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Osaka studies ways to deal with problem children in schools

33 Comments

In an effort to deal with problem students who regularly disturb class time, the Osaka City Board of Education is planning to develop a program in which such students are removed from their normal classes for a short period of time and placed in specialized guidance programs designed to help them get back on track.

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto met with a Board of Education panel this week to discuss the matter of disruptive students in public elementary, middle and high schools. The meeting discussed some of the issues, including how to deal with violent behavior and disruption of classes, NHK reported.

A proposal was submitted that outlined a program in which such students would be temporarily removed from their regular classes and sent to "special guidance classrooms," to study under teachers and other part-time staff with backgrounds in psychology and child development.

Hashimoto was quoted by NHK as saying, "It is paramount that we provide structure and stability for these students who repeatedly run into problems in the classroom. By allowing these children to continue causing problems, we are also allowing them to affect the lives and well-being of other children in schools."

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33 Comments
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Boy Japan is so far behind the times. They've been doing that in the US for decades. I myself can't even count the number of times I was removed from class.

0 ( +7 / -7 )

A compulsory mental health assessment would be good.

Parents refuse them for kids who they know have mental problems, because they are worried about their kids being stigmatized. However they do this at the educational expense of the other children, which is simply not fair.

Also the ability for those who are smart to jump a year, and those who are struggling to cope to be kept back a year. This is still not done in Japan, where your date of birth determines everything. Which is simply ridiculous. It should be a starting point, but other factors should also be taken into account.

14 ( +14 / -1 )

I commend his effort but knowing that it's Hashimoto that is involved, I can't help but think this will get blown out of proportion. I can only hope that this will be a good move forward and not make the system worse.

Then there is the teacher issue. If the teacher is too afraid to "remove" the student(s) from class, then his plan is useless. Is this part going to get addressed?

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Maybe it would help if they taught kids useful and interesting things like how to make a living instead of how to get to be a good employee. They cram kids brains with calculus that I needed to learn in engineering and haven't used so I think the kids are suffering from childhood. Personally I hated school because we learnt so much stuff that was useless and presented in such boring ways. Descriptiveness is more of and outcome of the system and therfore predictable..

3 ( +3 / -0 )

So finally, they are deciding to initiate what is called in the west "detention" or "suspension" or even "expulsion". They claim the reason for these not being present is the fact that children have a right to education, which may be 100 % true, however they fail to see how the right to education of those students who wish to learn is denied. They should also think about holding kids back in grades, which I can't remember what bullshit reason it is that they don't do it, but it's a bullshit reason why they don't do it. -__-

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Also the ability for those who are smart to jump a year, and those who are struggling to cope to be kept back a year. This is still not done in Japan, where your date of birth determines everything. Which is simply ridiculous. It should be a starting point, but other factors should also be taken into account.

Didn't know that Japan didn't allow kids to skip ahead or fall back. It would indeed help solve some of the problems. Many times, it is the kids who are more advanced and have to be held back that may cause some of the disruptive behavior. If they are allowed to compete with persons on their level academically, it may cause them to have a different outlook. Same goes for those who may not be well performers in school. Knowing that they can't keep up and are struggling, maybe they do need another year to get it together. After all, it all comes out in the end. The kids who don't do well in school wind up having to sit and study for university exams after high school if they didn't get into one right after graduation, so you may as well start earlier and get them the help they may need.

Also, Japan needs to finally realize that some kids/people are just going to be up to no good. And you need to have methods in place to deal with them and not let their behavior affect others who may want to learn.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

@Hereforever: Perhaps a return to math class could help you count up, it is NEVER too late to learn. Ever.

At least in Japan the automatic response mechanism isn't, 'Give them Ritalin'.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

If the teacher is too afraid to "remove" the student(s) from class, then his plan is useless. Is this part going to get addressed?

