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Foreign English Teacher Facing Criticism for Playing "Hangman" at School...

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  • Foreign English Teacher Facing Criticism for Playing "Hangman" at School...

    ...where student hung himself.

    YACHIYO, Chiba -- A foreign English teacher in charge of an English class at Shumei Yachiyo Junior High School is facing criticism after it emerged that the teacher drew pictures of a person being hanged (a la the game "Hangman") when students answered incorrectly in class. In 2008, a student at the school hanged himself, but the teacher allegedly continued using the game regardless.

    The parents of the student who killed himself, meanwhile, are angry. "This kind of teaching is a problem," they have said.

    The testimony of several current and former students led to the discovery. According to the students, since at least 2007, the teacher has used the drawings on the blackboard, adding a line and circle to the picture every time a student can't answer a question or answers a question incorrectly, gradually forming a complete picture that resembles a person who has been hanged.

    According to the parents of the third-year junior high student who hanged himself on school grounds in November 2008, in his school notes there were also pictures that looked like hanging victims. At the wake for their son, the parents showed the picture they had found to their son's friend, who told them that it resembled pictures drawn by the English teacher in class, the parents say.

    One graduate of the school said, "I considered it a part of a game, a harmless black joke. But, now, thinking about the fact that someone killed themselves, I don't think it was a good idea."

    Another student said, "It was also going on in 2009 (after the suicide)."

    The reason behind the suicide is unknown, and no causal link has been made between the student's suicide and the teacher's drawings or any instruction on the part of the school.

    The parents say that despite the fact that in a study record he submitted to the school, their son wrote, "I had great conversations with people on a suicide website," they received no contact on the matter from the school. They have filed a suit with the Chiba District Court, seeking around 84 million yen in damages on the basis that the school did not respond appropriately despite the suicide warning sign.

    On the pictures resembling hangman, the parents said, "Even if it was a joke, the fact that it's being done in a classroom is itself a problem. We were shocked to hear that it continued even after our son's suicide."

    The school, communicating via a lawyer, said they wanted to refrain from making any comments on the matter because of the suit.

    According to Professor Kazumi Fujimori of Musashino University, a clinical psychologist and author of the book "Gakko Trauma to Kodomo no Kokoro no Care" (School trauma and care for the minds of children), the use of the pictures could almost be considered a form of "power harassment," when a person abuses their position of authority to harass others in the workplace.

    "In these times, when there is a trend for even the media to show self-restraint in mentioning suicide, if that kind of instruction was really going on in the classroom, it shows great carelessness. Even if the teacher meant no harm, for the students, who must accept whatever form of teaching is given to them, it is similar to power harassment," says Fujimori.
    http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/natio...na020000c.html

  • #2
    Oh dear..... The fact that hangman is such a popular game in English and has nothing to do with the suicide would never have been explained to any of the parents.
    The ALT is the convenient bad guy.

    Comment


    • #3
      YACHIYO, Chiba -- A foreign English teacher in charge of an English class at Shumei Yachiyo Junior High School is facing criticism after it emerged that the teacher drew pictures of a person being hanged (a la the game "Hangman") when students answered incorrectly in class. In 2008, a student at the school hanged himself, but the teacher allegedly continued using the game regardless.
      What an incredibly insensitive prick!

      The parents of the student who killed himself, meanwhile, are angry. "This kind of teaching is a problem," they have said.
      Yeah, I would be too. It *is* a problem and the teacher should be reprimanded if not fired.

      The testimony of several current and former students led to the discovery. According to the students, since at least 2007, the teacher has used the drawings on the blackboard, adding a line and circle to the picture every time a student can't answer a question or answers a question incorrectly, gradually forming a complete picture that resembles a person who has been hanged.
      The teacher should have quit using that way of "grading" his students after one of the students hanged himself in 2008.

      According to the parents of the third-year junior high student who hanged himself on school grounds in November 2008, in his school notes there were also pictures that looked like hanging victims. At the wake for their son, the parents showed the picture they had found to their son's friend, who told them that it resembled pictures drawn by the English teacher in class, the parents say.
      Is it implied here that the student got the idea from the teacher?

