Living in Japan we decided to send our children to an international school rather than the American military base schools. The vision of the school that we send them to is “students will be internationally-minded, empathetic, global leaders who affect change through compassion and understanding.” The school instruction is all in English but they have also incorporated many Japanese lessons into the curriculum. I think that this combination is going to create students who are ready to be global leaders before they are even aware of what they are doing.
For starters the school has both Japanese and international students creating a cross-cultural experience for each and every child. Through this experience the children are becoming more broad-minded and tolerant of the differences we all possess. Additionally, in the school they go over a new set of countries every few weeks in order to continue to broaden the minds of the children in attendance. Discussing the different customs, languages, religions and struggles of the various countries.
One area where I found to be the most interesting was the first report card we received. Our children were not only graded on mathematics and language arts but also on “personal goals”. These personal goals include morality, cooperation, respect, adaptability, and thoughtfulness. This immediately made me think of the recent talks of ethical global leadership. “Leading in a manner that respects the rights and dignity of others” (Resick, et al., 2006, p. 2), is one definition of ethical leadership. Resick, et al, goes on to define six key attributes for ethical leadership, character and integrity, ethical awareness, community/people-orientation, motivating, encouraging and empowering, and manager ethical accountability. While the children’s reports are not using these exact key attributes many of the ones used cross over to these key attributes.
In Japanese schools’ moral education is part of the curriculum. It is required that throughout the daily lessons the children are taught orderliness, mindfulness, hard work, fairness and harmony. Many of these qualities you may notice cross over from Bushido, a series of values. Bushido values include justice, courage, benevolence, politeness, veracity/sincerity, honor, loyalty and self-control. These ethical commitments are part of the strategic thinking among those in Japan in addition to Western practices that have had influence as well. The combination of the western curriculum and the Japanese values have created a school with a vision of creating ethical, culturally aware global leaders.