My Experience At The Japan Trip

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Starting this course I thought it would be really interesting to learn more about how other countries do school. I feel like attending the Japan trip has made me very curious of different aspects and priorities each country has towards education. Even before our first session of class began, I started to feel a sense of inadequacy while doing the reading in preparation for class. At first, while engaged in the reading, I felt myself getting upset and annoyed at how the “Finnish Lessons” sounded. I thought they were full of themselves and putting down other countries including ours. As I continued to read, I realized that I was overreacting and they were not tearing us down but really trying to build us up. I do not know exactly what it was in the reading that helped me to change my mindset, but something in me switched. I was no longer annoyed, now I had reverted to being prideful, like a sense of nationalism had set in. This feeling was reinforced on the first day of class as we discussed the readings together. One thing I saw was everyone had similar reactions to how I first responded. We are quick to say well that worked for them, but would not work for us. However, I do not think this is the right attitude. Our goal is to learn from what they accomplished, and use what will work for us. This shift in thinking really helped me get over my pride and believe that we could improve our school system. We have to be open minded enough to look at the problems we face from all different perspectives, even when perspective taking is not easy or makes us uncomfortable. As I began to further read in the “Balancing Change and Transition in Global Education Reform” the one thing that really had a strong impact on me is how ... ... middle of paper ... ...ns on the use of technology in American classrooms. The Director from Cuba asked her a question, “How do we use technology to build values in America?” This question stumped the professor, and it provoked a lot of thought in me. We use technology in all sorts of ways, to create efficiency, to expand knowledge, research and culture, but we rarely use technology to promote values. What a simple concept that we never even consider in American education, which the Cubans pointed out as a lost opportunity. I have been challenged and disheartened to hear how other countries regard our system of education. While my pride inhibits me from truly accepting some of their beliefs on American education, my heart tells me we are in need of change when it comes to education in America. Change in what we do, change in how we do it, and change in how we are perceived by others.

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