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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

      More by this author

      Carlos Alberto Romay

      Freelance Writer

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      Last Updated on May 22, 2019

      10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

      10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

      There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

      One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

      In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

      Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

      1. Cat Camel Stretch

      Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

      Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

      Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

      Here’s a video to guide you through:

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      2. Go for a Walk or a Run

      This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

      Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

      The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

      Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

      Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

      3. Jumping Jacks

      Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

      Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

      4. Abductor Side Lifts

      Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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      Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

      5. Balancing Table Pose

      This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

      Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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        6. Leg Squats

        Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

        Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

        The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

        7. Push Ups

        You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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        An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

        Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

        This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

        8. Bicycle Crunches

        There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

        Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

        9. Lunges

        Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

        Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

        This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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        10. Bicep Curls

        You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

        Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

        Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

        Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

        Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

        These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

        You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

        Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

        More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

        Reference

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