Teachers, at the moment legally aren't "allowed" to remove any child from the class due to their behaviour. The child has a "right" to attend class even if they are disruptive, violent and out of control. Teachers have ZERO power here because the parents have stripped them of them. Taro throws a chair? Ask a child to go and get the VP as the teacher can't kick the kid out nor can they leave the classroom to get help. Student doesn't bother to show up for school? Pass them anyway as you can't fail them - it might "hurt" their feelings. Child doesn't do his homework? Spend all lunch time "helping" said child because clearly the teacher didn't do their job properly. Call the parents? Risk a monster parent showing up and making insane demands on the teachers.

I will never, ever work in the secondary system here again because there is ZERO support for teachers here. The parents have all the power. Parents will NOT agree to having their kids mental health checked even when it is clear there are issues. I have dealt with cutters, anti-social behaviour, serious pyschological issues, hostesses (yes, at the high school level) and when ALL parents were called, they ALL refused the advice to have their child see someone. Japan needs to make the parents step up and take some responsibility for their kids. There are many, many amazing parents out there but it takes ONE set of parents to screw up an entire class because of the demands of one child and a parent/parents who refuse to do their job and parents.

Good luck to Hashi on this. I can't stand the guy but at least he's aware that there are serious issues in the system. Perhaps he could focus on this rather than tats and refusing to sing Kimigayo??

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Yeah. Teachers got their hands tied. Delusional parents think their kids are angels. Bring back the paddle!

8 ( +8 / -0 )

This is a great idea. BUT Hashimoto's had great educational ideas before and they have never come to fruition. His best idea was to have grass play areas in all Osaka schools. I remember when I first came to Japan and asked a friend why there were so many jails about!!! Haha... it turns out they are schools. I was shocked that such a rich country has such poor looking and poorly funded schools.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

They need to be looking at ways of dealing with problem parents cos that is where problem kids come from.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Many times, it is the kids who are more advanced and have to be held back that may cause some of the disruptive behavior.

This was my problem in school. I could grasp new concepts with quite short explanation, while other kids needed more. Since I already had it, I would be bored of listening to the teacher continue to explain, and would start talking with other kids or doing something else - aka being disruptive. Had I been in classes with kids at the same level as myself, I would have felt more challenged, and had less time to be disruptive.

At least in Japan the automatic response mechanism isn't, 'Give them Ritalin'.

So true. Drugging kids to keep them in line is the single biggest failing of the education systems in which its practiced. But it's a cheaper 'solution' than hiring more teachers (which would be the correct way of dealing with the issue) so fiscally focused bureaucrats continue to dope the children.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Many times, it is the kids who are more advanced and have to be held back that may cause some of the disruptive behavior

I am going to say this is rare. Yes, it happens but it doesn't happen all that often. What DOES happen though is many kids think they are beyond the work they are doing so claim this but in reality, they are behind. Parents with cheerleader this and suggest their kid is far beyond the restof the students when clearly, the student is not. It DOES happen but notnearly as often as one likes to suggest it does.

Drugging kids is becoming more common. This country has a massive "drugged up" rate and I fear it will soon spread to the kids.

The issue isn't how smart or dumb a kid is. The issue is their behaviour. You can help a student who is struggling with classes. You can't help someone who has no idea how to behave or who has serious mental health issues. Teachers aren't trained to do so nor should they be expected to. That's the parent's job and most problems comes from poor parenting. If you spoil your child, don't develop their attention span, help with their study skills... put them in a class of 35 other kids and you're bound to have problems. However, parents are scared cows here. Never to be questioned and never to be blamed. It's leading to serious issues at the university level as well and I've had three meetings this week over anti-social behaviour and students unable to keep up. Not because they are "dumb" but because they have been pushed through a system and I would suggest have parents who are not getting the help their kids need. This of course, leads to issues with employment - and the likes of grads standing outside Akihabara offering their "skills" up to passerby.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What other countries do is irrelevant. The issue of rude and disruptive students in Japan needs to be addressed. Yes they have a right to an education but they don`t have a right to ruin another kids opportunities. Separate classes might work with some additional guidance. I give kids three chances to button up, on the fourth they get an earful and that usually does it. The Japanese teacher thanks me afterwards.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

His best idea was to have grass play areas in all Osaka schools.

