarious. This guy thinks he can transform corporations by having them sit on couches. I'd love to seem him go into Toshiba or Panasonic or somewhere similar with these suggestions...

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Don't take this Patrick Newell as anything more than an acute capitalist taking advantage of the demand for English-language international schooling in Tokyo. He doesn't give a damn about the students or their parents and if he did he would not be charging the ridiculous charges for what should be an absolute right in a modern advanced society.

And don't take this article as some kind of serious piece on English-language international schooling in Japan today. It really isn't. This is just like one of those Sunday supplement magazines running a page for one of their advertisers, purely keeping the client happy by running a pseudo-article.

This school is yet another disgrace of an excuse for an international school in Tokyo. Apart from expat bankers, diplomats and lawyers who on earth can afford Y750,000 for new student fees, Y100,000 for building maintenance (the parents pay to maintain the businesses property??), Y1.8 million per year for fees, between Y30,000 and Y115,000 for school trips, and Y340,000 per year for the school bus!?

I could not afford to place my children in an international school and it is because of people like Patrick Newell and his charges as mentioned above. These charges are hyper-inflated because bloodsuckers such as Newell know that the expat bankers, diplomats and lawyers don't even look at the bills that their companies pay on their behalf.

Education is a basic right for any society that takes itslef seriously. And people such as Newell should be brought to book for taking advantage of parents fears for their childrens futures.

Tell me Mr Newell, does your school offer assisted places and scholarships for children with single parents or from families at risk of poverty? Don't bother, we already know the answer..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Teachers are still up there telling students what they need to know, when they can Google and find the answer in five seconds.

So when your 'star puplis' are sitting in the boardroom in 25 years time and are being grilled about the current GDP of Japan, you expect your pupils to be able to Google the answer in front of the board?! What a waste of school fees that would have been.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Tigers, it's also not accredited by the Japanese Education Ministry, so any Japanese graduating from this school are going to have lots of trouble entering Japanese schools (if they want to). Graduates will also be lacking the math skills that kids attain via the public school system.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Teachers expect kids who are multidisciplinary, very dynamic and digitally skilled to sit there and just listen. That is absurd. But unfortunately, that is the way education is taking place all over the world.

Unfortunately, schooling is all about disciplining students to understand that when they start a career they need to get in to work on time and to listen when the Chief Executive or Director or Line Manager are talking.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

sour, that's right. It's just a scam. Nothing else.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Don't take this as anything more than simply taking advantage of the demand for English-language international schooling in Tokyo. They do not care about the students or their parents and if he did he would not be charging the charges for what should be an absolute right in a modern advanced society.

And don't take this as some kind of piece on English-language international schooling in Japan today. It really isn't. This is just like one of those Sunday supplement magazines running a page for one of their advertisers.

This school is a poor excuse for an international school in Tokyo. Apart from expat bankers, diplomats and lawyers who on earth can afford Y750,000 for new student fees, Y100,000 for building maintenance (the parents pay to maintain the businesses property??), Y1.8 million per year for fees, between Y30,000 and Y115,000 for school trips, and Y340,000 per year for the school bus!?

I could not afford to place my children in an international school and it is because of schools such as this and the charges as mentioned above. These charges are hyper-inflated because Patrick Newell knows that the expat bankers, diplomats and lawyers don't even look at the bills that their companies pay on their behalf.

Education is a basic right for any society that takes itslef seriously and this school should be brought to book.

Tell me, does this school offer assisted places and scholarships for children with single parents or from families at risk of poverty?

Moderator: Please do not use this forum to spew out your bile toward Mr Newell.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The next major bubble in the world is going to be universities. The cost and expense are absolutely ridiculous for what value you are getting. A lot of education at university is about becoming an adult. It's not necessarily what you are learning in the classroom.

Precious, utterly precious.

Parents should pay upwards of 25 large, for 12 years, to attend this cocoon, and this guy is going to say how expensive colleges are?

That same bass-ackwards philosophy I spoke of earlier, buy your sneakers in the U.S., as they are expensive, in Japan...

First off. Although going to J-public school is far from perfect, you learn things you can't anywhere else.

Also, you assume a lot by saying kids learn nothing at University, while living at home.

Financially, it is not possible for some students to live on their own, but that doesn't mean they laze at home, while the parents pick up the tab- they work, as well as go to school, and contribute to the home.

They are aware of their parents' plight, and the value of hard work and money.

You put kids in this precious atmosphere, where money is no object, and it breeds entitlement mentality.

No thanks.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Had a look at the website. Those are seriously heavy fees.

340,000 yen for the bus?? Parents who can pay those fees for a couple of kids probably have their own fleet of chauffeur-driven limos.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Teachers expect kids who are multidisciplinary, very dynamic and digitally skilled to sit there and just listen. That is absurd.

