1. Warm-up questions
a. What are some differences between the school system in Japan and America?
b. What are clubs like in Japan?
c. Are there juku in America?
d. What is a drop-out? Do you know any high school drop-outs in Japan?
e. What is social media? What social media is popular in Japan?
Schools, media and young people
The US education system is generally the same as in Japan: 6 3 3 4, but some school systems are 8 4 4 or 5 7 4. Grades are counted continuously from kindergarten: K Kindergarten 1-6 Elementary School 7-9 Junior High School, Middle School 10-12 High school so school education up to university is also called K-12. University years are counted as 1st-4th year (or freshman, sophomore, junior, senior). You get an associate degree (AA, AS) after you graduate from a 2-year junior or community college, and a bachelor's degree (BA, BS) after you graduate from a 4-year college or university. After university, you can go on to graduate school and get an MA (master in arts) or MS (masters in sciences) and/or Ph D (doctor of philosophy).
School Activities at high schools include football, basketball and baseball games, school plays, dances and parties. In addition to cheerleaders, marching bands and drill teams perform at half time during football games. Parents and friends enjoy going to school plays and concerts. The biggest dance is called the school prom. Girls wear beautiful and expensive dresses then. School cafeterias vary from school to school. Some are buffet style, some are "hash lines" or fast food lines, some are mixed. At some cafeterias there are salad and dessert bars. Many university cafeterias use a meal card system, where you pay for meals each month. At others, you pay separately for what you take.
Japanese and American Schools The school year at US schools is from September to June, so it is very different from Japanese schools. Most elementary and secondary schools have 2 semesters a year, but some have three. The same is true of colleges and universities. Summer vacation is quite long, from mid-June to early September. Christmas vacation is a few weeks long. Most schools up through high school are public and FREE. Students go to the schools in their neighborhoods, so there are no entrance exams. There are also many private schools, which are expensive but offer better education in many cases. University entrance exams are based on a general exam called the SAT which tests math and English. Other tests examine foreign languages and sciences.
DATING and SCHOOLS
In America, students usually date earlier than in Japan, because clubs and study do not take up as much time, and dating is acceptable even in junior high school. Many students drive at 16 or earlier, and have more freedom to date. When I was in elementary school, everyone was white! But now, schools are very racially mixed. Smarter students could skip half-years or years. I had to wear a skirt, but no uniforms. In junior high school, busing programs began to mix students racially. School dress codes changed, so students could begin to wear jeans or pants to school. There were school strikes--the teachers wanted more pay! In high school, we had streakers. Students were all colors!
MEDIA and YOUNG PEOPLE
Media includes newspapers, television, radio, books, magazines, and internet. According to the Indiantelevision.com Team (2003) survey of 2618 people 13 to 24, most young people use their time as follows:
Internet surfing 16.7 hours
Watching TV 13.6 hours
Radio 12 hours
Talking on phone 7.7 hours
Reading books or magazines 6 hours
Is this the same or different as in Japan?