Yeh grass would make them look more lively, even if the schools themselves still look like old ghost-buildings. With all the little chores they make the kids do, they could even have them water the grass as well.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The STRAP worked well in the past, as well as detention / suspension and being held back. Special needs kids need special needs teachers. I have booted kids out of my private classes with the 3 strikes your out rule only to have the school owners support the bad behavior and worry about losing business. Not once in 16 years have I had a parent meeting regarding bad behavior????

1 ( +1 / -0 )

only to have the school owners support the bad behavior and worry about losing business

Not sure how having problem kids in your school is good business, but I guess people can be pretty short-sighted.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

they should tatoo them..

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I think the main problem comes from the style of schooling itself. All students are expected to perform at the same level and those who cannot are ostracised and become problem students. You can then add the lack of disciplinary avenues available to teachers and the 'monster parent' phenomenon. All of these add up to creating problem students. I've worked in many schools for many years and seen how the teachers use verbal abuse, intimidation and ridicule as disciplinary action. This only results in creating rebellious students. Once again we see Japan addressing the result and not the cause of the problem.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I find it interesting reading the comments from some who have actually been in the schools teaching and I am finding out that the parents have such control over what goes on in the schools. What I find equally facinating is that the governments response is that kids have the right to be in class, yet in Japan graduating from high school is not mandatory nor is it mandatroy that students actually attend classes. From what I understand, students can drop out by the time they reach high school. So if they don't have to graduate under Japan law, then why is it that teachers can't throw them out if they are disruptive? Again, Japan is the land of conflicting rules.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Learning-disabled, mentally-deficient and a plethora of other special-needs students are dumped into mainstream classes, where they take valuable teacher time away from the majority of students.While some of these students may benefit socially from their inclusion, and even slightly academically, the price that all the others must pay by being constantly slowed or interrupted due to loss of teacher time is unacceptable.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Another problem is, students are not classed by grade. They are just thrown into a class and that is where they stay. This creates a whole new set of issues. It creates a situation where the lower achieves are not given a chance to better themselves and the higher achieves are restricted by the lower ones. The whole school system needs a good shake up before the go blaming the kids for being a problem.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

my rebellious son used to say that his teachers are dumb and boring, stuff he learns in school he never needed and just useless.. he read books beyond his age, and very street wise when it comes how to earn money while his classmates are stuck with books that he said good for a 5 years old only..

-11 ( +0 / -11 )

Son sounds like an insufferable person that looks down on others if you ask me.

Kids definitely need to learn in a stable environment giving problem children an extra push seems like a good idea.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

At least in Japan the automatic response mechanism isn't, 'Give them Ritalin'.

No, the automatic response seems to be "blame the teachers."

I teach at an international school, with a high proportion of Japanese students. I had one kid who was so disruptive that I was spending literally 90% of the class time trying to control him. Fortunately his parents, who had lived and worked in the US, were open to the idea of drug therapy (this was after exhausting every other option, including psychotherapy and various behavioural modification techniques).

Those "nasty" drugs have given my student a chance to shine. He's now one of the smartest, funniest, most lovable kids I have ever dealt with!

I also have another student who suffered from severe asthma which disrupted his school life. He's on drug therapy too, to control his breathing problems, and he is also now one of the smartest, funniest, most lovable kids ever.

Really, what's the difference?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Well, crap. I can't believe the day would come but I agree with Hashimoto.

Took way to long for someone to come up with the idea.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Special needs kids need special needs teachers.

Don't confuse the issue of special needs kids and badly behaved kids. Osaka has many amazing special needs teachers who do an amazing job. The kids Hashi is talking about are badly behaved kids who have clearly never been taught how to behave. I believe every JHS and Ele school in Osaka has a special needs teachers and many students are in pull out programs or are in that class FT getting help and support. They also have support staff for the teachers of special needs kids.

