Justin's Regis Papers Page


by Justin Miera


Student behavior in the classroom is a major issue for teachers around the United States of America. There are frequent news stories about youth violence, inappropriate punishment and parental dissatisfaction. Very few students are touted as good citizens and fewer schools or districts are held up as molders of respectful conduct. Some of these observations may be the product of biased perspective or political agenda. Still, such statistics as "270,000 guns being taken to school each day" (Haugen, 1997) is proof enough of student behavior gone terribly awry.

It seems the harder we push for tight discipline and sever punishment the more irreverent students become. When students are given a free reign they seem to flaunt disrespectful and irresponsible behavior. The papers and pundits that have explored this issue are innumerable and range from the opinions of too few rules to our schools act like prisons.

In contrast, other industrialized nations seem to out pace our academic ability and still maintain societal peace and coexistence. The most dramatic of these relationships is between the United States and Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea. The following academic statistics come from the Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) of 1994-95. The ranking of third grades students in math places Korea first, Japan third, and the United States tenth (Third International..., 1998). In comparison, the 1986 homicide rate from Japan was 1.3/100,000, from Korea was 1.4/100,00 (UNCJIN , 1998), and from the United States was 8.6/100,000 (UNCJIN , 1998).

This modest paper could not possibly hope to answer the vexing question of "Why are our school children out of control?" What this exploration will do is demonstrate how Japan's teachers, schools and society cope with discipline. Constructivist views on questioning and mediation will be accessed as a passage to empowering student accountability. Specific activities will be offered as exercises in peer directed classroom behavior modification. A survey of students who have participated in these activities will help demonstrate the results of these activities. Such notions are a true challenge to our dominant paradigm and appear as a gauntlet for change.

Japanese Peer Discipline

Before young children enter kindergarten in Japan they often seem pampered or spoiled by their parents. Through the elementary years children are assumed to be good, but with the inability to understand inappropriate behavior (Shields, 1989, p. 14). This lenience at home is very deliberate. In fact schools often send literature to parents describing how to establish a home environment. John Singleton describes two pieces of advice that come from a popular book. It calls on parents to provide a relaxing environment and to train their children (Peak, 1991, pp. 33-34). Relaxation at home is said to be important because "The family is the oasis of the heart. It is a place where one can draw a breath of relief from the outside world." They go on to say that "If the family atmosphere is permissive [kyoyoteki], the child will have a feeling of stability from which will develop a calmly confident [oraka] style of behavior" (p. 33). The training, or shitsuke, of a child at home means to "develop good daily habits and self-reliance in matters of cleanliness, diet, elimination, clothing and sleep" (p. 34). Behavior and academic skills are noticeably absent.

This attitude towards younger children is shared by teachers in the kindergartens and elementary schools. Teachers avoid direct disciplinary confrontation with students relying instead on the power of peer pressure to gradually modify behavior. The power of community is established through many explicitly written objectives. For instance, the September expectations for students at the Mountain City Preschool are to become both self reliant (independent from the teacher) and to accomplish activities with the help of other students (p. 71). In most schools every class has its own name and each grade is designated by colored boots, jackets and packs (p. 22). Another interesting student activity at school is the hansei. Hansei is a time set aside at the end of the day for students to apologize to each other for their wrongs. Whether it was inappropriate use of cleaning materials or forgetting ones books, all students confess their short comings (Kristof, 1997, p. 43). This building of community in the classroom obligates each child to a social contract which will ultimately bind them to the greater society as a cooperative, responsible member.

Japanese Discipline Techniques

Teachers often develop social acquiescence through four techniques: (a) modeling good behavior, (b) instructing individual students, (c) seconding requests for appropriate behavior, and (d) keeping the class waiting for compliance (p. 129). Teachers exaggerate and meticulously describe desired behaviors when introducing a new concept like hand washing or sitting politely. From that time on the teacher overdraws the behavior in themselves, praises the desired "skill" in other students and calmly points out the lack of skill with inappropriate individuals (p. 130). It is believed that children progress in their skill at an individual pace, so the teacher very politely, and persistently, will repeat requests until this issue is ultimately dropped, or the teacher actively assists the student (p. 131). Seconding is a powerful way to place classroom control in the hands of the students. The teacher will often wait for a student to make a demand of the class like "Shut up!" The teacher then politely acknowledges the request and affirms it with "Yes, let's all be quiet" (p.132). The final way to produce group pressure is to make all students wait until the results of a request are accomplished. The teacher holds the modeling position and waits patiently until all students are ready to proceed. This can often take more than five minutes (p.132).

