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5 Things About The Japanese Education System That Will Surprise and Inspire You

5 Things About The Japanese Education System That Will Surprise and Inspire You
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So you say you like Japanese culture, but you’re shocked to know that Japanese public school students eat lunch in the classroom with their teacher? Read on, then, to discover more commonly unknown facts about the Japanese education system.

1. No Exams for The First 3 Years of School

The theory about why Japanese students are not required to take exams until after fourth grade is that the Japanese value excellent manners. According to the Japanese culture, it’s more important to teach proper etiquette to young students than to focus the classroom energies on cramming for upcoming standardized tests. The underlying belief is that children’s character must be developed. Therefore, it’s best to avoid judgement students’ learning progress.

Developing respect for others is taught in the classroom. Students must show deference to each other and, of course, the teacher. Of utmost importance is the student-teacher relationship. Ostensibly, students who don’t want to disappoint their teachers won’t act out.

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2. Not Janitors, But Students Clean The School

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    photo credit: Timothy Takemoto

    Japanese students have to clean up after themselves. They clean the classrooms and the bathrooms. The point is to teach students how to teamwork, share responsibility, and develop greater respect for taking care of things (not just people). Perhaps, the lesson here is that how students care for the place in which they learn reflects how the care for others. Opportunities to build character are not to be taken for granted.

    The students are split into groups according to tasks. The groups rotate throughout the year, so each student gets experience with all of the tasks. When cleaning, students are divided into small groups and assigned tasks that rotate throughout the year.

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    3. Students Eat The Same, Balanced Meals

    Aside from students with serious food allergies, Japanese students are served meals from a standardized menu. These aren’t just your average, American public school lunches, notorious for the poor nutrition, added sugars, and trans-fats. The Japanese teach their kids healthy eating from the get-go by prioritizing quality ingredients and realistic portions. Menus are a collaboration between healthcare professionals and trained chefs. Additionally, school lunches are largely made using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients.

    Teachers eat lunch with their students, a practice that further solidifies the relationship between the students and teachers. Oftentimes, Japanese students serve lunch to one another as a way to distribute the responsibility of the well-being of the entire class.

    4. Public Schools Teach Traditional Art

    What is considered fundamental knowledge to the Japanese public school system goes far beyond the scope of the foundation identified by most American public schools. Japanese students are taught traditional arts like Shodo (書道、Japanese calligraphy) and haiku, a formal style of poetry. Shodo involves writing kanji and kana characters with a bamboo brush in ink on rice paper. The art requires language knowledge and help instill respect for cultural traditions. The craft of writing haiku works similarly to promote in students an awareness of and value for national, cultural traditions.

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    5. Japanese Students Wear School Uniforms

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      photo credit: elmimmo

      From junior high school on, almost all Japanese public schools require their students to wear uniforms. Standards vary, but many uniforms share the following aspects: military-style, black uniforms for the boys, and sailor blouse and skirt for girls. School uniforms are modest in color, cut and decoration.

      As with all school-related standards, there is a point behind the uniform regulation. The idea is that when students wear the same outfits, they feel a greater sense of community. Also, any social stigmatization that come with outward appearance is lifted, allowing students to focus on learning. Some Japanese schools also have strict rules on accessories like backpacks, as well as makeup and even hairstyles.

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      Featured photo credit: Tofugu via tofugu.com

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      Published on July 22, 2021

      20 Healthy and Tasty Family Meals Ideas to Try This Week

      20 Healthy and Tasty Family Meals Ideas to Try This Week
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      It’s 5 p.m., and you’re exhausted. The kids are hungry, but no one knows what they want to eat for dinner. With very little energy, you force yourself into the kitchen and look through every cabinet, hoping for a spark of inspiration. Eventually, you toss a few ingredients together and hope for the best. It won’t win any prizes and falls short of what you consider “healthy,” but it fills everyone’s stomachs.

      Feeding a family can be stressful, even tiresome. It’s hard to find the energy and creativity needed to cook healthy but simple family meals. It’s easy to fall into the “anything goes” mentality. When you’ve got a busy lifestyle, meals become more about survival and less about nutrition.

      Here are 20 quick and healthy—but tasty—recipes followed by tips on making these family meals more nutritious. These recipes can help you have a healthy family meal on the table in an hour or less. Remember, swap ingredients out if someone in your family has dietary restrictions or if you avoid certain foods.

      1. Mini Meatloaves With Green Beans and Potatoes

        These miniature meatloaves come together quickly and cook faster, too. You can have a family favorite on the table, paired with seasoned potatoes and fresh green beans, in just 40 minutes.

        Get the recipe here.

        2. One-Pan Chicken Parmesan Pasta

          This classic will taste like you spent hours cooking, but the preparation and clean-up couldn’t be quicker. One-pot cooking makes this dish practical, while fresh basil, parmesan, and garlic add a special touch.

          To try this recipe, go here.

          3. Sheet-Pan Chicken Fajitas

            Skip the restaurant and make fajitas at home. The ingredients go on one sheet pan, meaning you won’t spend all night cleaning. Zesty chicken, bell peppers, and warm tortillas can be on the table in 40 minutes. Add sour cream, salsa, guacamole, lettuce, diced tomato, and any other favorite toppings.

            Check out the recipe here.

            4. Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Peppers

              Lose the carbs but keep the cheesesteak flavors with this quick family meal. Kids will love the pepper “bowls,” and you’ll love giving them a meal full of veggies and protein to keep them healthy.

