Daily Archives: January 16, 2017

Role and Responsibilities of Schools, Part 1 of 3

During morning reflection on Monday, students were charged with responding to the role(s) and responsibility(ies) of schools to individuals and society in a rapidly changing world. We’ve had the opportunity to experience three different schools since we’ve been in Japan, and Porter’s students considered their classroom and community experience in light of our visits to all three schools.

The discussion was framed by the historic events that begin–and conclude–this week in the United States: honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and anticipating the Inauguration of our nation’s 45th President. How do schools play a role in the vision and imagination of building a peaceful, compassionate neighborhood of humankind?

Here’s Emily Howell…

“Because today is MLK Day, we had a conversation on the role of schools in a changing world. We quickly got off topic and started talking more about the similarities and differences between Porter’s and Kichijo, and what they said about the US and Japan.

Lanterns seen above a restaurant in the Ueno neighborhood of Tokyo.

Lanterns seen above a restaurant in the Ueno neighborhood of Tokyo.

I think that the most interesting thing said was that both schools are preparing young people for a life of success in their extremely different ways.  Kichijo seems to prepare students by giving them a very specialized skill set for their interests, which will help them gain respect in the world. Porter’s prepares students by giving us the tools and opportunities to learn how to be balanced and confident in our abilities. I think both methods seem to work well, and prepare graduates for the post-high school world!”

Emily also shared during the conversation that perhaps each school is, in their own way, preparing the young women that their society does not want. Jillian spoke up to add that patriarchy and misogyny are not simply American phenomena. Emily went on to make the point that the outspoken Porter’s graduate and the highly capable Kichijo graduate shatter the expectations of their societies in different ways. This is something for us to keep thinking about in our last few days in Tokyo.

Come back to see parts 2 and 3, coming soon!