These techniques take the responsibility of discipline away from the teacher and places it on the students. Until all students are ready to move in unison nothing happens; until the group is of one mind no one individual can progress. A Tokyo teacher powerfully explained to her class that "Without getting four good tires together, a car can't proceed. Without getting everyone together, our class can't proceed either. We've still got some flat tires in here" (p. 133).


There is a dark side to this culturally pervasive group identification. These educational techniques have been institutional since 1871 (Monbusho, 1997, p.22), so today's effects have rippled through many generations. The notion of conformity before progression transcends every individual's life choices. Something as superficial and personal as a hair style can bring intolerance and even violence.

During 1984 in a Hokuriku junior high school there was a boy who had been beaten almost daily. His peers would corner him into a storage room at school or in an alley on his way home and hit him. His teachers would taunt and tease him by dousing him with chalk dust or hitting him with a bamboo sword. The misbehavior of this student was not apparently harmful. He did not distract his classmates or use inappropriate language. His malfeasance was the length of his hair. As a symbol of group identity all the other boys at school wore their hair in a crew cut. This boy had even talked over this decision to grow his hair with the teacher, and his parents, ahead of time. Still, the pressure to ensure conformity obligated everyone in the school community to punish this transgression (Shields, p. 148-149).

Social mobility and professional promotion in Japan is inextricably linked to conformity. This distaste for individuality encourages groups of students to actively confront their peers and force compliance. Often, the points of enforcement are arbitrarily defined by powerful members of the group. The result is rampant bullying. 76.9 percent of Tokyo public schools reported bullying between April of 1984 and March of 1985. 5,450 cases were reported in elementary schools, 3,519 in Junior High Schools, and 515 in High Schools. 70 percent of the bullying was categorized as psychological (p.150).

To combat this major bullying problem the Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture (Monbusho) has tried to emphasize the development of individuality and diversity among students. The "Educational Reform Program" of 1997 places a "high value on the aspect of fostering children to have a sense of justice, kindness, creativity and consciousness as a member of international society, putting emphasis on individuality..." (Monbusho, p. 6). The plan calls for schools to build coalitions with other institutions and organizations to provide counseling and materials.

Japan's culture has been built around selfless abdication to the community. Their efforts are supposed to benefit everyone, but sometimes at the loss of individuality and humanitarian sensibility. This system works great for building consensus and diluting dissent. It also stifles creativity and innovation. Harold Hodgkinson, an educational demographer, mused that this is why there are so few Nobel Prize winners from Japan (Bracey, 1997). This system of acquiescence is great for intrinsically developing self discipline. Still, is there a way to inspire internal dialogue without evaporating the student's precious originality and delicate creativity?


In the United States of America our societal motivation is towards selfish individuality and concrete results. Every effort we exert must contain a tangible, physical reward. Every investment of time or money must have a palpable, profitable outcome. Our educational directive is also geared towards the quantifiable, the product. We are so obsessed with test scores that the notion of self-actualized thoughtful students is subservient to the discharge of quantifiable facts. With regards to discipline, teachers are preoccupied with constant control. A class can not deteriorate into free discussion and unchecked expression. Sometimes this is out of fear for negative perceptions from peers and parents, and sometimes it comes from the legacy of control that our ancestors and mentors passed on to us.

One way out of the cycle of teacher directed, centralized control is through the constructivist theory. This educational philosophy encourages students to construct their understandings based on the world around them. Four goals of this theory are for students to (a) take responsibility for their own learning, (b) become autonomous thinkers, (c) connect integrated and interlaced ideas, and (d) ask and actively answer important questions (Brooks, 1993, p. 13).

