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Kawasaki takes steps to lower language barrier for foreign kids in school

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There have been programs like this in schools all over Japan for decades now. I know countless numbers of children who are born to parents of foreign residents and had their children entered into Japanese public schools. Hell even a 17 year old girl was placed in a JHS class to assist her with learning Japanese, and twice a week she went to the elementary school nearby for basic Japanese lessons as well.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Why did they call Kawasaki a city bordering Tokyo, when it's much closer to Yokohama?

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

Why did they call Kawasaki a city bordering Tokyo, when it's much closer to Yokohama?

Because it is a city bordering Tokyo. Are you not familiar with geography? Kawasaki borders both Tokyo and Yokohama.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Yeah. It sits directly between the two.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Why did they call Kawasaki a city bordering Tokyo, when it's much closer to Yokohama?

Like chipstar said. I used to live in Miyamae ku in Kawasaki, which was closer to Shibuya by train than it was to downtown Kawasaki.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Unfortunately, Japan is well behind in teaching languages to foreigners.

The notion of bilingualism is not even entertained by many educators here.

A stint abroad and exceptionalism in a foreign language doesn’t do much for a job seekers’ prospects in Japan.

Even translators are prevented from aiding monolinguals here, for example in certain hospitals, family members with Japanese knowledge are refused access to the patient until sedation has taken effect.

Imagine being intubated without being able to understand the procedure or what to do?

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Like chipstar

It's Chip Star. Two words.

To be fair to Sensei, Kawasaki is separated from Tokyo by the width of the Tamagawa.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Back on topic please.

Even more curious, the fervor with which so many posters jumped all over my comment.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Compulsory education cuts both ways, not just to pupils. It is compulsory for the state to provide it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Yeah, it is a ‘small’ step in the right direction. It would be asking too much for Japan to adjust its monocultural curriculum to include a more internationally acceptable style of learning. I know returnees who have graduated junior or senior high overseas, but when they come back to Japan they are treated as dunces. The sand goes for students who travel abroad for university study. They come back to Japan and the only job they can get is working in a British pub coz they can speak English (and think for themselves).

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Even more curious, the fervor with which so many posters jumped all over my comment

Even more curious is how you can infer we jumped on your comment with fervor. Looks to me that we were simply enduring misinformation isn't spread.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Compulsory education cuts both ways, not just to pupils. It is compulsory for the state to provide it.

Compulsory education is not about the pupils, it's about the parents having a requirement by law, to ensure that their children are enrolled in elementary and then junior high school. There is no law that states that children have to be in a local school, only that the parents are required to ensure they are entered into a school.

The government provides the location, but the requirement is on the parents, not the pupils, to ensure that they attend school.

It is not semantics either and there are far too many, even within the education system itself here, that misunderstand the difference.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The spoken Japanese Language is not realy the problem.

Native Japanese Students who were born and raised in Japan and whose parents are both Japanese have trouble with the written Japanese Language that mixes several writing systems in a segregative manner.

Hiragana and Katagana are more complex than the Lating Alphabet but still manageable.

the real problem starts with the Kanji characters who have several ways of being spoken and this is not only a problem for foreigners, it is also a problem from Japanese teachers them self, who at every new school year need to use the hiragana to help them pronounce the students names written in Kanji correctly.

成 for instance could be " Nari, Naru or Sei." It is often a guessing game more than an art or a methodical logical system.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Yubaru: Compulairy education is as much about the pupil as the parents. Also, nothing in your post conflicts with the post you were answering.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

kurisupisu: Unfortunately, Japan is well behind in teaching languages to foreigners.

Japan is also well behind in teaching languages to the Japanese.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Yubaru: Compulairy education is as much about the pupil as the parents. Also, nothing in your post conflicts with the post you were answering.

You are missing something, and I am not conflicting information but adding an important distinction here.