      One graduate of the school said, "I considered it a part of a game, a harmless black joke. But, now, thinking about the fact that someone killed themselves, I don't think it was a good idea."
      Exactly! Very poor taste.

      Another student said, "It was also going on in 2009 (after the suicide)."
      That's the problem.

      The reason behind the suicide is unknown, and no causal link has been made between the student's suicide and the teacher's drawings or any instruction on the part of the school.
      That's good to know.

      The parents say that despite the fact that in a study record he submitted to the school, their son wrote, "I had great conversations with people on a suicide website," they received no contact on the matter from the school. They have filed a suit with the Chiba District Court, seeking around 84 million yen in damages on the basis that the school did not respond appropriately despite the suicide warning sign.
      Yeah, the school could have informed the parents of their son's interest in that site.

      On the pictures resembling hangman, the parents said, "Even if it was a joke, the fact that it's being done in a classroom is itself a problem. We were shocked to hear that it continued even after our son's suicide."
      Not a problem before the death of their son but thereafter... definitely!

      The school, communicating via a lawyer, said they wanted to refrain from making any comments on the matter because of the suit.
      But they did anyway?

      According to Professor Kazumi Fujimori of Musashino University, a clinical psychologist and author of the book "Gakko Trauma to Kodomo no Kokoro no Care" (School trauma and care for the minds of children), the use of the pictures could almost be considered a form of "power harassment," when a person abuses their position of authority to harass others in the workplace.
      Agreed.

      "In these times, when there is a trend for even the media to show self-restraint in mentioning suicide, if that kind of instruction was really going on in the classroom, it shows great carelessness. Even if the teacher meant no harm, for the students, who must accept whatever form of teaching is given to them, it is similar to power harassment," says Fujimori.
      "great carelessness" is putting it mildly.

      Comment


      • #4
        Kid gets bullied and goaded into suicide, most likely by his classmates and/or his parents and/or some mental illness/deficiency which everyone would've tried to sweep under the rug, yet after he does himself in everyone suddenly develops the most tender of sensibilities regarding the preciousness of life.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by TPG View Post
          What an incredibly insensitive prick!


          Yeah, I would be too. It *is* a problem and the teacher should be reprimanded if not fired.


          The teacher should have quit using that way of "grading" his students after one of the students hanged himself in 2008.


          Is it implied here that the student got the idea from the teacher?


          Exactly! Very poor taste.


          That's the problem.


          That's good to know.


          Yeah, the school could have informed the parents of their son's interest in that site.


          Not a problem before the death of their son but thereafter... definitely!


          But they did anyway?


          Agreed.


          "great carelessness" is putting it mildly.
          Are you for real? 'Hangman' is a very common classroom game that has been used for decades in classrooms all over the world. The guy probably did not even make the connection. Maybe he was insensitive, but that is about the extent of it.

          I've used this game myself, though I don't do the hangman picture. I substitute it with a different picture.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by PurpleDaisies View Post
            Oh dear..... The fact that hangman is such a popular game in English and has nothing to do with the suicide would never have been explained to any of the parents.
            The ALT is the convenient bad guy.

            You're kidding, right?

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Andun View Post
              Are you for real? 'Hangman' is a very common classroom game that has been used for decades in classrooms all over the world. The guy probably did not even make the connection. Maybe he was insensitive, but that is about the extent of it.

              I've used this game myself, though I don't do the hangman picture. I substitute it with a different picture.
              A) A teacher (or ALT) in a foreign culture should work harder on being aware of local sensitivity
              B) Your final words support A.

              Comment


              • #8
                If it's not being linked to the suicide, why spend so much of the news article on the teacher's game?

                The bigger part should have been that the kid reported his suicidal tendencies to the school and went on without any notice to the parents!

                The teacher should also have been more considerate in his choice of games, but the problem here is in the way the news is reported vs. the actual issue -- forecasted and committed suicide.

