Sōgōteki-na gakushū

This is a term that one encounters in any reading of or experience in the Japanese education system. For years before the introduction of “foreign language activity” instruction, my English classes at the elementary level were taught as part of the sogotekina gakushu time block. Sogotekina gakushu means something like “synthesized study” or “general studies” but is more accurately and lyrically translated as “integrated learning.” Students are encouraged to make connections from their studies to their environments, their lives, and the world around them. Some activities done as part of this time in my elementary schools include studies of fish in the nearby lake, and other activities within the community. This video, produced by the Pearson Foundation, gives a good, if uncritical, view of this part of the national curriculum.

The larger website from which this video comes is actually rather interesting.  Produced for the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) it focuses on those countries and states that performed well on the international PISA (Program for International Student Assessment). I’m not sure I am in agreement with how much attention the test results garner in the media, but the videos themselves make for an interesting look at the successful education systems of different countries.

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