One of the several moral panics that has swept the discourse about Japanese education in the past several years has been 学級崩壊, the breakdown of classroom (discipline).
While a number of different kind of phenomena are grouped under this term, the fundamental message is that the number of unmanageable (due to student behaviour) classrooms has increased, students are loosing their respect or at least not behaving in a respectful manner toward teachers, and bullying and violence toward other students is on the rise.
Now, the OECD has released an analysis of PISA data (PDF) that looks at reports of disciplinary problems in classrooms.
Japanese responses easily top the chart at 93% of students who confirmed that “the teacher ‘never or hardly ever’ or ‘in some lessons’ has to wait a long time for students to quieten down”.
Yet another case of domestic perceptions differing wildly from a perspective on Japanese education from abroad?
Note that the average for students’ responses to this question was 72%.
The fewest disciplinary problems were reported in: Japan, Kazakhstan, China (Shanghai only), Hong Kong, Romania. Students in the following countries reported the most problems: Argentina, Greece, Finland, Netherlands, France.
Finland? That model to all education policy-makers? Unruly, but great learners? Maybe students forgetting to turn off their Nokias.