                Comment


                • #9
                  The parents are full of ____e, playing the game of shifting responsibility to someone else for their lack of care for the son. Surely as a parent, one would/should be aware of his/her child's suicidal tendencies.
                  There are signs, suicide rarely happens out of the blue, especially with young people.
                  Blaming the school or the teacher is utter bull____e, an easy way out.
                  That professor is farking moron yapping about power harassment.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by yankeedoodle View Post
                    The parents are full of ____e, playing the game of shifting responsibility to someone else for their lack of care for the son. Surely as a parent, one would/should be aware of his/her child's suicidal tendencies.
                    There are signs, suicide rarely happens out of the blue, especially with young people.
                    Blaming the school or the teacher is utter bull____e, an easy way out.
                    That professor is farking moron yapping about power harassment.

                    It is a RULE here to look for someone to blame just as it is a rule to try to anticipate absolutely every infintesimally small possibility of trouble and then deny requests based upon that. Troubled student gets idea from ALT's innocent activity -- perhaps. Ends life. Sad. As above, the rest is mostly rubbish, imo.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Keeptrying View Post
                      A) A teacher (or ALT) in a foreign culture should work harder on being aware of local sensitivity
                      B) Your final words support A.

                      You and TPG hold hands, sing Kumbaya and cry when it rains on Picnic Day, doncha?????

                      Out of curiosity, did you two leave your balls at home, or did you have them removed after arrival in Touchy Town??????????

                      Making reasonable efforts to adjust to the Kanto area's ridiculously humourless puritanical mores is one thing, and a good idea, IHOMO.

                      Pandering to slopminded whinefesting finger-pointers quite another.

                      Remember, in about 3 weeks time, it's 65 years since we showed them what's what.

                      I think it's time some of you lifelong pantywetters remembered what you're there for.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Back in my eikaiwa days, my company had a rule against using the hangman for the game. Which really, makes sense in its own right - what a morbid game!

                        Anyways, I used an octopus, removing a tentacle each time they made a mistake.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          If the teacher in question was a JET doing the rounds at 7 or 8 schools, he probably didn't even know about the suicide, much less any details. Probably feels just horrible. Sounds like a classic case of cultural misunderstanding, and I feel sorry for everyone involved.

                          We played hangman all the time in school and never thought anything of it...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Unfortunate. I've seen it played in Japan and always felt rather uncomfortable but not everyone thinks about "how things" appear...ALT manuals could recommend using a fish on a line instead. If anything, it is an opportunity to talk about cultural and the the ALT could just smile, point to the hangman and say, "Hey, we don't like suicide, talk to someone when you are sad"...and promptly go on with a new version of the game.

                            Quote from OP:
                            "According to Professor Kazumi Fujimori of Musashino University, a clinical psychologist and author of the book "Gakko Trauma to Kodomo no Kokoro no Care" (School trauma and care for the minds of children), the use of the pictures could almost be considered a form of "power harassment," when a person abuses their position of authority to harass others in the workplace.

                            "In these times, when there is a trend for even the media to show self-restraint in mentioning suicide, if that kind of instruction was really going on in the classroom, it shows great carelessness. Even if the teacher meant no harm, for the students, who must accept whatever form of teaching is given to them, it is similar to power harassment," says Fujimori. "

                            This is an important quote. As foreign teachers we don't realize our power. Think about if you are coming across as a Bully or not.

                            By the way, is there any kind of suicide prevention in schools? Are there any groups that speak on it? A dear student from my friend's school jumped off a bridge in Spring. Where in Japan is the prevention training that I got for free from my university back home?
                            Last edited by Bonjo; 2010-07-26, 12:38 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I think the ALT's latest statement should clear the air a little:

                              "Hang on a sec! I'm new here and I haven't quite gotten the hang of teaching in a Japanese school yet. I made a simple error of judgement but I can't understand why you're getting so hung up about it. In future, no more games I promise. I'll just hang out with the students from now on."

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