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Do you think participation in extracurricular school activities in Japan is beneficial for students?

31 Comments
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It depends on how free the students are to choose and how regimented and joyless the activity is. Japanese schools seem to have a particular skill for removing the joy from anything.

-2 ( +19 / -21 )

No because once they join a club they tend to go overboard. I will encourage my kids to never join a club.

-1 ( +16 / -17 )

If they can be fun and inspiring as well as educational, without being an excessive burden on the schedules of the students and teachers, then they are a good thing.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Besides being in the band, I was in the theater club, where I acted in plays, and the English club, where we sat around speaking (or trying to speak) English. There are two motivations for club activity. One is your interest in the activity, and the other is enlarging your circle of friends. And the friend part is most important.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Not the way Japan does it, no matter the activity.

The way they do it 7 days a week and 2-5 hours a day, (probably double or triple that on weekends) you would think they were doing their activities, professionally.

0 ( +10 / -10 )

Extracurricular activities can be important to a child’s development, but they overdo it here.

I loved playing football at school, but we trained only twice a week, with a game on the weekend. (Japan practice 6-7 days a week) The football season finished in September (Australia), where we were then free to pursue other interests. (Japan continue all year round)

Give children their own time to spend with family & friends.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

It will be beneficial IF they are allowed to participate freely. Forcing kids to spend too much of their resources in club activities is just unproductive. Schoolwork is already a drain, club activities is pushing it. clubs should be for recreation and discovery, not another avenue for achiever-ism.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

No;

leave them kids alone.

5 ( +8 / -3 )

Club activities are great in itself. However, they can be stressing if 1. They are forced or "encouraged." 2. If they are pressured to continue them while putting up with the regimental attitudes of their coaches and sempai. 3. If they are pressured to continue clubs, along with their school work.

Growing up, we were allowed to take part in club activities provided that our grades didn't slip below a C average or that we were on probation for anything. Clubs are great for developing students' personalities while allowing students to find their own personality and enjoyment.

Students are humans. They work hard, get stressed, and even break down like everyone else. Let them enjoy life.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think they are beneficial for students. Japanese students come to focus on major subjects such as mathematics and foreign language as their grade step up. Universities and high schools often measure students' knowledges for their adimission. However, in a rapidly changing society, people need to have abilities such as flexible and logical thinking. Such skill can be fostered by connecting and introducing a lot o ideas from different subjects, experiencing inter-communication with many classmates. Unfortunately, Japanese schools often consider extracurricular activities as a make-up for major subject. I hope they need to be more productive and comprehensive for students to develop their mind and creativity. Therefore, after-school activities are important as well as regular classes.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Club twice a week would be more than enough. It can teach kids to love sports without preventing them from pursuing other interests or consuming their lives. Also vacation should mean you don't go to school at all for any reason.

On the other hand, if I didn't play sports and take music lessons as a kid I definitely would have just played videogames and watched tv. So I think to a certain extent students should be required to participate in extracurricular activities.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I think extracurricular activities are great for kids to learn something outside of academics but the way Japan approaches such activities is a giant NO. Extracurriculars should not eat into a kid's free time and weekends and it should be there for them to socialize, learn something new and have fun without stress or pressure.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

It is very good, those activities keep the students busy doing productive things..

Japanese schools seem to have a particular skill for removing the joy from anything.

Ignorance as its best..

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

They make them overly serious and joyless and after all that joyless hard work they are encouraged to just quit and focus on their studies. I went to a high school which had special programs for future athletes and even they managed to keep the fun in it.

I think sport here is done the same as how it is with studies and work. 10x the effort compared to most western countries but still end up worse or at a similar level because they work hard at the wrong things while the system is just making it an overall un motivational shitty experience.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Sports and activities for children are an important part of education. However, they are not a fun activity in Japanese schools. They become a military style duty that students must conform and excell in. I worked in many Jr/Sr high schools and can not count the amount of kids I've seen crying and dejected due to their mistreatment and abuse in club activities. The school sports day is like a military event with teachers screaming orders at the kids. There is no fun in Japanese school sports activities.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Go and have a walk around a park on a Friday night in any Western culture to see what the alternative looks like. Cheap booze, cheap drugs, cheap hookups and anti-social behavior like only teenagers can! Then ask yourself again if you think bukatsu is a bad idea, never mind the levels of obesity and game playing either!

0 ( +6 / -6 )

Go and have a walk around a park on a Friday night in any Western culture to see what the alternative looks like. Cheap booze, cheap drugs, cheap hookups and anti-social behavior like only teenagers can! Then ask yourself again if you think bukatsu is a bad idea, never mind the levels of obesity and game playing either!

Bingo !

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Optional: Yes.

Mandatory: No.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Go and have a walk around a park on a Friday night in any Western culture to see what the alternative looks like. Cheap booze, cheap drugs, cheap hookups and anti-social behavior like only teenagers can! Then ask yourself again if you think bukatsu is a bad idea, never mind the levels of obesity and game playing either!

How does having or not having bukatsu affect the cost of alcohol, drugs or hookups?