Really? What's wrong with learning to listen?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Truly enjoying the conversation that is taking place around this topic. Can see for sure a lot of misunderstanding in the contents of the article related to the comments written above. Being an active listener is one of the keys to a deeper understanding of a situation. The main message is that many of us who grew up in the 20th century model did not find most of what we learnt to be relevant to our lives. This lack of relevance turns peoples people away from the passion to learn The cost of international schools is very high and know that the international schools wish they were able to make their schools more affordable. Many parents who send their children to International schools pay out of their pocket as well. They feel it is the best choice in the options available to give their children the best possible future they can. They sacrifice a lot. The key is to create schools that are meeting the needs of today's world in schools which can meet these needs that are free. The education ministries, teachers unions in many countries and test driven systems have not stepped up to bridge this gap. This a very clear in Japan. The model of yesterday is fine i n countries that are focussed building and hiring workers to work in these factories. Japan passed this stage a long time ago. Japan is in a situation which requires global and innovative thinkers to meet it current needs. In general they are really missing the boat.

The core point with many colleges in the world is their entrance exams and guidelines are not relevant to today's fast changing world and on top of that many students have debt after university that will take them years to pay off. Yes, some of the universities on the list of 100 are free which is wonderful and provides hope and options for those who cannot afford many of the top schools which are quite expensive. It is sad to see in places in the world where students start life in the real world with a huge debt.

Much of the value in school is learning how to collaborate, work within timelines, to gain experience that will prepare our youth to engage in a world that has different demands. Meeting different demands requires innovation and creativity to move forward. Corporations as well are trying to figure out how to have their workers be more innovative and creative however the schools are producing factory workers not thinkers in Japan. If in a board room you can get the answer to a question using google why wouldn't you do so. When is the last time you pulled a book off your shelve to get the answer to a question?

The real conversation is around how we can ensure our children are being prepared for their future which in general is not happening. The adults today really don't understand this difference and would really see this difference if they went to a school which ensured the learners had some level of empowerment in an environment that was interesting, engaging and relevant. If these are some of the key factors for reflection what grade would you give our schools?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

We have created a model where you can see, hear and feel the mission within that environment.

BD: Blurbal Diarrhea. At best.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

choiwaruoyaji

" also note that there is almost nothing in this article about science. The patient observation skills, attention to detail, ability to use tools, mathematical and logical problem solving skills... these kind of schools never offer anything in that department... "

Did we read the same article? The article says that the school prepares them for the IB program. I have to kids who graduated from an IB school here in Tokyo, and they had no difficulties getting accepted in universities everywhere. So, unless the claim about TIS being an IB school is false, you are totaly wrong.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

then I try to spend about three months in Hawaii being inspired and creating something unique.

Sounds like he is doing rather well for himself.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

whats the catch here? 25k a year because classes are taught in english? Here's a thought, don't live in Japan with your non-japanese speaking family and avoid paying these ridiculous fees. It's clear that pretty much only the wealthy can attend these international schools in Japan and who really knows if the quality of education is better there than in public schools.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

DentShopDEC. 06, 2011 - 10:25PM JST then I try to spend about three months in Hawaii being inspired and creating something unique. Sounds like he is doing rather well for himself.

Indeed! I'd be lucky to get a week away from work each year.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Malfupete:

It is not that simple. Most of the expats do not pay for the intl. school (their company does that), so for them the school fees are never an issue. They are simply looking for an education system that is compatible with their next location somewhere else in the world.

And for those of us who are not expats and are paying out of pocket, the issue is less one of a miraculous education but rather getting away from the social pressure of a Japanese school and having a kid who is happy at who he is and functions well in an international context.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Okinawa International School teaches in the same style, as the Ryukyu archipelago's only IB-authorized school.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@dentshop, Spot on ,I think if you can have a 3 month holiday like that, and i just saw the tuition fees bloody expensive..

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Interesting interview. Thank you!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

many of us who grew up in the 20th century model did not find most of what we learnt to be relevant to our lives.

The spelling, grammar, literature, music, art, history, home economics, and a lot more of the things I "learned" in public school, have stuck with me all my life; most, except the Algebra.

But this teaching was pre psycho-babble.

We said the "Pledge of Allegiance", and disruptive kids got whacked. There were spelling bees. Christmas decorations were not outlawed, and those tall, beautiful, lit-up firs were called "Christmas Trees", not "Holiday trees". It was not against the law to say a prayer in school. There were no metal detectors. The lunch menu had hot lunches, that were edible some of the time, but bringing a bag lunch was option B. Kids who did not do well went to Summer school, or were left back a year, so they tried damn hard to succeed.

It was equal opportunity for all to do their best, or else.

School tuition was taken out of taxes.

I have talked to a teacher who taught at TIS, and out of the large tuition fee charged, a teachers salary is adequate, no more.

I have no animus against being successful; working hard and seeing the rewards of it- It's what we strive for, for ourselves, and for our kids-

But don't you dare proclaim what you offer is the only sensible way for success in the 21st century.

Some of us who have been educated to persevere, think for ourselves, research in a library, from books as well as "GOOGLE" might beg to differ.