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              Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

              5. Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl

                This veggie-packed meal adds an extra boost by using the superfood quinoa instead of rice. Flavorful yet simple, this meal makes an excellent packable lunch or dinner for your whole family.

                Find the recipe here.

                6. Spinach and Chicken Skillet With Lemon and Parmesan

                  The complex flavors of lemon and parmesan come together nicely in this gourmet-like dish, but you don’t have to exert the effort or spend as much as a gourmet meal.

                  Get the recipe for this dish here.

                  7. Oven-Fried Fish and Chips

                    Fish and chips can also sometimes be healthy as evident in this oven-fried version. You won’t miss the calories with this favorite family meal.

                    You can find the recipe here.

                    8. Pineapple-Teriyaki Chicken

                      Tangy pineapple and sweet teriyaki will have everyone coming back for seconds. Frozen vegetables make this simple family dish even easier to make and enjoy.

                      Find the recipe here.

                      9. Mozzarella, Basil, and Zucchini Frittata

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                        This egg dish is usually served for breakfast, but a frittata can make a fantastic dinner, too. High in protein, packed with zucchini, and delicious, there’s no reason to wait until morning.

                        Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                        10. Chicken and Sweet Potato Grill Packets

                          Skip the pans and throw everything into foil with this fun family recipe. Kids will love loading ingredients into their pack, and you’ll love its versatility and simplicity.

                          The recipe for this meal can be found here.

                          11. Chicken and Spanish “Rice”

                            Cauliflower takes the place of rice in this low-carb family meal, but it’s so flavorful and filling, no one will miss it.

                            Find the recipe here.

                            12. Honey Chicken Stir Fry

                              This honey chicken stir fry is the healthier version of a restaurant favorite that can be served up quicker than you can order it.

                              Find the recipe here.

                              13. Chicken Skewers With Tzatziki

                                Greek chicken and tzatziki sauce will have you yearning for the Mediterranean, but you can make this recipe at home for your family to enjoy.

                                This easy recipe can be found here.

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                                14. Healthy Walking Tacos

                                  Traditional walking tacos are a party favorite, but they’re not usually healthy. However, this recipe keeps it fun while making it more nutritious.

                                  Find out how to make it here.

                                  15. Slow-Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

                                    This classic comfort meal can be ready when you walk in the door. All you have to do is add noodles, and it’s ready to serve.

                                    The recipe can be found here.

                                    16. Cheesy Chicken and Rice Casserole

                                      This usually takes a little over an hour, but the preparation time is only 30 minutes. You’ll love how easy it is, and the cheesy rice is sure to please.

                                      Find the recipe here.

                                      17. Crockpot Rotisserie-Style Chicken

                                        Skip the checkout line and have a rotisserie-style chicken ready at home. A staple in many quick meals, you might find this family meal recipe among your most-used.

                                        Get the recipe for this flavorful chicken here.

                                        18. Santa Monica Street Tacos

                                          Named after a simple taco found on the streets of California, you’ll be surprised that something with only a few ingredients can be so flavorful. Your kids will surely enjoy them.

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                                          Find the recipe here.

                                          19. Pizza Pasta Salad

                                            Enjoy the flavor of pizza without the hassle of making a crust. Use a fun pasta shape to make this even more appealing to your family, especially kids.

                                            Try it tonight. Get the recipe here.

                                            20. Slow-Cooker Lasagna Soup

                                              Everyone loves lasagna, but it can be time-consuming and messy to make. However, this soup version has the taste you want but with the ease of a crockpot.

                                              Get the recipe here.

                                              Bonus: 3 Simple Ways to Make Meals Healthier

                                              Eating healthy doesn’t have to take a lot of money, time, or thought. Any improvements are a big step in the right direction.

                                              Here are three easy ways you can make meals healthier for your family.

                                              1. Lose the Sugar

                                              Are you looking to improve your health? Cut processed sugars from your diet—the more, the better, and that includes artificial sweeteners.[1] Why? Studies show that sugar increases the risks for weight gain, heart disease, acne, type-2 diabetes, depression, cancer, fatty liver disease, cellular aging, and low energy levels.[2]

                                              2. Avoid Highly Processed Foods

                                              Many processed foods are fine to eat. Even fresh fruit and vegetables go through some processing to stay fresh longer. However, highly processed foods have added salt, sweeteners, saturated fats, preservatives, and artificial colors. These types of food have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.[3]

                                              3. Replace Simple Carbs for Complex Carbs

                                              Lowering daily carbs can do wonders for your health. Studies show that low-carb diets lead to lower insulin levels, lower bad cholesterol levels, visceral fat loss, weight loss, reduced appetite, and can be therapeutic for many brain disorders.[4]

                                              When eating carbs, choose complex carbs over simple carbs. Simple carbs, such as white flour, rice, and degermed cornmeal, lack nutrients and spike blood sugar levels. Complex carbs, such as sweet potato, brown rice, and oats, are usually more nutritious and aren’t digested as quickly, giving more sustained energy and less of an insulin spike.[5]

                                              Enjoy Family Meals With Less Stress!

                                              Dinner can be enjoyable again now that you’re armed with simple and nutritious recipes for your family. These healthy and tasty family meal recipes can help you feel even better about what you serve. Best of all, you’ll have the extra time and energy you saved from cooking and spend more time with your family.

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                                              More Healthy Eating Tips

                                              Featured photo credit: Jimmy Dean via unsplash.com

                                              Reference

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