I'd argue that mandating extracurricular activities in many western cultures would likely drive many teenagers to start using alcohol and drugs.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

No, purely because of how they are conducting them in most places. Instead of catering to their interests and fostering them they are forced to do them and even so on weekends/during holidays. also good luck if you change your mind and want to try something else.

I get it was made mandatory to keep kids out of trouble in the 80s but the overbearing mess it still is needs to chill. Not to mention teachers having to do them with no time for their own family or lives. Needs to be relaxed

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Noooooo. Not at all. The biggest disadvantage of Japanese schools is bukatsu.

Teachers are overworked and have to take care of a team, when they could be using that prescious time to one, prepare for lessons. And two, for enjoying their time off.

The "coach" of the team is an English, science, etc. teacher who probably doesn't know anything about basketball.

Students need to go to school even on their days off coz bukatsu.

Finally, bukatsu is the only option students have for joining a sport team. Once a student drops out of school, they have no chance to join a team and have that team, sport or coach teach them anything. They simply become one of those annoying chimpira.

Only good thing I see is, kids can have a nanny 365 days a year.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Only if it is for fun and good sportsmanship without the bullying. It should be voluntarily and not mandatory.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It depends a lot on the overall time demands of the individual high school coach/instructor managing a club. If the time demands are reasonable, that's not a serious problem. The problem, however, is when a coach or instructor seems to be living out their own personal fantasy through the activity he/she is managing. For example, I have some students who'll spend up to 12 hours on a single Saturday or Sunday practicing in school band practice, and on a fairly regular basis. That's way too much. It looks like the school or the managing coaches/instructors and high schools are more interested in their own personal glory than the personal well being of the students.

At the same time, a couple hours of practice after school is more reasonable and is not necessarily a bad thing. However, some of these coaches/instructors go way beyond what is reasonable in terms of overall time demands of their students.

IMO, the question above is a bit off. It should ask: Do you think too much participation in extracurricular activities in Japan is beneficial to students?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Yes*

*except they get home at 9:00pm and have to go on weekends. Seriously Japan, just stop

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Every school needs a Garden Club offering members a space to grow flowers and vegetables, get some mud under their fingernails and connect with nature.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If it's mandatory and the kids can move from one activity to another as they wish, experiencing different activities, fine. If it's compulsory, no. Once or twice a week is enough. Not every day and twice at the weekend.

My daughter had a friend who was in the swimming club in junior high. She developed a health problem and was not allowed to swim, on doctor's orders. Instead of letting her quit and try some other less taxing activity (or even just let the poor girl go home, she was in for health, after all!) she was obliged to sit in on every training session, sitting at the side of the pool, 'supporting' the kids in the water.

A total waste of time, and soul-destroying.

Add in the fact that many teachers seem to labour under the delusion that coaching the team is what their job is all about, and teaching doing the day is just filling in time before they go out and start screaming at the kids to run faster, jump higher, kick harder....

I think there are more negatives than positives.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Extracurricular activities in Japanese schools are too excessive. You'd think these kids were training for the Olympics for the amount of time they are required to spend on what should be character-building, fun activities.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

If totally volunteer strictly for fun and the student enjoyed it sure like everything else it benefits.

But if it is like what was forced on my 2 children in. Jr high and if they don't do something they end up penalized making getting into a better high school more difficult then not it has no benefit on the contrary it becomes one more thing for the child to stress about.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Everyone regularly points out the lowe even dismal English capabilities of the Japanese.

Now ask a present or former ALT how often they actually teach.

The first thing cancelled is English class to the students can get ready for some stupid "festival or recital" so sports day coming up in 2 months cancel all English classes to have more prep time.

Music festival in 3 months, again cancel all English classes until then to have more practice time.

Science exhibition same, etc...

My children couldn't even tell me the name of their ALT they saw him so rarely and for 2 years my daughter barely had homeroom because her homeroom teacher and class was English which was regularly cancelled.

Always do some events and after school things needed more time.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Next week at the senior high school I teach at part time, all of the 2nd year students are going on the long awaited school trips (3 nights) after a covid forced hiatus.

I still have 2 classes though as 6 students can't join the trips. 2 for personal / family reasons and 4 - wait for it - because they belong to clubs that have big winter tournaments coming up and the coaches have told them they can't go.

Why? Because if they contract covid it will put their teams at risk. Of course the daily cases of covid here in my town are still high to very high but there's no ban on movement.

Talk about clubs ruling kids lives.

And I've mentioned on this forum before on the same topic about my kids experience with clubs. Chorus & Sport. Coercive with a strangulation of fun.

2 days a week is enough for any club and perhaps 1 more for competition.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Depends, but I lean towards "no". Most extra-curric in Japan is just free babysitting, especially when it's forced on kids (they are pressured to choose a club/team and then MUST attend any/all practice). I have kids who have to go on every single holiday there is, save maybe Shogatsu, and most sigh and talk about how tired they are, but can't miss a practice or they get in trouble. It's particularly upsetting for kids who have to commute even on days off for such things.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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