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School in Yamaguchi in turmoil after student’s tablet records teachers’ room conversation

40 Comments
By SoraNews24

For a couple of years now, schools in Japan have been adopting the Giga School program in which textbooks are replaced by a single tablet device for each student. My daughter even has one, and it’s pretty slick. For example, she can use it to record reading or music practice at home and upload it to her teacher.

But with new technology comes the potential for new problems. This is something a junior high school in Iwakuni City, Yamaguchi Prefecture, learned the hard way.

According to the city’s Board of Education, on Oct 31 a teacher noticed that several students had left their tablets behind on their desks. The teacher collected them and placed them in a desk in the teachers’ room for safekeeping.

However, unbeknown to the teacher one of the tablets also had its recording function left on. This was especially unfortunate because at that same time a group of teachers started dishing to each other about how they really felt about some of the students.

The next day, the teacher returned the tablets to the students, still completely unaware that one of them had been recording the day before. It is unclear whether the recording was intentional or accidental and what exactly was said, but it must have been juicy because after finding the recording the student began sending it to classmates.

After word got out, one of the students mentioned in the audio stopped attending school from the beginning of the month and a teacher whose voice was on the recording took a leave of absence. School officials went to the homes of all students who had a copy of the recording or whose names were mentioned in it and apologized.

The head of the Board of Education also apologized in a press conference. “We are very sorry to cause anxiety to children, teachers, and the community,” he said, “We will provide thorough training on the proper use of the tablets and help teachers to mind their behavior more.”

However, readers of the news online were divided over who was really to blame for this incident.

“What could that teacher have said to make them stop coming in to work?”

“The staff can’t even let their guard down for a moment.”

“A teacher who would say something so bad in casual conversation has something seriously wrong anyway.”

“I don’t know why the Board is apologizing. Clearly, the student did this on purpose.”

“Forget the recording. If the teachers are having conversations that’d make students stop going to school, that’s the problem.”

“If those walls could talk…”

“It’s not like the students don’t also badmouth the teachers behind their backs.”

“The kid who recorded it and spread it is the problem. Talking behind people’s backs is just natural.”

“Replace all teachers with AI.”

This incident does bring to light that maybe the working conditions of teachers needs improvement so they don’t feel like letting off steam in such a way.

Source: NHK News WebHachima Kiko

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- Osaka’s new remote-learning policy leaves teachers strained and forces students to go to school

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-- Japanese high school teacher in hot water after forcibly giving male student a buzz cut

© SoraNews24

©2023 GPlusMedia Inc.

40 Comments
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How long till the first suicide connected to this?

-5 ( +10 / -15 )

This story seems a bit fishy to me. Did the students often forget these tablets? If this has replaced all textbooks wouldn't it be necessary to do homework? These tablets must have a great battery life if it was in recording mode for a long time. It sounds like one of the students knew what he or she was doing and set up the teacher for a prank, but they didn't expect that they would get this kind of information. And yes teachers complain about bad students all the time, just as office workers complain about their co-workers or bosses, it is human nature.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

This incident does bring to light that maybe the working conditions of teachers needs improvement so they don’t feel like letting off steam in such a way.

What a bland ending. Sounds like the kind of way the essays of my students used to end. How could you improve the working conditions in this case? Replace the students with others?

12 ( +14 / -2 )

We will provide thorough training on the proper use of the tablets and help teachers to mind their behavior more.

Well that’s not really the point is it. Maybe need thorough training on not bad mouthing your students that are in their care. Gotta feel for the boy or girl that’s not attending school and the parents who love their kid no matter what.Not to mention how that child may(depending on what was said) be affected later, and carry that baggage with them into adulthood. May looks confidence as well as trust in teachers/schools.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

If teachers didn’t complain about students I’d be surprised.

Can’t really blame the teacher for a conversation that they thought they were having in private but I do understand why they took “a leave of absence”, whether it was self imposed or forced on them.

Unfortunate that the owner of the laptop decided it was a good idea to circulate the conversation.

what a conundrum

Technology…. damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

7 ( +12 / -5 )

Ok for kids to complain about teachers but not vice versa? What a crock of BS. So long as it wasnt anything illegal, guano happens.

