Reactie van Japanse leraren na een bezoek aan Knapvilla

"The Name of Howard Gardner and his Multiple Intelligence were known by some educationist in 1980's in Japan, too. But the school system which limits possibilities for teachers' and schools' initiative left very little room to exploit the idea in Japan, so that the idea of multiple intelligense itself dessapeared pretty soon out of Japan. And that was very unfortunate for the children in Japan, of course.

In 2007 a Unicef report revealed that 29.8 % of 15 years old children in Japan are feeling either 'always' or 'sometimes' lonely. It was a striking figure, especially comparing with the percentage in European countries: in most of the European countries, the percentage of the children who admits that they feel lonely either always or sometimes varies between 5-10%, and in Netherlands it was only 2.9%. One tenth of Japanese kids!

Since the modern education began in 1872 in Japan, the school education has been strictly organized with government-censored textbooks, top-down school administration and standard tests. In most of the schools the teachers have little time to pay attention to differentiate to adjest to needs and to intelligence of individual children. This must be, I suppose, certainly related to their feeling of loneliness.

Through the process of this kind of school education, children grow with less creativity and with less critical thinking, which is sad for them who would later have to live in the diverse and dynamic world in the future.

Until when Tsunami attacked the Northern area of Japan and the nuclear plant in Fukushima was damaged and caused enourmous disaster, most of people in Japan knew nothing about the fact that there were 54 nuclear plants on the country full of earthquakes and volcanos.

After the disastor, the people are slowly realizing that their school system was designed exclusively for the power holders who seek only the industrial development for their own sake, but not for individual unique development and well-being of each child. Young teachers and students are seeking now very enthousistically a betterway of teaching for overall development of children as (global) citizens.

The group of Japanese who visited Knapvilla on 23 augustus 2012 were ones who are in each way consciously involved for innovation of the school education in Japan. It was the first time for them to see the Multiple Intelligence theory exercised in a concrete way in practice.

They were very positive to see all the areas, carefully prepared. I'm sure that they will try to find ways to design their classrooms a little better, also from entirely different perspective for the education, for their children."

Naoko Richters-Yasumoto
Writer/researcher, Pedagogist/Sociologist
Director of Japan Jenaplan Association
Director of Global Citizenship Advice & Research

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