When we relate these four ideas to behavior there are powerful opportunities to be realized. Supplant the words learning, thinking and ideas from above, and in their place use the word behavior. We would now ask students to take responsibility for their behavior, become self-governing in their behavior, and find correlations in their behavior from one circumstance to another. On the fourth point, students are still asked to initiate questioning and pursue answering, now from the perspective of how their actions affect others.

One of the greatest challenges in this endeavor is to find mediation between the suppositions of students regarding their behavior, and the educator's need for a respectful, happy classroom. This gap can be closed through the use of carefully constructed questions. These questions will first help the teacher to understand the perspective of the student, and then to help guide the student to a desirable, considerate, accountable action. To help the question find it's mark the teacher must pose it in a relevant context. One of the most powerful ways is to simply ask "How is your behavior affecting this current lesson?" While some students may find this an opportunity to belittle the importance of the lesson, the teacher, or the school there will always be other students who are engaged and excited about the material.

Constructivism invites creative exploration which allows for the possibility of mistakes. The role of the teacher, through the questioning process, is to, metaphorically, help pick up the students once they have fallen and then to assist them in evaluating the circumstances so that they can keep their balance in the future.

Combining Ideas

Let us now bring these two educational ideas together. First, we use the peer directed techniques from Japanese education.These give us the opportunity to breakdown the selfish perspectives of our students so that they can begin to acknowledge and appreciate the other people in their class. Acclimation, for most teachers and students, would be difficult if it were done too quickly. To aid in the transition we apply constructivist theory so that personal experiences can be accessed to provide relevant context.

These two philosophies are actually quite closely related. Both are student directed which encourages intrinsic motivation. When the students achieve personal self control then they do not need rules or laws to scare them into accountability; they desire the environment and esteem that comes with self actualization. Both view the teacher as a valuable guide through the process. Without the teacher available to provide relevant questions regarding kindness and boundaries there is a possibility of bullying and dangerous activities. Both require patience from the teacher and surrendering to the process. Until students can find their own way to the truth they will always need an external master; be it teacher, parent, gang or government.

The Formula

The goal of this behavior modification plan is to help students find the reason for, and the techniques to, achieve "good behavior" consistently throughout the year. Each teacher will define good behavior in their own way. That definition will provide the context and content of the questions asked. For the purpose of this paper the definition of good behavior is "when our actions do no harm to ourselves or others." Again, this should not necessarily be the goal of each teacher. Also, the specifics of implementation must vary by class, grade, school and community. The questions and situations that follow were explored with kindergarten, first, second, third and fifth grade general music students at Graland Country Day School between February 2nd and April 10th, 1998.


The first objective, taken from the Japanese system, is modeling good behavior. The teacher stands as the ultimate example of community guidelines. When the teacher displays inappropriate behavior it is a powerful invitation for the students to be improper. Likewise, when the teacher is able to demonstrate the highest order of self control in the most demanding of situations then the students have an accurate example to emulate.

Here is one example. The teacher is introducing a new percussion instrument, a maraca, to the kindergarten students. The teacher chooses the instrument, joins the student's circle, sits cross-legged on the floor and places the maraca on the floor in front of him. In the Japanese system he would slowly explain this process as it unfolds: "I quietly walk to the shelf and choose my instrument. I bring it back to the circle without playing it. I sit with my bottom on the floor and gently place the maraca in front of me."

Using a constructivist method he can elicit the same description, but student driven. "Can someone raise their hand and tell how I brought the maraca to the circle?"

One student might say "You ran to the shelf and grabbed the maraca."

The teacher would then clarify "Did I run really fast to the shelf?"

This would allow the student an opportunity to clarify how fast the teacher moved and whether he actually ran. The teacher would then give closure to this dialogue by asking why would it not be a good idea to run to the shelf. The teacher then opens the question to the other students to draw out more ideas about running in the classroom. This supports the first student's observations and reinforces the idea form a variety of perspectives.

This process may have to be repeated for each individual aspect of the activity. As the students become comfortable with the process they move more quickly and precisely through their answers. The students may want to fully explore all the possibilities of the question. This is where the teacher must surrender to the process and realize that meticulous groundwork will ultimately pay off in a far more efficient and effective classroom; not because the teacher said so, but because the children want it so.

