Teaching in Japan Vs teaching in Ireland

In my previous blog post I discussed a few ways that the classroom is different in China in comparison to Ireland. Another country that shares a alternate classroom experience is Japan.

Japan and China share some similar cultural norms such as not looking someone in the eye as it is thought to be disrespectful, the same fears of shame and embarrassment when speaking or asking questions in class.

The Japanese school year is a lot longer than the regular school day here in Ireland. Japanese school schedule would usually go as shown below

  • First Term – early April finishing in July
  • Summer Break – late July finishing up in late August (usually 6 weeks)
  • Second Term – early September to late December
  • Winter Break – end of December to early January
  • Third Term – early January ending in  late March
  • Spring Break – late March to early April

In Ireland the school year is a lot short. The schedule would usually go as follows:

  • First Term – September to late October
  • October Midterm Break – late October to beginning of November
  • Winter Break – Late December to usually the second week in January
  • February Midterm Break – a week in the middle of the month
  • Easter Break – which dates varies on a yearly basis but is 2 weeks break in March to April
  • Summer break – late June to September

There is a big difference in the amount of time both the student and teacher would spend in the classroom.  Another interesting difference is that in Japan, there are no janitors. The teacher would be expected to wash and brush the floors of their classroom each day. Which is no harm I suppose, however it’s not exactly something you’d think of.

Anther interesting fact about schools in Japan is that they hold a ‘no shoes in the classroom’ like policy. Each student and teacher is assigned a chubby in order to store their shoes during school time. In Ireland, you would properly get in a spot of trouble for running around the place with no shoes on. But to be honest I don’t think its such a bad idea, especially if the teacher is the one who is responsible for maintaining a clean and tidy classroom.




Teaching in Ireland Vs Teaching in China

This semester one of our option modules was TESOL I decided to take it for future career possibilities. Though out the course have had my eyes open to the different cultures and traditions of teaching in countries outside of Ireland. I thought it was very interesting to see the ways people are expected to teach across the world.

One of the countries that stood out for me was China. The population of China alone in comparison to Ireland is substantial. China being home to around 1,356 billion people in contrast with Ireland’s 4,595 million.

This population gap would obviously effect classroom sizes. In china a teacher would be expected to teach between 30 and 50 students in a class. In Ireland classroom occupancy would be between 20 to possibly 30 students.  Due to this large pupil to teacher ratio in china, pupils do not get the chance to spend one to one time with the teacher.

Due to Chinese culture, students are less likely to answer or even ask questions in class due to fear of being humiliated or looking silly in front of their classmates. This makes it difficult for teachers to know whether a student needs a little extra help, and with a large number of students in each class it is a lot easier for them to get left behind.

There is also an added pressure to teachers of English in china because the teacher is expected to know everything. The students do not usual participate and the whole class would typically consist of the teacher speaking.

In Ireland I feel that we are comfortable to speak in front of the class and are in fact encouraged to do so. It’s unfortunate that the traditional ways of Chinese culture interrupts this aspect of learning and building a relationship between a teacher and their students.

if your interested in reading some more about teaching in China here’s a link to a blog i read.


ipods_sligo-300x225.jpgother sources: