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Yutori Kyōiku

Nov 24, 2019Accents, Articles, Canadian, Education, English

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José Cruz: The Ministry doesn’t care if you have any (Mm hmm) communicative skill. (Yeah) They will say, oh it’d be nice if you did (Well their) but really we want writing and reading.

Charlie Bell: The headline now, nowadays if you go on their, on their website or read any information you know about their- their strategy towards English teaching it’s all about active learning and you know, don’t worry about- don’t worry about grammar and just give it a go, and you know, measuring on trying. You know it’s all about, “tried to,” not, can do. But that’s complete rubbish that’s not what they’re do- You know they, they say one thing and do something completely different.

José: It’s true. I roll my eyes at stuff like that. Because you’re probably too young to remember this term, but tell me if you do. Um there was a ph- phase back in the late 90s when Japan tried out this thing under the first Abe Shinzo government (Mm hmm) called “yutori kyōiku”. Or what’s called (Yaki-) gentle education? (Yutori) Yutori kyōiku. So the idea that um…

Charlie: Oh, I’ve never heard of it.

José: Kids don’t need to go to school on Saturdays. Uh, schools (OK) should finish at 4:00 in the afternoon and and… (They should) And they should, but what ended up happening because they didn’t change the university entrance exam standards is that these kids and their parents were panicking wondering how am I going make it into university entrance (Mm hmm) and it just created an opportunity for the cram schools to actually (Yeah yeah yeah) increase hours. So the parents were paying the junior high schools what they were paying last year for less education, and were forced to pay more to the cram schools for more hours for the students to catch up. (Yeah) And nothing changed, it made things worse. It made- I got a wave for about ten years of way worse students in all levels, like their class attitude, their general rational thinking skills, of course their English skills, and their general human skills (Well they) and now it’s better because that got stopped but I…

Charlie: They don’t get time to sleep you know these kids (Yeah) they wake up at the crack of dawn. They go- Some of my (It’s sad) high school students say, you know we’ve got early class. What’s early class? They say, oh there’s a class before school starts, (Mm hmm) from 8:00 until 9:00 I was like, you know that just means that first period starts at 8:00 instead of 9:00. No no no it’s, it’s before class, it’s before school, sorry. You know it’s school. Oh, and then after school, what do you do? Oh I have to do you know, club activities, which is pretty much mandatory if (Yeah) you want to stay- you know, if you want to keep your friends. (Yes it is) And then you go to cram school and then you go home at 10:00 or you know, what? And you just, you do your homework (Mm mm) Ha ha.

José: I remember when I just came to Japan and riding the bus home after work- After you know maybe a couple of weeks in Japan, and I would see these kids. And I wouldn’t- and I couldn’t quite understand why they were all grouped around this one bus stop at 9:00 at night wearing their pitch black military uniforms waiting to go home. And I was looking really close and you know, these kids were like 15, 16 years old. What are they doing out at 9:00 at night? And eventually I came to understand those were kids just leaving their cram school (Yeah) all of them together. And you know they weren’t going home to get some sleep or they weren’t you know, doing whatever they should be doing.

Charlie: They’re doing homework at the bus stop. That’s what I see (It’s insane) everyday when I go home. They’re, they’re sat at the bus stop in the pitch black trying to do their homework. (Mm mm) And like, you know the parents- Oh, I Oh, I don’t know It’s- there’s too many-

José: They’re they’re- we can go on forever. There’s…

Charlie: We could go- we have gone on forever.


Do schools put too much pressure on students?

What are the best ideas for education?

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José Domingo Cruz image

José Domingo Cruz


Vancouver, British Columbia

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Charlie Bell


Berkshire, England


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  1. I was the center in a generation of “yutori kyōiku”. In the first place “yutori kyōiku” was begun with globalization to train a variety of sense of values.
    However, I may still wonder. I cannot speak it at all until I enter the university since an elementary school though I learned English all the time. On the other hand, Chinese that I had begun to learn from the university arrived at the business level in only several years. There is actually no problem really even if I talk with a Chinese. What are these differences?
    “yutori kyōiku” was begun, and the classes by the ALT gradually increased. However, I feel that after all there are predominantly few opportunities to talk about. I went to the cram school, but do only that I write English in the cram school. It is the study of the law of a kind of words.
    Then, at the age of the child who does not acquire the native language properly either, there is the question whether we study a foreign language, and we will really acquire.
    Most of the students who studied into the night in a cram school whom a teacher looked at are doing study for examination. I was so, too.
    I think that I have to change the entrance examination form of the university before criticizing “yutori kyōiku”. If an entrance examination changes, the education changes, too.

  2. Pressure-free education, or so-called “yutori kyoiku” was a Japanese education policy which aimed to create a relaxing learning environment for children by reducing class hours and learning content. I was the center in a generation of pressure-free education, and that was started in 2002 with globalization to train a variety of sense of values.

    However, I still wonder why I cannot speak English at all until I enter the university. Actually, I had been learning English since I was an elementary school student. On the other hand, my Chinese skill reached a business level although I had begun to learn it from the university. There is actually no problem when I talk with a Chinese. What are these differences?

    Since Pressure-free education was introduced, the classes by ALT gradually increased. However, I feel that there were quite a few opportunities to speak English in actual. When I was junior high school student, I went to the cram school, but all I did was only writing and reading English there. That was not practical.

    In addition, there is the question whether it is necessary for children who can’t acquire even their native language to study English and they actually can acquire English.

    Most of the students who studied overnight in a cram school for a examination at school. I was one of those people, but I think that Japanese government have to change the conventional form of a university entrance exam before criticizing Pressure-free education. If an entrance examination changes, the education itself changes accordingly.

  3. I think Japanese education system is not good. Japanese children are not good at English because they had few times to speak English. They study for entrance exam. they need listening and writing skills, but speaking skill is less important than that two skills because do not need speaking skill for university entrance exam. some people practice speaking English, but not all people. I think there are a lot of waste in Japanese education system. I agree free time is important for children to relax or do things what they want to do, but yutorikyoiku was bad for us. The whole study time became shorter and level of knowledge decreased.
    I think the government should change education strategy depending on the times and on needs. If they want make more free time for children, they should improve efficiency. Teaches should make interesting classes. Interesting education is easy to memorize. we need class which is easy to understand. We also need useful classes. We do not need classes for only exam.
    Government tried to change university entrance exam, “sennta-sikenn”, but preparation was not enough. So many high school students were against that. government should think about education system very well and prepare for new system.

  4. I am a yutori generation, but it ended in the middle of elementary school. Originally designed as a system for reviewing stuffed-type education, it was far from successful. I think that it was too easy, and educational quality fell. It is often said that yutori kyoiku is useless, but I think so. For example, there is no cooperation, or prioritize private over work. There is also a good side by yutori kyoiku. It is less homework. But now, again, a lot of homework is being given, as in the old days of education. AS wrtten in this article, I have done homework at the bus stop, and in a bus. I felt so sleepy. Under the current education system, the burden on students is heavy. I think that it is necessary to change this situation by reducing the amount of homework.

  5. Yutori education
    I think that adult education was done because of adults.Even if l lose my classes on Saturday and finish at 4 pm, my child is still doing a lack of study at a cram school after club activities.I didn’t change the standards for college entrance exams, even though I had less time at school. Class attitudes have deteriorated and their general rational thinking ability and also declining. This is how you learned how to develop humanity at school.Unlike a cram school learns more than just study.I felt that it was important in my life.People grow while fighting, getting their favorite people, getting angry.By attending a cram school, you will have to go out late into the night, and while you wait for the bus, you will sit down on the ground to do a task, and you will also be excited about the surroundings. I think the chances of getting involved in an incident or accident will increase.Adults have been brought up in the comfortable generation.Recently, my eyes have become tougher and it is quite difficult, but I want to get rid of bad things and get rid of bad waves.

  6. Education at ease was carried out, but scholastic ability of Japan fell by the result year by year in old days. There is that I do not touch you about English in particular, but is getting worse more and more. Furthermore, it costs money even more so that Jose says by going to the cram schools. Without because a lot of children who are made to go to parent do not usually receive the child as for this seriously, acquiring scholastic ability, of the money is wasted. In addition, because it is difficult for the overseas school to enter, you must study, but the person studying seriously is at the Iapanese school only in a small portion if what enter compares it with foreign countries because it is relatively easy. The person going to the university tends little. Therefore I go to the direction that says to get rid of education at ease now. An English class is carried out in the elementary school. This is because it is early that the small time learns. I increase school hours and think whether I change the class contents, and the educationos Japan should be improved more. Scholastic ability may rise than the present if I do so.

  7. I’m not “Yutori kyoiku” generation. But I have heard about it several times. Concretely, about the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. There are various problems in “Yutori kyoiku”. For example, the problem about entering university as it was in the discussion. There is no “Yutori” in a university entrance exam, so it is impossible to meet the exam by such education. I have heard about such problems many times. But I listened to this discussion and I think that it is more serious that a lot of students go to cram school and study hard until late at night and go home. Because if such life is continued, they become unhealthy. After all, I think that the education that students enough to take an exam without going to cram school is necessary. Of course, cramming is not good, but to have too much “Yutori” is not good too. I think that it is very important to keep balance. Certainly, to study hard is important, but it is very important too to take a rest. If we damage own health, we can’t study hard.

  8. When we went to elementary school, class of Saturday is finished. In addition to the number of education quantity are decrease in school. Actually I don’t fell reality of yutori kyoiku. But when we were junior high school student, class of Saturday is starting. It is very surprised. It is said that education level is down in Japan by yutori kyouiku. So, we know clearly education quality is down. But I think that we can have time discover opportunity. For example hobby or activity. We can have various interests. National Center Test for University Admissions is change for last year. I think that they don’t have enough time of sleep. We must think that them lifestyle habit and stress. Recently, we have many problems. Young people are increase of suicide. So, we need have careful. I think that Education is change and evolution year by year. We don’t know that unless we try. So, we need various challenge.

  9. First of all, we have to think about why Yutori education appeared. It emerged to improve the education that teaches in large quantities. So, I think that it is important to keep balance the amount of learning after all. If we male study contents too easy and reduce the amount of study too much, Japanese learning level will decrease. However, if we make study contents too difficult and increase the amount of study too much, student burden will become heavy. I think reducing classes is not the only way to reduce student burden. I feel burdened with the lesson of just listening to the blackboard for a long time. For example, creating small group to encourage children to think and learning that students teach each other. These methods do not burden students and are good learning efficiency. I think there is a way to change the university entrance examination system as a fundamental solution. Japanese entrance examination is a system that asks how much knowledge we have. There is a class for this entrance examination, so it will be a class that only teaches knowledge. I think that the reform of the entrance examination system will lead to better classes.

  10. Yutori Kyoiku

    I think that the university entrance exam should be changed because of the influence of Yutori kyoiku. Up until now, studying by heart has been important in the past in Japan. So, when I was in junior high school student, I was trying hard to study to memorization. However, when I entered high school, I realized that the way I studied was of little significant, but It was a memorizing examination not only high school entrance exam, but also my university entrance exam. On the other hand, my high school teacher often said to me “You must get the power to think. It is not just memorizing”. In addition, in my high school, supplementary classes called “zero class” were held every weekend. It takes place from 7:30 to 8:20 in the morning. It felt very burden to the student who were doing activities, because we did not get enough sleeping time. And we had to do a lot of homework. I think it’s really necessary to “zero class” because the rest of the class is sleepy after that. By the way, I don’t think it’s necessary to learn by heart because of the spread of AI from now. the university entrance exam is scheduled to change from this year, so I’m looking forward to it.

  11. Due to “yutori kyouiku” Japanese students’ academic achievement ranking has dropped considerably in the world. It is also generally said that people of the yutori generation will not be able to use it at work. My brother was eight years older and was in his spare year, but he learned in a completely different way from the one I had received. He said that there were no extracurriculars in the morning and that the content of his studies was easy. I think today’s children are getting quite a hard time learning because of that reaction. The number of extracurricular classes has increased compared to before, and the ranking of students has become active, so the stress and burden of children has increased. I myself often had crass-divided tests at schools and cram schools. However, there are many types of study in Japan that use of study in Japan that use memorization. This memorization-type learning may be efficient, but you can’t expect much effect in learning practical skills. That’s why I think we should be more active in introducing active learning and discussions in Japan in the future.

  12. Today, I think that education system have problems like this article shows.
    In fact, I am not in “yutori” generation, but in cram generation. When I was in elementary school and junior high school, I don’t need to go to school for studying. But, when I was high school student, I have to go to school until a.m. 7:40 from Monday to Friday for “zero classes”, and twice a month on Saturday for seminar. And when I was grade 3, I have to take “after school classes” for 1.5 hours on weekday. Of course, not only me. So, we are always tired because of cram classes.
    On the other hand, I think “yutori kyoiku” is too gentle. Too gentle is not good mean here. Because of this, it happened lack of studying for children. So, they became to need to go to cram schools. As a result, they are always tired, too. Too gentle or too cram, Japanese education is extreme.
    Also, I think exam system have problem. memory is important at exam in this country. So, children can’t get ability to think for themselves.
    For these things, we have to think the best education system.

  13. I often hear this word ‘Yutori Kyoiku’ and I don’t hold true that because recently I often hear ‘Satori Kyoiku’ as well as ‘Yutori kyoiku’ and I holds true ‘Satori Kyoiku’. It is bad for us to spread this ward ‘Yutori kyoiku’ because many people receive discrimination action. Also, because of ‘Yutori Kyoiku’, education of junior high school and high school is changing now.

    I think that we need active learning when we are junior high school student and high school student because we should acquire practical communication skills with other persons not only in Japanese but also in English. Actually, so I’m not good at talking and opening my heart especially with first meeting persons even Japanese, I don’t have enough communication skills not only Japanese but English as well. If I were foreigners such us American, I could tell honestly and quickly because Japanese have shame. But, foreigners don’t have this and I have images of honestly and don’t hesitate with other persons for foreigners. I have shame and can’t discard this. Therefore, I often feel envy toward them. So, nowadays, many people come to pay attention to active learning, because it is important and necessary for us to make a living and work in society not only in Japan but also in the world.

    This is because I think that we need to use active learning about acquiring communication skill during junior high school and high school.

  14. I was educated in a ”Yutori Kyouiku”. “Yutori Kyouiku” was in place from 1980 to 2010.When I was in junior high school student and high school student, I went to a cramming school. It is because I thought that studying at school alone was not enough. I had been made to memorize a lot of things at school, and most of the regular exams at school were also memorized. I was able to get good marks in most of the regular exams at school by memorization. When I was in high school, we had a morning extracurricular and an extracurricular after school. I was very hard. But I couldn’t get good marks in the external exams. It is because I didn’t do any thinking at school. I have been learning English since elementary school. But I am not able to speak English fluently. Nowadays, school education mainly focuses on writing and reading English. If I have a chance to present in English, I have memorized the sentences in school. But when I actually speak, I have to think and speak on the spot. I think the school education system needs to change . I think we need to learn to think more. I want the school system to be better.

  15. Our generation is the last “yutori” generation. I remember that class is few when I was first elementary school student. I could come home at 14:00 when I was first elementary school student. Surely, “yutori kyōiku” cause a decline in the academic, but only cramming knowledge is bad. Surely, cramming knowledge is needed for almost entrance exam. Also, cramming knowledge is good for teachers. Teachers must only teach same contents for a lot of students, but I do not say teacher is bad. I think carrying out good “yutori kyōiku” is difficult in Japan. Japan is huge. Japan is aging society with fewer children, but there are 15 million children in Japan. I think it is too many children to carry out good “yutori kyōiku”. Good “yutori kyōiku” need to consider students individual academic ability, but teachers cannot do it. Recently, overwork of teachers is picked up, so increase teachers works is very difficult. I think we need new educational policy in Japan. Also, English language teaching in Japan is problem. Japanese is nothing like English, so Japanese people learning English is very difficult. In the first, Japanese government have emphasized English language teaching for twenty years, so Japanese government trial and error about English language teaching.

  16. I think Japanese education system should be improved. Most Japanese children start learning English from elementary school. But few Japanese adult can speak English. Because they learn English for Entrance examination. College entrance examination require listening skill and writing skill but don’t require speaking skill. Of course, when we speak English, require listening skill and writing skill but more speaking skill.
    Japanese education is a method of listening to the teacher’s lessons in class and measuring the student’s academic ability through a test. In other word Japanese education system is passive and uniform. In addition, Japanese education is a stuffed education. It is said that Japanese children’s academic ability has declined due to the “yutori kyōiku” that started in 2002. In order to improve academic ability, the content of learning has increased since 2008 and stuffed education has been implemented to stuff a lot of knowledge.
    I think that we should revisit learning methods by memorization to improve the Japanese education system. Japanese education involves a lot of memorization learning. I think that children do not develop the thinking ability which is their own ability to think. Memorization learning is far from the original meaning of studying. So Japanese government should rethink education system.

  17. I experience “yutori kyōiku” when I was a first grader. Every Wednesday, we came back home from school by four classes. I remember that I am looking forward to being Wednesday at that time. However I think it is not good now. Because I think we lack enough time for study at our school. My teacher told us that we study a little ourselves. In addition, some classmate went to cram school. For elementary school student, I think that the assignment is too hard. In high school, we don`t have our free time. In the morning, I went to school at seven o`clock. The time that I can come back home is nine o`clock. My friend belonged to brass band club. The activity was two hours. The other friend went to cram school. She left there at ten o`clock. We should eat dinner and go to bed, after we came back from school. Besides we have assignment from school. This life is not good health. I think our country`s education should change more better for children`s condition of study. And children may study further pragmatic things.

  18. I didn’t experience gentle education but I feel that gentle education was besides the point. I was surprised that my junior high school teacher told me why gentle education started. It was because The Kobe child murders occurred. The criminal of this murders is a junior high school student. At first, many people think the criminal is in 30s because this criminal is too tragic. Considering this criminal Japanese government started the moral education, one of the gentle educations. But the moral education don’t make students think by themselves. In advance, the answer is predefined. I can’t understand the benefits if I take the moral education. I make a sense that Japanese government want to do. But the way took by Japanese government is too bad. I think that that is Japanese like very much. Japanese leaders don’t consider branches well. Japan is always been that way. In Pacific War, many Japanese soldiers passed away due to incapable boss. The same things occurred in 2000s. Because Japanese government never confirm what happened in schools with their own eyes, students should go to cram schools. That is bad Japanese thinking.

  19. I am not good at speaking English. Even if I can write it in sentences, words will not come up when you try to speak. The main purpose that I learn English is getting a good score in the test and passing the university entrance exam. I was studying to be able to read English and solve problems in high school. If there are more time when talk with friend in English in class, I may enjoy speaking English much and I might be able to speak English fluently. I want to increase my opportunities to speak English and become able to speak English well.
    I often did homework in not only bus stop but also bus and train. I thought it was an annoying doing, but I had no choice but to do so. I surprised that this reason is yutori kyōiku. I hope to change education system and children can learn things efficiently that is necessary for children.


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