Individual Instruction

All students learn at different rates and in varying ways. While some may quickly understand the questions and their contexts others could still be struggling with language skills. Some may be very good watchers while others need kinesthetic experiences. Therefore, it is sometimes necessary to spend individual instruction time with one student. This is the second Japanese instructional technique. The challenge comes when there are twenty other students in the classroom. Teachers who must control every aspect of management and instruction may see this as a daunting job. Students in these classrooms need constant adult stimuli to stay on task and to be engaged. By applying constructivist principles the teacher can actually create opportunities to work with individual students.

Constructivist teachers "encourage and accept student autonomy and initiative" (Brooks, p.103), "encourage students to engage in dialogue, both with the teacher and with one another" (p. 108), and encourage "students to ask questions of each other" (p. 110). One great environment for this type of independent promotion is working in small groups. While there are many implementations of cooperative education this paper will not explore their specifics. Again, this example is meant to illustrate individual instruction.

A class of fifth grade students are writing lyrics for a blues song using the form A - A - B; same - same - different. Each phrase of music is a complete idea, repeated twice then responded to. The teacher first models the style through performance and then elicits observations and definitions. The students are directed to divide themselves into small groups of three or four and apply the previously modeled compositional technique. As the groups create and implement their ideas the teacher is free to move around the class and engage individuals and groups with relevant behavioral and academic questions.

The teacher sees a student playing various percussion instruments. An initial response might be to scold the child for disturbing other students and herd them back to their group. The constructivist approach would be to personally approach the student and ask a relevant question like "Why are you playing these instruments?"

The student replies "We want to add some more rhythm to our blues."

"Excellent," responds the teacher. "How do you think the sound is affecting the other students who are also working?"

"Oh, I am sorry. I didn't even think I was being noisy" says the student.

The teacher replies "You do not have to apologize to me. Is their a way to check with other students to see how they feel?"

"Yeah," says the student. "I'll ask them."

The teacher can afford to be more patient with this individual because the other students are genuinely engaged.. Each student is going to perceive and apply behavior according to their circumstances. The teacher must be able to mediate their unique suppositions and help lead them to an understanding of their impact on the world around them. Without clarifying the students reasoning the teacher could have diminished the scope of the composition, and worse, applied one more layer of indiscriminate power indulgence to the child's psyche.

Seconding Requests

The third Japanese instructional technique is seconding student's requests for appropriate behavior. Seconding means to acknowledge, approve and support the requests of students. To begin with, students must feel confident enough to verbalize their observations of classroom behavior. This is brought about by internal motivation to persist with the lesson, assurance that their comments will be backed, and enough chaos time to desire relief.

Either the lesson, or the appetite to learn, must be strong enough to face down the dragon of peer misbehavior. A constructivist teacher can pose problems that will be relevant and engaging through "hooks" (Brooks, p. 37), questions and discussions. Once they are engaged in enjoyable education the momentum is to learn. If some students become distracting those that are harmed must know that they can speak out in safety. Building this confidence is a gradual process and is reinforced every time the teacher acknowledges a student's statement. It sometimes takes a deafening cacophony of chatter to motivate dissent. Again, the teacher must be extremely patient to let the process take its course.

Once a student does exhibit dissatisfaction with behavior the teacher is precise and timely with their questions. The exhibition may manifest as a "shut up," a "shhhh" or even hands over the ears. As soon as this second grade student shows their aversion to the noise the teacher asks in a moderate even tone "Why are you covering your ears?"

The student replies "Because it is way too loud."

Naturally, most other students could not hear this so the teacher calmly asks the class "Did you hear what Katie said?" After a second request for silence the teacher repeats the question and now additionally directs it to an individual, "Rebecca, did you hear what Katie said?"

Rebecca replies in an embarrassed voice "no."

The teacher returns to the first student, "Katie, can you tell us again why you where covering your ears."

"It is way to loud in here," says Katie again.

"I agree," says the teacher. A third student request compounds the previous teacher questions with "Can someone who was talking loud raise their hand?" Shyly, Robert raises his hand. "Wow. It is so brave and noble of you to admit it. That is a real cool thing to do! Robert, what could you do to help Katie so she does not have to cover her ears?"

