Education About Asia: Online Archives

Schools of Thought: Teaching Children in America and Japan

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PRODUCED BY OREGON PUBLIC BROADCASTING
FILMS FOR THE HUMANITIES & SCIENCES
P.O. BOX 2053
PRINCETON, NEW JERSEY 08543
800-257-5126
1994. 55 MINUTES

Schools of Thought contains two twenty-five to thirty minute documentaries, one by an Oregon television crew visiting Japanese schools and the other by a Japanese crew visiting schools in Oregon. According to the narrator, the goal of the project is to explore “efforts in both countries to balance creativity and discipline in education.” The producers begin with the assumption that creativity and discipline exist at opposite extremes. Schools, they imply, must try to achieve a “balance” by dividing their time between these two opposites. They conclude that in Japan most schools are disciplined, but few are creative, and in the U.S. schools alternate between teaching courses that are creative and those that are disciplined. Unfortunately, by defining creativity and discipline as a dichotomy, the producers fail to notice the way these two concepts complement each other.