8 ( +16 / -8 )

After many years of teaching schools I know many the convesations in teacher's rooms are not fit for public ears.

17 ( +18 / -1 )

Yubaru

Today 07:55 am JST

Ok for kids to complain about teachers but not vice versa? What a crock of BS. So long as it wasnt anything illegal, guano happens.

A simple two part question:

Which are adults supposedly responsible to care for the children and which are still immature children?

An old saying, " wall have ears" when you are in a position of authority, a position to affect a lot of things with just one wrong word or move, you are the one that needs to take care not to make a mistake or caude trouble.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

This is one of the reasons why student suicides happen. A Student shares on social media the teachers saying another student is a dimwit and a loser. The next day the student is bullied and given the nickname “dimwit.”

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Probably accidental and NOT intentional , at the start but when the kid decided to share it that I believe he was influenced by friends and classmates.

However teachers in general do talk about students behavior all the times and it is just observation and not meant to harm anyone.

I hope that the affected students get the proper care and attention so they can continue schooling.

A direct face to face apology from the the very same teacher/teachers in front of the school is proper.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Talking behind people's backs is bad manner. If you have something to say, say it to their face or don't say anything at all.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

The teachers were the adults in the room.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

It's not just the teachers. We all live in a world where we are probably being recorded, and, fortunately or unfortunately, must live with the consequences.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

No excuses, we're responsible for what we say. Be positive, speak well of others, and this kind of thing won't happen.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

No matter what was divulged, the embarrassment was inflammatory enough to go house to house apologising.

Loose talk can ultimately cost trust/careers, especially when recorded for prosperity.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

It is unclear whether the recording was intentional or accidental and what exactly was said, but it must have been juicy because after finding the recording the student began sending it to classmates.

Young children will seize on anything a teacher says and tell others. It could have been talking about which students work the hardest, have the most/least potential, etc so having a recording just makes it irrefutable and not hearsay and is bound to be controversial. When you have parents who are convinced their child is the most perfect and special, hearing the inconvenient truth might get them pretty riled up.

Teachers have to give honest appraisals of students and it can be pretty painful at that tender age but it is a part of the job. Just don't say anything personal. I have never seen one of those devices, but, is the record function on those things really necessary?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This doesn't need to blow up so big. That's the nature of high school and adolescents...it's sometimes just a tough job for teachers and a rough time of life for the students.

Make apologies all round, learn some lessons then put it in the past and move on.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

If you cannot say anything nice, don't say anything at all.

Wasn't that what some of us were taught growing up? It used to be in Japan that teachers felt respected and trusted by the parents while also feeling a responsibility to protect their students at the risk to their own life. Somehow Japanese society has moved away from that. We need to be reminded every day to follow the Golden Rule proclaimed by Jesus of Nazareth, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

1 ( +4 / -3 )

So, obviously the comments were negative not positive.

The students are doing badly?

Find a way to aid them before mouthing off!

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

@Jeremiah

Isocrates said that in Ancient Greece, some three hundred years before Christ.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

People say mean things about each other. They always have. Stop coddling the kids into thinking they are "special" and they are perfect - nobody is. Same for teachers.

It the teachers were speaking sexually about the students, that's a very different issue and probably needs police investigation, but the content would matter. If it was saying that in 10yrs, XYZ (student) is going to be HOT and they'd like to a, b, c him/her. That's objectifying, but also human nature.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

The less technology, the better

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Shades of the prison-house begin to close

Upon the growing Boy,

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

No single private conversation is fit for public ears. If any of our private conversations was to be made public, we all would have been fired, and some even jailed. That's every single one of us.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

If they talked about my kids that way, I would pull them out and have words with the teacher who did this. Kick that teacher out.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

Busted! Kudos to the kid who recorded it, and glad they spread it around. The teacher who did the bad mouthing really doesn't deserve more punishment than whatever he or she is suffering at the moment. However, I don't know how they'd ever make it up to the students who got dissed -- they will rightfully never trust the teacher(s) again.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Hopefully all that was recorded was some unfiltered banter about the students. However there's a part of me that wonders if any of the comments were sexual in nature. Might explain the sudden absence of one of the students and teacher and why what was said seems to have been left very vague.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

It was a private conversation which the trouble making child did not need to make public.

