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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 September 16, 2019

      How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

      How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

      You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

      We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

      The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

      Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

      1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

      Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

      For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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      • (1) Research
      • (2) Deciding the topic
      • (3) Creating the outline
      • (4) Drafting the content
      • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
      • (6) Revision
      • (7) etc.

      Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

      2. Change Your Environment

      Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

      One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

      3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

      Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

      Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

      My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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      Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

      4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

      If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

      Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

      I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

      5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

      I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

      Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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      As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

      6. Get a Buddy

      Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

      I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

      7. Tell Others About Your Goals

      This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

      For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

      8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

      What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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      9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

      If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

      Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

      10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

      Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

      Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

      11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

      At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

      Reality check:

      I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

      More About Procrastination

      Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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