Essay about School Comparison
“Each adolescent is unique and influenced differently, developing special interests, likes, and dislikes, since High School plays a considerable role in defining one’s identity (Steinberg, L.D, 2016). As they each grow up and enter High School, teenagers are faced with new problems and situations they never encountered before. During a typical school year, a student in America spends more than one-third of their waking hours a week in school (Verma & Larson,1999, as cited in Steinberg, L.D, 2016).
Their environment at school, where they spend most hours of the day, can affect their development in multiple aspects; social, cognitive and biological. Socially, referring to a change in social status, cognitively, refers to how one thinks, and biologically, refers to the changes undergone during puberty (Steinberg, L.D, 2016). When comparing different high school across the world, there are multiple differences, as well as many similarities that can be noticed. Contrasting High School systems in America, against High School systems in Germany, and in Brazil, each is conducive to adolescent development in its own way. However, Japan’s system is the most effective due to its advanced planned structure.
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The American school system consists of twelve grades. From first grade to fifth grade, one is in primary or elementary schools. These first five years are considered preparation for secondary school. Grades six to eight are considered middle school and ninth grade to twelfth are considered secondary or high school . Like America, Japan school system also consists of twelve grades; however, their secondary school is divided into two parts, junior high school, and senior high school.
Junior high school Junior high, which has the same preparation purpose as the US’ middle school, begins at 7th grade and ends at ninth. In all of Japan, up until ninth grade school is considered mandatory by law, unlike the American school system where some states have different ages of required school attendance (Wieczorek, C. C. 2008 ). The senior high school in Japan is made up of 10th, 11th, and 12th grades, where Japanese showcase all their previously learned skills in a more competitive environment (Wieczorek, C. C. 2008).
In order to attend senior high schools, Japanese students must take an entrance exam and pass (Dolan, R. E. 1994). Once they are accepted into the school, the students are given an option as to whether they would like to be on the educational track, where they would focus more on classes and their education, or the occupational track, where they would focus more on how to get jobs (Dolan, R. E. 1994). Brazil’s school system is divided into two parts, Ensino Fundamental I and Ensino Fundamental II (Stanek, C. 2013).
Ensino Fundamental I consists of grades one to five, just like Americans elementary school (Stanek, C. 2013), Whereas Ensino Fundamental II, is from sixth grade to ninth (Stanek, C. 2013). High school in Brazil is known as Ensino Medio consists of three years, tenth through twelfth, like Japan Senior High schools (Stanek, C. 2013). Ensino Medio prepares students to take an entrance exam, called the vestibular exam which is a test on many different subjects, that determine if they will get into college (Stanek, C. 2013).
Japan, Brazil, and America also have different school times and vacations. In America, the school year begins around August or early September and ends around late May or early June. In Japan, the school year starts in April and ends in March, which only leaves a month for long vacation; however, there are smaller breaks every three months as a separation of the beginning and end of a school trimester (Dolan, R. E. 1994). Brazil’s school year starts in February or March and ends in around November and December (Stanek, C. 2013). In America, the times a school has vacations is the same for most of the schools (Hull, J. 2011), while in Japan, they depend on the weather of the area on lives in (Dolan, R. E. 1994).
Classroom climate and what happens inside of the classroom is vital to an adolescents learning (Eccles & Roeser, as cited in Steinberg, L.D, 2016). Students achievement increases in school when relationships between student and teachers are positive and when the classes are structured a certain way, but they are not out of hand or focus too much on work. When a classroom feels like there is a partnership rather than a competition, the students end up doing better (Roseth, Johnson, & Johnson, as cited in Steinberg, L.D, 2016).
In Japan high schools, students are expected to show their teachers the same amount of respect as they do their parents, while teachers are expected to have a parent type position with the students. The Japanese would rather enhance the child’s development instead of only taking care of their behavior. Students are less likely to misbehave, which also enhances a child’s engagement in the classroom. In American high schools, there are more conduct problems which can influence the relationship between student and teacher.
Unlike Japanese high schools, teachers in American high school send the student out when they misbehave rather than talking to them after class and understand why the student acted the way they did like in Japanese high schools (Bear et al. 2016). This could be a reason as to why Japanese schools have a higher correlation of more positive student-teacher relationships than American schools, and why students in schools in Japan claim that their teacher is an essential person in their life. (Bear et al. 2016).
In Brazil, some students are more focused on going to college and therefore become more dependent on their teachers. The teachers in Brazil high schools are more reflective about their classes and teaching styles. This allows students to want to be more active and start to prefer more visual styles of teaching (Maria Castro Duncan, O. 2012). The level of student engagement in a classroom can also influence their academic performance.
In American schools, the level of student engagement is low because kids are not psychologically in the classrooms even though they might physically be there (Steinberg, L.D, 2016). Only 52% of students enjoy coming to school, while almost 60% of students feel engaged when at school (Berkowitz, Ruth, Hadass Moore, Ron Avi Astor, & Rami Benbenishty, n.d.) In Japan high schools, the students’ attitude towards learning has increased.
For example, more students now read for fun rather than only for school and books have become a big part of their conversations. (Schleicher, A. 2009) Students in Brazil are known to overall be more active and learn better visually. Teachers in Brazil take more into account the fact that students have different ways of learning, and because of that, there is more effective teaching, and the student learns more (Maria Castro Duncan, O, 2012).