Compulsory education is about the parents, not the pupils. The government, technically speaking here, is making a promise to the parents to provide a place of education. It is the parents responsibility to ensure that their children are educated between certain ages and the parents have a responsibility as well to ensure that their children are prepared for said education.

Yet the parents have zero responsibility to utilize the facilities provided by the government. Hence it not being about the pupils but the parent's responsibilities.

Education itself is about the pupils yes, but the compulsory education law here is an agreement between the government and parents.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

One more thing, schools can not, by law here, force any child to attend school. However they can force a parent to ensure the child is going to school.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Japan have to understand that the future of Japan lies in no barriers of any language esp in English as the minimum spoken language. This is to give all Japanese children a broader look of their world in japan. Japan can no more just live in the japanese language alone. Look at the inferior complexes, in term, we are japanese and we are o.k because we speak japanese. That world is long over. I wonder if it is not too late.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Yubaru: Appreciate the response because it lacks the usual snark, etc. that all too often accompanies online posts. You also seem to be missing something.

Compulsory education is about the parents, not the pupils. The government, technically speaking here, is making a promise to the parents to provide a place of education

> Yet the parents have zero responsibility to utilize the facilities provided by the government. Hence it not being about the pupils but the parent's responsibilities.

The promise is also to the pupils that there will indeed be a place to receive an education. If private schools did not exist or a student couldn't get into one, they need a place to be educated.

Where are you getting your information that compulsory education is about the parents? Did you read it in a law?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

there should be NO bloody barrier. I teach in Australia and kids come here every day from all over the world, with next to no English, join their local school and in a few years, they are fluent. and i don't mean playground fluent, i mean reaching the level of writing formal essays. give kids a chance!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Where are you getting your information that compulsory education is about the parents? Did you read it in a law?

From experience in dealing with a prefectural and city board of education when my wife and I were fighting them about NOT sending our daughter to the local elementary school and instead a private one.

The promise is also to the pupils that there will indeed be a place to receive an education.

There is no promise to the pupils in the basic education law. Here is the law, and far too many people, including those who work at the board of education do not understand it either.

Basic Act on Education

Chapter II Fundamentals Concerning the Provision of Education:

Article 5 (1) The people are obligated to have the children who are under their protection receive a general education pursuant to the provisions of other Acts.

http://www.japaneselawtranslation.go.jp/law/detail/?id=2442&vm=04&re=02

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The government in effect can not make a "promise" to those who are underage here, in regards to education. The law pertains to parents and their responsibilities in educating or providing education for their children.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A huge misconception as well is that pupils can not be held back in compulsory education. There is no law either that states that they can not be held back either. School's can if they so choose to hold a student back due to poor performance or missed classes.

However, they rarely if ever go to that length with any student in compulsory education, and that is purely due to cultural reasons and it is also an admittance by any school that THEY didnt do their job properly. SO the schools here will push them through.

BOE's and schools just do not want to deal with the problems and push the students through. HS's can and do hold students back, however once again the public one's rarely if ever, yet private one's do, I know that from experience as well. It's much easier, because it is NOT a part of compulsory education here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

it is also an admittance by any school that THEY didnt do their job properly.

Yes, for sure.

Also, I think they're afraid of disrupting the social order. Age being so important to Japanese society, it might be terribly awkward for one student to be of a different age than all his/her classmates. I'm sure that plays into it on some level, even if it's a small one.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yubaru is right in that local governments have the obligation to provide schools.

However, on a higher level the Japanese Constitution says.

第二十六条 すべて国民は、法律の定めるところにより、その能力に応じて、ひとしく教育を受ける権利を有する。

(The final part is every pupil has the right to receive an equal education according to their ability)

I guess this has never been tested, but I think it would be fair to assume that that means the state is obliged to teach kids regardless of their Japanese ability in the schools that it is obliged to provide.

