Japan’s Education System Inspires UK

June 17, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. take a leaf out of someone’s book (idiom) 
[teyk uh leef out uhv, ov suhm-wuhn, -wuhn book] – to learn from someone’s achievements
Example: I took a leaf out of my classmate’s book and created good study habits.

2. revolutionize (v.) [rev-uh-loo-shuh-nahyz] – to cause a huge change
Example: Internet has revolutionized the way students learn information.

3. notable (adj.) [noh-tuh-buhl] – something or someone that deserves attention or notice.
Example: Einstein’s notable discovery is the Theory of Relativity.

4. brainstorm (v.) [breyn-stawrm] – to discuss deeply and completely with a group of people
Example: The department heads brainstormed the new teaching strategy.

5. trial and error (n.) [trahy-uhl and er-er] – a method of problem solving in which several solutions are tried until the best one arises.
Example: The scientist discovered the cure of the sickness using trial and error.

Read the text below.

Stephen Twigg, a British Labor party politician and Education Secretary, says that the United Kingdom can take a leaf out of Japan’s book on how it can improve the quality of British education. Japan, along with South Korea and Singapore, is one of the countries notable for excelling in science and math.

Twigg worries that education policies in UK have remained unchanged for a long time. In contrast, Japan has been revolutionizing its school’s teaching methods for the past 50 years through gradual improvements done over time.  

As part of the Labor party’s reform of UK’s education policy, Twigg will visit Japan in order to study its education reforms. He is particularly interested in jugyou kenkyuu, a system of lesson planning in which teachers schedule regular meetings to brainstorm on how to instruct students effectively.

Kounaikenshuu —the continuous training of teachers for professional development, is another strategy that might prove useful. Twigg says that UK should also focus on improving teachers to their full potential.

He also remarks that teaching methods in Japan and UK are drastically different. In UK, students are taught steps on how to solve problems. In Japan, teachers allow the students to think for themselves and solve problems using trial and error.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you think Japan’s education policies can be effective in UK or any other countries? Why or why not?
·         What other education policies from Japan can other countries adapt aside from jugyou kenkyuu and kounaikenshuu?

Discussion B 

·         How can schools and the government provide quality education to the students?
Do you think that the government should prioritize developing the country’s education system? Why?


June 17, 2012