Not sure how having problem kids in your school is good business, but I guess people can be pretty short-sighted. If you speak to anyone who works at a private school who has a brain, ALL will state the same thing. The issue is the yes men at the top only want to save their behinds so will allow anything and everyone in to keep their heads above water. I watched students get less than 20% on entrance tests and be allowed in. Why? Need the money. The same thing is happening at universities these days. It is very short sighted but with the population drop, many aren't thinking long term. Money. If the parents can pay, the kid gets in for many, many schools here these days.

All students are expected to perform at the same level and those who cannot are ostracised and become problem students. I disagree with this. If you wanted to comment on teaching methods I would agree with you but nearly ALL of the public schools I worked at had a higher class for each grade for the smarter students and teachers doing their best to help lower level students in all their classes. The issue is why are students allowed to pass if they can't do the work.

So if they don't have to graduate under Japan law, then why is it that teachers can't throw them out if they are disruptive? Because schools have to report the numbers to board of education and too many not attending means questions get asked and teachers get blamed. It also means that parents will complain if Taro gets asked to leave and let's be honest, the ones with the worst kids are the ones with the biggest mouths. Teachers vs. parents. Schools never win. See comments about with regards to population issues.

Learning-disabled, mentally-deficient and a plethora of other special-needs students are dumped into mainstream classes, where they take valuable teacher time away from the majority of students.While some of these students may benefit socially from their inclusion, and even slightly academically, the price that all the others must pay by being constantly slowed or interrupted due to loss of teacher time is unacceptable.

Another problem is, students are not classed by grade. They are just thrown into a class and that is where they stay. This creates a whole new set of issues.

And why is streaming not done here? Because the parents managed to get rid of it. No one wanted their kids to be in the "dumb" class so streaming is not okay - here or in many of our "home" countries now. There are "higher" classes that students can apply to get into but that's about it. I 100% disagree with this but when Taro is a dummy and gets put in the slow class, mommy complains that Taro is being labeled and stigmatized. Many parents would rather their kids suffer in standards classes than be put in a lower level class where the students are around the same level. If you speak to teachers "home" they will also moan about this issue. That and many parents now claim Jack has a learning disability so the teachers needs to help him but actually Jack just doesn't have a developed attention span or study skills. Who is to blame for that? Not the teachers who've only had a year to deal with all the issues.

...he read books beyond his age, and very street wise when it comes how to earn money while his classmates are stuck with books that he said good for a 5 years old only. A fine example of the kind of parent I have been writing about. Good luck with your son when he can't keep a job because he thinks he's smarter than the boss.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Got to laugh. It sounds more like The Breakfast Club to me.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

A compulsory mental health assessment would be good.

Starting with Hashimoto and the teachers as well. For that matter, everyone who works at MEXT too.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is a home problem, not a school problem. Badly behaved students are badly behaved children. They have a bad home life in some way -- neglected, spoiled, or whatever. Discipline starts at home. I'd say to the parents, if I were a principal, "Straighten this kid out or he doesn't come back".

And what's this about not being able to kick students out of class? My colleagues and I always kick students out of class.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And what's this about not being able to kick students out of class? My colleagues and I always kick students out of class.

You can if you work in a private school. If you work in a public school, I'd take care of a student running home to mommy and complaining.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

About time. I used to try to have problem students removed from my lessons when I was an ALT but it was almost impossible. Kids sleeping or even wandering the corridors is fine by me, but when they are allowed to stay in the classroom and disrupt the lesson for everyone else it's a bloody nightmare, and very hard to be patient as a teacher.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

This is a home problem, not a school problem. Badly behaved students are badly behaved children. They have a bad home life in some way -- neglected, spoiled, or whatever. Discipline starts at home. I'd say to the parents, if I were a principal, "Straighten this kid out or he doesn't come back".

I totally agree.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

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