The state fails on a number of its obligations, so this is prescriptive, not necessarily descriptive.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

My son, now nine, was born in Tokyo, but work brought us to America shortly after the tsunami. My wife speaks only Japanese to him and they spend eight weeks every summer in Japan in which he attends Japanese public elementary school until summer break in August.

Despite this effort and his relative fluency he is unable to understand the teacher well enough to participate academically. He can communicate and make friends with the kids, so he has fun, but he understands very little the teacher says unless they take the time to give him individual attention. This worries me should we need to return to live in Japan. Japanese is a very difficult language to master and there doesn’t seem to be sufficient resources to help immigrants integrate.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I guess this has never been tested, but I think it would be fair to assume that that means the state is obliged to teach kids regardless of their Japanese ability in the schools that it is obliged to provide.

Few people here "test" the system and accept it as is. My wife and I were literally threatened with a lawsuit by the prefectural board of education because we did not send our daughter to the local JHS.

We even had problems with the city boe automatically taking out the school lunch fees from my bank account even though she did not attend the school, they automatically assumed that all the students who graduated from the ES were going to the local JHS.

I am just scraping the tip of the iceberg here with the problems we went through over 20 years ago. We "proved" to the prefectural BOE that we were fulfilling our obligations under the education law, by sending her to a different school. We were guilty until we proved our "innocence".

What is even funnier in a really sad way, is that I know a guy here, who has kids that NEVER set foot in their local ES nor JHS, yet received ALL the textbooks, and received graduation diplomas from both, the reason being given to him was, "if you kids want to go to a Japanese university they have to prove that they graduated from compulsory education, meaning JHS and ES, so they received the diplomas, but neither child went to a Japanese university, they went overseas instead, and BOTH are currently working here in Japan, in rather good paying jobs for here, and no problems what so ever!

I can share any number of other similar cases. We were fortunate because we educated ourselves about what "Compulsory Education" actually means here, and like I said, it's about the parents, not the pupils.

And btw, there are far,far, far, too many parents that are NOT living up to their obligations, but no one does anything about it!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As someone who is looking to move to Japan himself to work, I find this very encouraging. Because this tells me that if I were to meet someone over there, and we were to have a family or something, then I wouldn’t have to worry about whatever teacher children I would have facing so many language issues. Unless I were to remain over there from when I first move her something.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

As someone who is looking to move to Japan himself to work, I find this very encouraging. Because this tells me that if I were to meet someone over there, and we were to have a family or something, then I wouldn’t have to worry about whatever teacher children I would have facing so many language issues. Unless I were to remain over there from when I first move her something.

If you were to meet someone "over here" the odds are pretty high that "someone" would be Japanese and you wouldn't, or shouldn't have any problems with the Japanese language. My kids were born and raised here, they went to international schools, with the exception of one going to the local public elementary, and they speak, read, and write, English and Japanese fluently. One scored 975/990 on the TOEIC (ok, it's really not THAT hard of a test, just have to have stamina!)

I would be more concerned about what school's you choose for them, as private education here is NOT cheap, and depending upon where you live, your options are going to be extremely limited.

Not to mention that while Kawasaki and other places run programs like this, it does not mean they like it, because it costs time, resources, and more importantly money. And THAT's the bottom line, they may do it, but believe me, they dont like it!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Yubaru: Thanks for the info.

The constitution guarantees children an education through Grade 9, which is why children cannot be kicked out of class in public schools.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The constitution guarantees children an education through Grade 9, which is why children cannot be kicked out of class in public schools.

This is also a misconception, they very well can be kicked out of class, and often are, and as I wrote there is no law stating that they can not be withheld either. But kicking them out of class, and not graduating or promoting them to the next grade is something few if any schools can do!

As I also stated previously, it's all a matter of the BOE and school's jumping through the necessary hoops to get it done. There is no law stating by what age the compulsory education must be completed either.

The system here is screwed as the parents are not being held responsible for their part. They should be forced into taking responsibility for their children, per the law, yet are not.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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