Teacher Shows Fifth Graders Home Videos of Wife Having Birth

August 4, 2009

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 commentary:

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.


1 BL August 4, 2009 at 7:00 am

How many fifth graders did she give birth to?

2 jay August 4, 2009 at 12:24 pm

Wow… BL, thanks for making me reread my first sentence. I will leave it unedited for the fun of it, and to keep the relevance of your keen comment, but for the record, I would like to rewrite as:

“A science teacher at Hiraoka Elementary School in Sakai City, Osaka showed fifth graders ten minutes of a home video of his wife giving birth.”

Still not satisfied with that one, but I’m happy to have good readers to keep me on my toes.

3 George Donnelly August 4, 2009 at 2:09 pm

If it wasn’t for compulsory government schooling, this would not be an issue at all.

4 jay August 6, 2009 at 4:01 am

GD, at first I though you were joking about my bad sentence structure!

The schools in Japan, and the level to which many parents rely on the schools make NCLB seem like nothing. The system currently in place means parents don’t have to do any real parenting. Kids are in clobe from dawn til dusk, then home in time for dinner, tv, bed, and the next day. Many kids spend their weekends and summers in clubs all day as well. If my kids went to Japanese schools we would have to keep them from joining clubs just so we could have some family time together.