What is the most difficult thing for an IR student who takes class for GS students is that he or she needs to express oneself in class. I’m one of such students and have a little trouble to expressing my own ideas in the class. Of course, I know that one of the main reasons is from my poor English. However, I think that the problem is the difference between education system in Japan and that in other countries like America, which influences how students behave in the class. Also, Japanese people have a different view to express their own ideas.
First, in Japanese class room, a teacher just teaches and expects students to listen to the lecture silently. Japanese educational system puts more importance on listening to the teacher’s lectures and gaining knowledge from teacher rather than expressing their own ideas and learning from other students’ ideas as well. Students sit on a chair, listen to a lecture, and take notes silently. Also, questioning or expressing their own ideas in the middle of the class is not welcomed by the teacher. Some teachers see students who do so as an interrupter of the class and annoy them. Eventually these students are labeled as troublemakers. There is seldom discussion time or opportunity to express their opinions for students.
Second, Japanese people are tend to hesitate to sticking out. The Japanese proverb that has been saying for a long time is a good example that “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.” This means that: (1) people are jealous of, hate, and disturb a person, who is distinguished in study or talented, (2) a person who sticks out are punished by others. Japanese people regard speaking out in front of many people as a sticking out. Therefore, students are not willing to express their own ideas in the classroom because they don’t want to be “hammered down.”
For these reasons, Japanese students are not accustomed to speaking out their own ideas in the class and tend to have difficulty to express their own ideas.
In terms of other country’s cultural capital, Japanese cultural capital seems so silly and incomprehensible, however in Japan, it is the cultural capital. I didn’t realize a cultural capital of Japanese education system until I took a class for the GS. There’s a different cultural capital in the class, so I spend a little hard time and sometimes cannot help think that Japanese cultural capital is so inferior to others in the class. However, I think that Japanese cultural capital is not entirely negative but still positive. Japanese people are not good at sticking out and expressing their own ideas, but they can listen to other’s ideas well. Also, Japanese are not so assertive and have room to accept other’s good ideas.
Thus, each cultural capital is capital in that culture, someone who is unfamiliar to that culture may have difficult time. I think that we don’t have to evaluate which cultural capital is superior or inferior, but the most important thing is “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
by Mayumi Kurosawa