"I can sit quietly and listen?" he half asks and half states.

"That's a great plan. Let's give it a try," retorts the teacher and continues with the lesson.

By seconding Katie the teacher helps to create an expectation that is student driven. Seconding Robert gives the student esteem points for being responsible for his own behavior, and at the same time censures the original action. It is very difficult to be patient and let a class get to the point of near chaos, but without the opportunity to fall, children will never learn how to pick themselves up. When they do take that responsibility seconding provides a positive reinforcement.


As observed in the previous technique waiting for the appropriate behavior is a powerful motivator. As time passes without resolution students can get a little cranky. Waiting for first graders to line up for lunch is a classic situation.

The students are dismissed from the lesson to quietly gather their coats and lunches and line up at the door. Students scurry around talking and playing instruments. Several students are lined up and ready to go. The noise continues and the teacher patiently waits by the door modeling quietness and posture. Eventually the line leader says "Can we go now?"

"We can go as soon as everyone is quiet and lined up, so that we do not disturb the other classes," replies the teacher.

"Hey, everyone line up!" yells the leader. "They won't listen."

The teacher's response is "Can you get someone to help you?"

The student recruits a friend and they walk around the room asking everyone to quietly line up so the class can go to lunch. There are a few minor conversations that continue, but as the chorus of "shhhhhs" builds everyone is eventually quiet.

The first few opportunities to use this exercise will take time and patience. Soon the students understand the expectation and quickly pull themselves together as a unit. The most difficult time comes when loud students respond with "You're not the boss of me." With a few carefully directed questions regarding polite requests, and severe hunger pains, these are resolved. This is where the specter of bullying arises. Students taking leadership roles need to be monitored closely to help develop a polite, respectful, responsible role.

Survey And Observations

As an evaluation of this behavior modification process both students and observing teachers were surveyed as to their perceptions. Fifth grade students were given a written survey form, first and third grade students were verbally surveyed and teachers were appraised through conversations.

The student surveys gave a great deal of statistical information. There were two questions with two parts each that could be answered, or interpreted, in either the positive or the negative.

The (a) part of the first question asked on the fifth grade survey was "How did it work to have students lead activities?" The question was meant to be open ended so that these older students would have room for elaboration. Most answers could be easily interpreted as good or bad: "It did work and it was a lot of fun," "Nobody listened." Out of seventy-nine responses 33% felt it did work and 67% felt it did not work. The (b) part of the first question asked "What would you do to make it possible for fellow students to be successful leaders?" This question was designed to encourage class discussion on the process. Out of fifty-eight responses the three most frequent are paraphrased as: (1) be a better listener [21], (2) enforce rigorous work standards [8], and (3) model good behavior and work skills [6].

The (a) part of the second question was "How did it work to have students monitor their own behavior and modify the behavior of fellow students?" Again, this question was meant to provide an interpreted positive or negative response. Individual statements ranged from "No one took us seriously," to "it worked good for small problems." Sixty-six answers were given with 27% saying it worked well and 73% saying it did not work. The (b) part of the second question was again open ended: "What would you do to encourage respectful behavior without teacher intervention?" There were sixty-three responses with the three most frequent paraphrased statements being (1) punish students more severely [16], (2) give rewards to change behavior [12], and peer direction does not work, the teacher must handle it all [9].

Discussions were used to review the written statements. A frequent stated belief was that students do not have any self control and should therefore not be given any position of power. They were told the philosophy of student control in Japanese schools, particularly that substitutes teachers are not used (Kristof, 1997, p. 42). Often, the response was that people in the United States do not care about each other and that we have bad intentions. Not all statements were negative. One class was very attentive to the survey and discussion, and quite excited about the peer directed activities of the previous weeks. One student from that class explained that by fifth grade students were old enough to know right from wrong. She went on to say that they ultimately needed neither a teacher, nor each other to monitor behavior. "Everyone should be able to take responsibility for themselves."

The first and third grade students were asked to raise their hands to either the positive or negative of similar questions. The (a) part of the first question was "Did it work to have students lead activities?" Thirty first grade students raised their hands with 66% saying it did work and 34% saying it did not work. Out of thirty-nine third grade students 72% said it did work and 18% said it did not work. The (b) part of question one was "Did you like having student leaders?" Thirty-eight first graders responded with 70% liking the activities and 30% disliking them. Thirty-eight third grade students participated with an equal distribution, 50%, liking and disliking.

