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Don’t like trigonometry? Then you’re just like Hitler, Japanese high school English teacher tells student

27 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

While there’s often a lot of crossover between the two skill sets, being a skilled linguist doesn’t automatically make you a capable conversationalist. Take, for example, one of the teachers at Matsue Minami High School in Shimane Prefecture.

The teacher, a 62-year-old Japanese man, is in charge of a remedial English class for ronin, students who failed to get into a college after graduating high school and are taking a year to study and prepare for the next round of entrance exams. On Feb 5, the teacher was chatting with one of his students, a 19-year-old boy who wants to study education if he can get into a school of higher learning.

At some point in their conversation, mathematical principles came up, and the teacher asked his student: “Is a knowledge of trigonometric functions and probability necessary?”

While more knowledge is always a good thing, most people can go years, if not decades, without having to actively apply trigonometry to their lives. Likewise, while a basic understanding of probability is a good thing to have, outside the classroom most of us don’t have to do much heavy number crunching in that field, unless we’re planning to become professional gamblers.

And so the student responded that to the question of “Is a knowledge of trigonometric functions and probability necessary?” with “No, not in everyday life.” The teacher, however, disagreed, and while it’s unclear if it was his immediate reaction or not, his eventual rebuttal to the student was: “You’re like Hitler.”

The teacher went on to tell his student: “You’re not cut out to become an educator. I’d feel sorry for the kids who’d be taught by you.”

Equal parts baffling and demoralizing, the teacher’s tirade startled the student, and on March 19, Matsue Minami High School, which is administered by the prefectural government, lodged a complaint against the teacher with the Shimane Prefectural Board of Education, calling his comments inappropriate.

So how did the teacher make the jump from triangles to swastikas? Apparently because he drew a parallel between the student’s dismissal of the importance of other academic disciplines and the Nazi dictator’s denial of certain ethnic groups’ right to exist. “The student did not recognize and appreciate diversity,” the teacher explained, “and I felt that his simplistic way of thinking was Hitler-like and dangerous.”

Both the teacher and the school’s principle (who was not directly involved in the incident) have since apologized to the student and his guardians. “I deeply apologize for hurting his feelings and discouraging from his intended academic path,” said the teacher. Meanwhile, the student described his emotions with “I was shocked that he would try to discourage me from becoming a teacher,” but hopefully the incident will serve as an inspiring example of just how badly schools could use better, or at least more level-headed, educators.

Source: Livedoor News/Asahi Shimbun Digital via  Hachima Kiko

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© SoraNews24

©2022 GPlusMedia Inc.

27 Comments
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I liked trigonometry, but after that you get into calculus and then more baffling math that becomes too abstract for my pee brain.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

I hope you meant pea brain...

28 ( +28 / -0 )

People should really save the Hitler comparisons for the very extreme, barbaric examples in the world. You risk diluting the meaning, which has been happening more and more in recent years.

5 ( +9 / -4 )

Who knew there was a through-line connecting remedial English, Nazis and trig!? And is it common for public high schools to continue teaching 19 year old ronin? Is it after hours? I thought such kids moved entirely to juku and private tutors.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Amazing how some Japanese use the Nazis in their analogies while at the same time being totally unaware that the IJA were not only on the same side but were even more brutal in some cases.

0 ( +9 / -9 )

People should really save the Hitler comparisons for the very extreme, barbaric examples in the world. You risk diluting the meaning, which has been happening more and more in recent years.

Agreed. Although there's every relevance in pointing out the parallels with the original America First movement and refugees from Europe of the 30s, to today's re-branding of that kind of populism and migration issues. But in a maths class, it's ... illogical.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

The student should ask the English teacher to spell the trigonometry word. I certainly couldn’t.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The kid is correct. Trig is waste of time unless you doing a science or engineering degree. Stats is more important. The teacher was just trying to motive the kid. I don't it is the best way, but sometime in the classroom you have to push the kids to make progress.

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

A 62 year old Japanese English teacher... bet he wouldn't even be able to pronounce the word coherently

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Hitler also hated smoking, and loved dogs.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

A 62 year old Japanese English teacher... bet he wouldn't even be able to pronounce the word coherently

I woudn’t judge a book by its cover. Some of the best English speaking Japanese people I met were older than 65. Some spent decades overseas, some grew up working on US military installations during the GHQ years.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Some of the best English speaking Japanese people I met were older than 65. 

Aye, same here. I was quite taken aback when an older gentleman I met was able to wax lyrical about my own country of origin, it's history, culture and places of interest.

I shouldn't have been, because education and appreciation of other cultures is more widespread than some give credit for.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

I'm so glad I'm just like Hitler.

Barely got through trig, then had to take calculus twice to pass that.

@commanteer - Har!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Hitler loved dogs. Hitler was a vegetarian. Hitler was a European. Hitler was male. Hitler was.....oh, DOH!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Calculus is beautiful and amazing!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

y + dy = 5x

dx

Beautiful and amazing indeed!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Can't get the equation to post correctly - I mean:

y + dy over dx = 5x

Probably buzzyboy can get it right, lol

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think it was someone evaluating Hitler’s paintings for admission to art school who said he would have made a fine draughtsman. I suspect Adolf did well in trig.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Well, that escalated quickly...

5 ( +5 / -0 )

While somewhat harsh (though completely normal and even mild compared to some verbal humiliation entrenched in Japanese pedagogy) the teacher's point that someone not open to other disciplines and fields of study might not make the best teacher is spot on.

The fact that the 62 year-old (which invites offensive ageist attackers) invoked the name Hitler in his analogy for the student is a flash point in the story, but the offence is deeper.

A brilliant teacher sees the value of learning whatever the subject and encourages all students to open their minds to and have respect for subjects in which the cannot excel personally. That said, a brilliant teacher might have made his point in a manner that brought the struggling student onside with a more inviting argument for taking on and giving his best effort to a subject in which he struggles.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Remember when you asked why can't you just use a calculator and your math teacher always said 'you're not going to have a calculator with you all the time'?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The kid is correct. Trig is waste of time unless you doing a science or engineering degree.

Actually electricians need a basic knowledge of trigonometry when bending conduit.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Remember when you asked why can't you just use a calculator and your math teacher always said 'you're not going to have a calculator with you all the time'?

Haha, yeah that line doesn't work anymore.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Way to crush his dreams moron.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I guess the Hitler analogy is so common because WWII is the most profoundly destructive event in modern history and directly shaped the current political structure of the world for better or worse. There is simply no event that can compare. Makes me wonder what event or individual persons used pre-WWII to make a hyperbolic statement.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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