Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Dilema With Group Think...

There is a problem I have noticed within my first few weeks of teaching. Its the 'group think' mentality. Generally here in Japan, working collectively together isn't too bad. When everyone has a role and everyone cooperates, thats just fine. The hive mind type of thinking however, isn't always good...

When everyone one is quite, no one will talk. Everyone laughs together, tired together, etc... You get the idea. This is where a dilema is created when teaching.

I had a class today, generally the group of kids are fairly happy and excited. Today it was hard to get any of them to co operate. If few won't cooperate, then the rest will follow.

This is a stark contrast to American children. Kids have a hard time working in groups, communicating ideas but generally a classroom full of students doesn't act like a group. It acts like a collective pool of individuals. Kids will talk out of turn, not raise their hand, etc... They essentially 'do what they want'.

Maybe I shouldn't expect this from Japanese students but it makes it really hard in some cases to teach. If that quiet student was in an American class room, you just pass over them and go onto a kid who will yell out the answer.

So group think is ok a lot of the time but there is always that instance where you need a leader to stand up and grab the reigns...

It also gets me thinking... I was talking to a friend over skpe a few days ago and I was telling him about respect. In Japan, respect for everyone is expected, especially for people who are your senior. Its a bit of a contrast compared to America, where respect is earned.

Alright, dats all for da day.


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