The second question also had two parts: (a) How did it work to have students be responsible for behavior, not the teacher?" and (b) Did you like having students be responsible for their behavior?" Thirty-three first graders responded to (2a) with 39% saying it worked and 61% saying it did not. There were thirty-seven third grade responses with 55% believing it worked and 45% that it didn't. For question (2b) out of thirty-three first graders 52% liked it and 48% did not. With thirty-one third graders 62% liked it and 38% did not.

A common complaint from first graders about the process was that students tended to pick and side with their friends. They also felt that student leaders moved too slow and had to really think about what they wanted. The first graders did like the natural consequences of bad behavior (e.g. waiting and missing music time). The third grade students again felt that student were biased and that they were also "bossy." Many felt that they had learned self control and that they had more opportunities to "do the right thing." Most students in the three grades believed that they had personally grown respectful from the experience, but doubted the integrity and growth of their peers.

The combined statistics of positive responses to all questions was 52%. First grade students were the most positive, averaging 62% approval. Third graders were close behind with 60% positive responses. Fifth grade students were 30% approving.

Faculty Observations

The head of the visual and performing arts team, Tony Catanese, observed a first grade class involved in this process. He was impressed by how it encouraged adaptability and creativity, and supported individuality. He commented on how powerful the impact was to have students articulate appropriate behavior. "The students listened and respected each other without defensiveness." While time was needed to establish student expectations he noted that the students ultimately developed more focus and productivity following the discussions. Mr. Catanese teaches students through ninth grade and saw many available corollaries for this method's use with older students. He was concerned that some older students would be defensive and others might inappropriately control their peers. We agreed that careful monitoring and a gradual acclimation to the process was necessary. He thought that best results would come from annual progression starting in lower grades and a school wide acknowledgement that the process was on-going; not that other teachers must participate.

A fifth grade teacher, Dorothy Harrington, observed that she too had had difficulty doing peer directed activities with her students. She had traveled to Japan on a Fulbright Fellowship and studied many aspects of the Japanese educational system. She had hoped to apply some of the traditional Japanese procedures, but found that students here were not able to easily accommodate community driven constructs.

Karen Talifero is a kindergarten teacher who, at the writing of this paper, had attempted some of the above techniques. She was concerned with how to "find the balance between behavior accountability and keeping the group focused on the big picture." She also questioned the potential "labeling" of children who misbehave by their classmates as "problems." Overall, she was very supportive of the process and found that it held the notion of "less is more." She observed that while it may seem to detract from content driven curriculum in the short term, this method would provide in depth exploration of techniques, and therefore better learners, in the long term.

Carrie Duits, the lower school head (K-3), observed a third grade class and was impressed by the amount of academic content that the students were able to apply. Her concern was that too much process time might interfere with content time. This concern was quickly dispelled once she observed the knowledge and skills of the students. Mrs. Duits observed that the organization of the teacher's questioning and manipulating helped to establish a clear direction for the students. She felt that teacher modeling was a key to establishing behavior and academic expectations. The length and depth of questioning was seen as positive reinforcement. A very powerful observation was that the teacher did not concertize the student directed process, but rather allowed himself to occasionally "shift" power back for the purpose of class tempo and the establishment of boundaries.


Ultimately, every individual must take responsibility for themselves. At some point in a child's life they need to have the tools and experiences to be both an independent thinker, and a manager of character. This method of peer directed behavior modification gives students these skills and the opportunity to practice in a safe environment. The teacher helps students develop their communicative abilities through carefully directed questions and a patient demeanor. To help the students understand what is appropriate, respectful behavior the teacher models actions, instructs individuals, seconds requests and applies waiting. Rather than dictating the procedure, the teacher mediates student's suppositions about behavior so that their final conclusions and applications are relevant.