Each country contains a different requirement for the courses students have to take. In America, every student is required to take an English class throughout all four years of high school (Anderson, K. M., & Resnick, 1997). In Japan, students are required to take courses in Japan literature and language (Rapley, D. J. 2008). Due to living in entirely different places, each school district has its own language, which also changes the subject requirements. In Brazil, it is also required to take Portuguese in school. In Brazil, Japan, and America, students must also take a history class to learn about their country’s history and story behind the independence of their country (Anderson, K. M., & Resnick, 1997).
The grading system of each country is also different. In Japan, the letter grades are similar to the American grading system. The letter grades in both schools are A, B, C, D, and F, but in Japan, they also have a letter grade of S, which is the highest grade a student can receive (Dolan, R. E. 1994). In America, A is the highest grade a student can get. The American grade system is on a scale of zero to one hundred An A ranges from 90-100%, a B is from an 89-80%, a C ranges from a 79-65%, and anything under a 64% is considered a failing grade or an F (Brown, J. Franklin, 1911). In Brazil, the letter grades are the same as the Americas, but the percentages differ. The grading scale ranges from a scale of 1-10, where ten is the best (Filho, A. H., et al. 2018).
In each country, each student has their own version of knowledge and intellect. Each person has their own cognitive aspects which include their beliefs, opinions, as well as their values. There is extreme diversity in how adolescents from each place learn and develop through their adolescent years. In the U.S, adolescents become increasingly abstract in their opinions on morals and politics. As they develop, their beliefs get increasingly more engraved into them (Steinberg, L.D, 2016). They also develop emotional autonomy, causing them to look at their parents more objectively (Steinberg, L.D, 2016).
They begin to have cognitive issues due to comparing the acts of their parents or friends. In Japan, adolescents have a unique way of thinking in contrast to American adolescents. Japan students pay more attention to the main point of interest of things, while American students only pay attention to physical items and what is happening in front of them (Chin, G. 2006). Furthermore, the cognitive aspects of adolescents in Brazil are that these adolescents have higher and faster cognitive development. They are incredibly focused on education and are advanced in the school curriculum (Weisleder, A. et al., n.d).
Adolescence is a time of constant physical and psychological changes. Biological changes in a teenager during this time are also very drastic and constantly in change (Steinberg, L.D, 2016). Across countries, people from different races or background experience this change somewhat distinctly because of genetic differences (Steinberg, L.D, 2016). Schools worldwide should be able to help adolescents deal with these changes, primarily through sex education (Lemon, 2019). However, sex education varies from country to country some being more reliable than others.
For instance, in Japan, this type of education is very controversial and so is not as well developed as it would be in other countries (Huiyan, 2011). Sex education in Japan is mostly focusing on emphasizing the idea that sex is only for reproducing and should only be done after marriage in order to have children (Huiyan, 2011). It also teaches about preventing diseases yet, does not go into too much detail about it (Huiyan, 2011).
Due to this, many Japanese student gain knowledge about sex-related information through adult films since the schools do not adequately teach or make students comfortable with the topic (Huiyan, 2011). The lack of sex education in Japan had also led to the rise of sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, STI chlamydia, and others (Huiyan, 2011). Somewhat similar to Japan regarding sex education is the United States. In some American schools, kids are taught Abstinence-Only-Until-Marriage or AOUM education (Lemon, 2019).
With the help of the government, this specific type of sexual education tries to encourage today’s teens to avoid sex until marriage (Lemon, 2019). However, this type of education has proven to be unsuccessful with today’s population since many of the program’s values are not the ones that are highly supported in today’s society, like for instance homosexuality. (Lemon, 2019). Some people believe that adding sexual consent to sex education curriculums in the United States will profoundly help prevent issues like sexual assault and will help improve the level of sexual education that students have today in American schools (Willis, 2019).
Sex education in Brazil is not as different as in these two other countries. In Brazil, sex education for teenagers is mostly focused on fertility, reproductive organs, and pregnancy (da Silva et al., n.d.). Relationships that are either homosexual or heterosexual are seldom taught with having the possibility of being healthy (da Silva et al., n.d.). Brazil school systems are not very supportive of teenage pregnancies which cause adolescents who face this to be socially and academically excluded (Quaresma da Silva, n.d.).
Therefore, sex education is often seen as a way to fix or prevent sexual activity among Brazilian teens, instead of encouraging safe sex (da Silva et al., n.d.). Overall, none of the schools help adolescents deal with these many pubertal changes and are rarely taught about safe sex. This is most likely because this topic is very controversial across many parts of the world and therefore schools try to remain neutral to it yet, the schools do not give the students the information necessary to help cope and deal with puberty and all its aspects.
High school is a time for learning, inspiring and growth. Educational achievement can be measured by school performance, academic achievement, and educational attainment (Steinberg, L.D, 2017). Around the world, different cultures and ways of life have seen to take an account on the effectiveness of a High School’s education system. This can be seen by observing post-graduate success. While American High schools struggle to help their students secure jobs, Japanese High school systems assist their students to enter into the working world assuredly (Rosenbaum, James E. 1989).
In conclusion, multiple variations are noticeable when observing different school systems. For that reason, when comparing the High School Systems in Japan, America, and the United States, Japan is the most effective on adolescent development. In the long run, Japanese High School graduates are seen to be successful and have a long-standing connection with their high school (Rosenbaum, James E. & Kariya, Takehiko. 1991). This is due to its efficient and methodical structure, used to keep the students in line and guide them to a brighter and more accomplished future. The students thrive in all aspects, social, cognitive and biological.”