Obviously the children do not take care of the teaching tools provided to them if they are leaving them lying around.

How do we know that the comment was not accurate, the child must have done something or repeatedly done something to cause the comment, children are not perfect little angels despite what their parents think. They can be right little sh*its.

There is a lot of knee jerk and holier than thou criticism here without any evidence to support it.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Ridiculously unprofessional of the teachers to be creating unconscious bias about students within their peers.

An excellent opportunity for the boards of education nationally to implement inclusion training to acknowledge the diversity of students (and teachers) and the benefits of embracing it.

More nails sticking up and reshaping the social fabric, please!

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

They should know by now it’s not a perfect world. There’s should be nothing wrong with expressing how you feel even in a country with so many restrictions and secrets.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Loose talk in the staffroom, To hurt they try and try, Strong words in the P.T.A, The accusations fly,

The accusations fly now, but it’s safe to assume that such no hold’s barred, frank exchange of opinion is no anomaly but the norm, EVERYWHERE. Little wonder this society puts such a premium on surface calm and superficial pleasantry when, like the iceberg, there’s so much Titanic wrecking potential residing beneath the surface.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

“Siri (or Alexa), tell me what the teachers are saying.”

1 ( +2 / -1 )

I hope that there are better Schools around. Sadly, there are Teacher(s) who are more focused upon obedience to the rules set within the school, than actually Teaching an Education to Kids. Sadly, I say this with Confidence knowing of one, and I know that they discuss Student's weakness to influence other Teacher's opinions.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Garthgoyle

No single private conversation is fit for public ears. If any of our private conversations was to be made public, we all would have been fired, and some even jailed. That's every single one of us.

Exactly. But nowadays, the powers that be want and have that power of surveillance in people's homes from all the technology nowadays. It is basically a system of thought police where everyone has to think, act, and say what they deem as only acceptable behavior even it people's speech and actions are total legal.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

@CrashTestDummy - private conversations are just that, but imagine all the teachers sitting around discussing who'd they'd like to Gas where they members of the Nazi SS.... where do you draw the line between private conversations and conversations that are quite disturbing - would you simply rely upon one of those teachers to report such conversations ?

I admit, this is a seriously extreme example, that would hopefully never exist... but, one has to consider things outside of the box.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

No single private conversation is fit for public ears. If any of our private conversations was to be made public, we all would have been fired, and some even jailed. That's every single one of us.

That's silly.

My mom taught me the concept of an inside voice, and an outside voice. The things you can say in your house, and the things you can say out of your house.

If you are talking in a teacher's room, your place of employment, you should consider that your words are public. It's not an open-ground for saying whatever you want - coworkers are able to complain about inappropriate speech, and you will face consequences if it is inappropriate in a professional setting.

It would seem the teacher in this article got caught out for saying something unprofessional, in a professional setting. It's irrelevant whether it was a student's tablet that caught him up, or another teacher complaining, or some other means.

This doesn't mean teachers cannot complain about students, but there is a difference between 'Tomoki wouldn't listen today, and was disrupting the class, resulting in me not being able to finish the lesson', and 'That little devil Tomoki is a real piece of #$%!, I hope he dies on the way to school together so we can actually get something done'. One addresses an issue, the other condemns the student.

And back to my point about an inside voice, the same teacher who brings up how he was unable to finish the lesson, could then go home and complain to his wife that 'that little devil Tomoki is a real piece of #$%!, I hope he dies on the way to school together so we can actually get something done'. It's uncouth, but not going to get him in trouble at home. It's venting. It's not going to get you "fired" or "jailed".

People who think they should be able to talk in their inside voice when they are outside, and not face any repercussion, are never very socially intelligent.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

I don't understand why they hand the student a computer in school. which that they had already a computer class?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

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