18 December 2007

Been around the world and I, I, I–I can’t find my baby

I spent yesterday writing and rewriting and reading and watching the baby crawl around the kitchen. Hopefully I will finish my revisions sometime today, but there’s not telling, really.

I’m obsessed with cause and effect. I think about it all the time. Today, one of the teachers at school asked a class of students who are obviously not interested in the class, who have never in the 30 plus times we’ve had class asked a question, ‘Don’t you have any questions?’ ::long pause:: ‘Mr. Watanabe, don’t you have any questions?’ ::Mr. Watanabe mumbles something:: ‘Okay then. Let’s move on.’

Now, why in the world does this teacher insist on asking the students to do something that they obviously are not trained to, interested in, or able to do? Then don’t ask questions in class–even I can see that its not an essential part of Japanese high school class culture. But the teacher continues to ask, continues to treat the class without seeming to consider what the effect of his teaching style is.

Maybe its one of those mysterious Japanese things that I’m not supposed to get because I’m a foreigner, but I don’t think so. I suspect the teacher thinks they should ask questions so he encourages them to do so. But his way of encouraging does not get the effect he wants. If he really wanted the effect, he has to change his cause. But he never does.

This sounds familiar. Doing something half-assed not because you really want to do it, but because you think it should be done. Form over substance will get you these sorts of results, I think. And I’m pretty frustrated with it.