A science teacher at Hiraoka Elementary School in Sakai City, Osaka showed about ten minutes of a home video of his wife giving birth to fifth graders in July. In the video students were able to see the umbilical cord and parts of the actual intance of birth.
Students complained saying things such as, “It was scary,” “It was gross,” and other complaints. The principal of the school visited each students home to apologize.
The teacher showed the video as a part of a “Life and Birth” class, and showed the video to all sixty-eight fifth graders at the school. The teacher commented that he really wanted to show the students how wonderful the birth of a life is, but that his decision was careless.
My personal feelings are that I wish this were acceptable. I can imagine that with the right lead up and teaching, or the right attitude, or support from the parents and school, this teacher could have shown this video and taught the kids something really good about life and about where they came from.
It also exposes something about schools in Japan that I think is a big problem… There is often very little discussion about lesson plans, and what actually goes on in the classroom. If this teacher had been in a place where it was natural for teachers to discuss lesson plans and education, someone might have told him it was a bad idea, or suggested that information be sent to parents beforehand about the content of the class.
Another thing about education (and society in general) is the tendency of people to just apologize without standing up for themselves. This could be an issue for which the school could stand up for the teacher who obviously had nothing but the best of intentions. If people just give in and apologize, then all the control and power goes to the complainers.