Children Full of Life – 涙と笑いのハッピークラス
I came across this film today on Japan Probe. It reminds me a bit of “The Queen’s Classroom” except this is a real look inside a classroom in Japan’s primary school system.
The original 涙と笑いのハッピークラス―4年1組命の授業 was made by NHK in 2003. It follows a year in Mr. Kanamori’s 4th grade class. It is very different from the western classes I know of. Not least because of the teacher’s relationship to the children, the discussion of matters such as death, the group solidarity, and the willingness of children to write.
The video on YouTube, Children Full of Life, is CBC’s version that is subtitled and has an English commentary. It’s well worth watching before it inevitably gets taken down.
(But for the gold standard in fly-on-the-classroom-wall documentaries search out Etre et Avoir)