Students Cleaning the School?

You have probably heard of “hidden curriculum.”

What does this mean?  Hidden curriculum are things that students do in which they learn something important but are outside of classes or the normal educational course of study.

One of the most interesting examples of hidden curriculum is cleaning the school.

Everyday here in Japan, usually after the classes are finished, the students clean the school.

The students are put into small teams, usually of 3-6, and they must clean an assigned area of the school.  Some do their own classrooms, others do a section of hallway, some the bathrooms, the lawn outside, and so cleaning school

Every student has a job.  Each team usually has a leader and sub-leader, who reports to the teacher that is overseeing them.

How well does it work?

Surprisingly well, actually.  The schools in Japan are pretty clean.  Students are also careful about trash, litter, and spills.

Don’t the students dislike doing it?

Not really.  As you might expect, they tend to chat and make jokes as they clean, but do not seem to mind cleaning “their school.”

Do some of them just take it easy while others do most of the work?

Sometimes.  However, they realize that doing so only increases the work they all have to do, so it is usually frowned on.

How about the teachers?  Well, each teacher is also assigned a place, sometimes a few places, and they not only supervise, but they do cleaning along with the students.

This includes the principal, and all the teachers.

What does this accomplish?

Through this hidden curriculum, the students feel part of a big group.  They learn to take pride in their school.  They also get a sense of belonging to the school that I have seen missing in other countries.

Likewise, they learn responsibility, teamwork, and responsibility–all of which are very valuable skills that they will need in the future.

Want to know more?  Here is an article from USA Today about cleaning the school.