The older students seemed to have more difficulty with these collaborative, community driven concepts. They were resistant to any activity without strict, clear and externally monitored expectations. Younger students loved the opportunities to develop social skills. While it took a bit of time to introduce and acclimate students to the process they eventually got to the point of proactive conflict resolution. They seemed equally excited to conquer their emotions as to make ruckus music. Other teachers were impressed with the perceived patience of the facilitator. The development of patients grew as the process evolved. Still, the method was not total encompassment of every lesson. As with all things in life there must be moderation and context. No one tool is perfect for every situation.

This process would ultimately work very well for many teachers in the United States to help balance the irreverent independence we now experience. It may not be appropriate for some teachers and should therefore never be forced. The ultimate outcome of the process is to let individuals find their way in the forest of the community. There is no one perfect path. Besides, if everyone were on the same path it would get rather crowded. Therefore we must constructively interact and inquire with all those we work with, teachers and students, parents and administrators. When we work together life is no longer a chore, it becomes a joy.


Bracey, Gerald W. (1997). The Japanese education system is a failure, say some Japanese. Phi Delta Kappan, Dec97, 79, 4, 328.

Bracey revues the notion that Japanese and Asian-American students seem better educated than others in the United States and other Asian countries. He concludes that there are a variety of variables including effort, income and parental education.

Haugen, Heidi L. (1997). Prevention of Youth Violence; A Resource Guide for Youth Development and Family Life Professionals and Volunteers. In Cornell Cooperative Extension [Online]. Available: http://www.nnfr.org/nnfr/Youth_Violence.html [1998, April 2].

This is an extensive resource for practical information on the prevention of youth violence. There are segregated subjects for peer behavior to violence preventions strategies; role models to anti biased curriculum. Each subject is well defined with great references. There are dozens of authors and links listed to help with research.

Kristof, Nicholas D. (1997, August 17). Where Children Rule. The New York Times Magazine, 40.

Kristof uses his perspective the a parent of a foreign student to observer and analyze Japanese public schools. His perspective is less academic and more anecdotal which provides relevant references to other academic theories.

Monbusho (Ministry of Education, Science, Sports and Culture (1997). Monbusho. Japan.

This government booklet reads like a travel brochure describing the highlights of the Japanese educational system. It does include some critical analysis, but mostly describes the institutions from an objective perspective.

Peak, Lois (1991). Learning To Go To School In Japan. Berkely, Los Angeles, Oxford: University of California Press.

Peak explores how Japanese preschools (kindergartens) transform indulged infants into cooperative, disciplined students through play and classroom community expectations.

Shields, James J., Jr. (1990). Japanese Schooling: Patterns of Socialization, Equality, and Political Control. University Park, London: The Pennsylvania State University Press.

Shields has compiled and introduced twenty-one authors and their essays concerning the Japanese educational system. He divided the essays into three parts: (a) patterns of socialization in the family and at school, (b) discontinuities in moral education and educational equality, and (c) the politics of education: issues of centralization and national identity.

Third International Mathematics and Science Study (1997). TIMSS Highlights from the primary grades. In CSTEEP, Boston College [Online]. Available: http://wwwcsteep.bc.edu/TIMSS1/HiLightA.html [1998, April 2].

This site contains results of the TIMSS from 1994-95. Dozens of countries are ranked numerically, with their scores. This study covered third and fourth grade students in the subjects of math and science.

UNCJIN (1998). ifs.univie.ac.at/uncjin/mosaic/ccrimes/ccrimes.txt. In United Nations Crime and Justice Information Network [Online]. Available: http://www.ifs.univie.ac.at/uncjin/mosaic/ccrimes/ccrimes.txt [1998, April 2].

This is a listing of crime statistics fro 1979-1986 for participating countries in such categories as homicide, assault and rape. Noticeably absent was the United States.

UNCJIN (1998). U.N. Profile: U.S. Crime Statistics. In United Nations Crime and Justice Information Network [Online]. Available: http://www.ifs.univie.ac.at/~uncjin/profiles/usa.html [1998, April 2].

Statistics on the United States were available through the United Nations site, but under a different heading.

A final paper presented in partial fulfillment of the course; Philosophical Foundations of Education; MLS 654 E; Course Consultant is Mona Gardner, Ph.D.

REGIS UNIVERSITY, April 16, 1998

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