Another one of the "forgettable" things I learned in public school was music theater. A song from "The Music Man", called "Ya Got Trouble"...

Snake oil, by any other name, would still cost as much.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Why did you come to Japan?

I wanted to learn more about the Eastern way of thinking. I was working with my wife to manage two English schools. But I wanted to do more than that. So we established this school in 1997 to make a school for our kids that we felt was relevant for the 21st century.

With the richest 20% owning 87.7% of wealth, deep recession, rising unemployment, rising university fees, graduates unable to find work, the imminent collapse of the Eurozone, the rich becoming more powerful, the police forces being permitted to use stronger force, and the collapse of human rights and civil rights. A school that costs the earth with a Y700,000 charge just to enrol and the bus fees alone costing Y300,000 this school definitely is relevant for the 21st century.

Any man who earns wealth by taking advantage of the need for childrens education must have a lot of difficulty sleeping at night. If you wanted to learn more about the 'Eastern' way of thinking, maybe you should study karma..

(A test of whether this school's owner is being protected by Japan Today for commercial protection, will be whether this post will get deleted. Again)

Moderator: You have attempted on at least three occasions to insult Mr Newell. You've got some serious problems that need addressing. Please do not post any more messages on this thread.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Teachers expect kids who are multidisciplinary, very dynamic and digitally skilled to sit there and just listen. That is absurd. But unfortunately, that is the way education is taking place all over the world.

Teachers are still up there telling students what they need to know, when they can Google and find the answer in five seconds.

I don't disagree with much of what Patrick has said, but as an educator of people in the 1st world from the diametrically opposite socio-economic conditions and situation to the kids who fill the classrooms in TIS, his approach simply does not work because the students are not disciplined, motivated, worldly or tech savvy enough to guide their own learning. They end up playing games, or copying and pasting information they can barely even read. So his solution is not universal. But I can see it working very well for the types of kids and families who would grace the halls of TIS - he is forward thinking and anticipating trends in his learning cohort. A manager with vision is a very good thing.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Tamara:

Yes, I have often thought the same, when I hear principles of other intl schools brag about their wonderful education programs. With their cherry-picked crowd of intelligent and socially sound kids from intact and involved families, just about any old program would bring results.

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Tamarama - Not necessarily the case. If kids are taught the IB way of education (i.e. a modified version of the student-centred education of the UK in the late 80s and early 90s that didn't really work so well at the time) from a younger age then that is the type of learning they become accustomed to. Intelligent and socially sound doesn't really come into it when a school starts teaching students from 6 months and brings them all the way through primary/elementary school, as you have no ideas about both of those things when you take them on.

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soldave:

" Intelligent and socially sound doesn't really come into it when a school starts teaching students from 6 months "

I have not yet heard of any school that takes on students aged 6 months. That must be something special in your neighbourhood. At the intl. school we sent our kids to, they start a Kindergarten (i.e. one year ahead of first grade), and yes, they assess the the intelligence and social compatibility of the newcomers. It is a day of observation, and when the teachers see something in your kid that they don´t like, he/she won´t get in, period. Same for the parents, who are also scrutinized.

Again, that is a very privileged starting position. I maintain that with the same student/parent body, any education program would work. Throw in the usual mix of problem kids and familes that public schools have to deal with, and everything breaks down.

The IB program, by the way, starts at high school. What they are talking about here is a preparatory programm, dipping the toes in the water, so to say.

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I also note that there is almost nothing in this article about science. The patient observation skills, attention to detail, ability to use tools, mathematical and logical problem solving skills... these kind of schools never offer anything in that department... they're far too busy "empowering the children to question everything"...

St. Mary's, Sacred Heart, Seisen, Yokohama Int....all do. Go observe.

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Enjoyed reading all of the comments. Fascinating how some of you have pulled a piece out and assumed certain things are not happening. I am guessing most of you have never been to TIS so easy to pick at this and that. The design technology lab and science program is inspiring and makes us adults want to go back to school not run away from it. The IB programme starts at 3 years old and not just at high school as stated above and is becoming popular. The IB programme is also in public schools so open to children in many social economic settings.

Yes the international schools are expensive and have a certain cliental and is different then the norm however what I pull from the article is to see how learning can match with today's world. Would like to hear about other examples where students are learning what they need to succeed and be happy. The current system is failing in most countries throughout the world. If you have been reading at all about education today you will find many of the leading thinkers who support this type of learning that is happening at TIS or some other schools as well. Would be great to hear about more schools who are meeting todays needs.

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The comments are more iteresting than the story itself. International schools make you think and in reality you learn from yourself. It is wonderful that all over the world there are international schools wherein you have to learn the language of the country and in many case the tuition is free. I suggest this is the first step toward understanding your neighbors and a war-free" world. Every country in the world should budget for free international schools..............

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YO THAT'S ME IN THE PHOTO. THIS SCHOOL WAS GREAT!!! :)

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