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In Japan School Janitors Simply Don’t Exist, Here’s Why

In Japan School Janitors Simply Don’t Exist, Here’s Why

In Japan, students don’t take exams until they reach the age of 10. Until that point, it is deemed more important for Japanese students to learn to live. They are taught how to live. They learn to take care of animals, to respect people, and to understand nature. Children are taught values like self-control, responsibility, and justice.

Why don’t Japanese schools hire school janitors?

As part of their education, children are taught to keep their surroundings clean. If everyone takes care of and respects shared space, everyone will be existing in a harmonious environment. It is believed that learning this mentality will teach children respect and responsibility. They will understand that cleaning is everybody’s responsibility. So students don’t see themselves as above such work; they help each other out during cleaning duties.

Children eat lunch at school, and they are responsible for bringing their garbage to the recycling zone and cleaning the table before they leave. Every milk box is collected to be recycled. Students also eat lunch in the classroom with their teacher, which creates a closer bond between student and teacher. At lunch time, the students are responsible for serving food to teachers; there are no lunch workers. Once lunch finishes, clean-up is so thorough, you won’t be able to tell that anyone had eaten there!

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Not only that, but many schools grow their own food and children are taught to cook easy and healthy meals. Again, it is not about the food. It is about education. This social approach to education helps students improve autonomy, responsibility, and encourages the development of a strong work ethic.

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    What are the long-term benefits?

    As stated before, teaching students the responsibility of cleaning up after themselves is great way to facilitate a culture where cleaning is right. Also, this action encourages mutual respect. They are taught to preserve a clean shared space, and become a team working to benefit each other. As they clean, children take the opportunity to chat with their friends, so it is not a boring task.

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    In fact, it’s not just about the activity of cleaning – It is not the action itself but the meaning behind the act. The same principle would apply if the children were told to paint the classroom, or to keep the grass pruned. The fact is that they are taught to work as a team in caring for their environment. When they grow older, these children will continue to respect and take care of the space around them. They’ll never forget this good habit. The cleaning task is just a tool to teach them a habit.

    As Michael Auslin, a former English teacher in Japan, said in a quote for NPR, “School is not just for learning from a book, It’s about learning how to become a member of society and taking responsibility for oneself”. The purpose of public school is to educate in all aspects, not just book-learning. They train them to live. In their future, no one is going to clean up after them, so they better learn to do it now.

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      Photo: Nishatha Bijeesh

      What can parents learn from this story?

      Children need to be educated. Education is not only a means to develop their intelligence, but to become a useful person. A human that cares about other human beings and nature. School time is a great period in our children’s lives. School is where they learn new skills, habits, and experiences so we should make this experience outstanding.

      As parents, we should take a minute to evaluate this method in instructing our children. We must understand that they need to be respectful, responsible and justice-oriented. There is no point in only improving their intelligence while undermining their humanity. Maybe we do not want to see our children cleaning and washing, but we surely want them to become well-rounded individuals. Remember that it is not the action, but the final result that is important.

      What do you think?

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      Featured photo credit: Koh Mui Fong via todayonline.com

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      Carlos Alberto Romay

      Freelance Writer

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      Last Updated on January 25, 2021

      What Should I Do Today? 30 New Things To Do Today

      What Should I Do Today? 30 New Things To Do Today

      It’s always fun to do something new, but often we fall into the trap of spending our weekends the same way.

      If you’re stuck in the same old routine, it might be time to try something new.

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      What should I do today? No ideas?

      Everything listed here is something you can easily do no matter where you live, and even on a tight budget! Try out one of these 30 new things today, you’ll be happy you did.

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      Try Out These 30 New Things To Do Today

      1. Visit a suburb in your city that you’ve never been to before, or somewhere you haven’t explored much.
      2. Learn ten phrases in a new language–what about Japanese, Italian or Portuguese?
      3. Listen to a genre of music you haven’t tried before–perhaps Jazz, Punk or Blues?
      4. Have a picnic in your local park complete with a packed lunch and your animal friends.
      5. Start a daily journal to write your thoughts in.
      6. Try a new cuisine–what about French, Lebanese or Korean?
      7. Visit your local library and borrow some books for the weekend.
      8. Plant some flowers in your garden. If you don’t have one, try an indoor potted plant.
      9. Visit a local museum or art gallery and view their latest exhibition.
      10. Learn a new skill–what about sewing, gardening or cooking? You’ll be surprised what you can learn in an afternoon.
      11. Say hello to a neighbor you don’t usually talk to.
      12. Make a card for a friend and send it to them with a handwritten note.
      13. Learn how to cook a new dish for dinner. We all get tired of eating the same thing, why not try making something new?
      14. Re-read an old favorite book. Don’t leave it gathering dust on your book shelf; get it out and read it all over again.
      15. Research the culture of a different country online–what about India, Guatemala or Sweden?
      16. Go for a walk or bicycle ride around your neighborhood.
      17. Watch a classic film like Casablanca, The Godfather or The Wizard of Oz.
      18. Make a photo album of a recent holiday you took. Don’t let your memories get lost on your computer hard drive; make a special keepsake album of your trip.
      19. Visit your local farmers markets and pick out some fresh produce. Farmers markets are full of delicious fresh fruit, veggies and more. Find your local market and take a visit.
      20. Plan a day trip to somewhere outside your city–it might be the seaside, mountains or another city!
      21. Check out what community events are running in your area and attend one.
      22. Make a birthday present for a friend. Handmade gifts are personal and much more special than anything you could buy from a store.
      23. Attend a play at your local theater. Support your local theater and have a fun night out at the same time.
      24. Volunteer with your local nature conservation society to plant some trees. Conservation societies are always looking for helping hands; do your bit and plant some trees.
      25. Be a tourist in your own city and visit all the popular tourist sites you’ve likely never been to (don’t forget your camera!)
      26. Call a friend you haven’t spoken to recently and have a good long chat.
      27. Put on your favorite song and dance your heart out. You might be surprised at how much fun you have!
      28. Invite some friends over for a BBQ. There’s nothing better than an afternoon spent with good friends and good food.
      29. Try out a new form of exercise like Pilates, tennis or swimming.
      30. Organize a clothing swap with your friends. You’ll have a great time, and save some cash and the environment all at the same time!

      Now that you’ve read my list of 30 new things to try today, my question for you is, “what new things will you try today?”

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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