Adolescents face a range of problems in all industrialized nations. In Japan, middle school teachers have a variety of committees and support systems available to assist them in counseling early adolescents. Beginning with two case studies, the author examines the specific systems teachers use. Due to the absence of formal counselors in Japanese schools, teachers are required to provide counseling for a variety of serious mental and emotional problems. Although the system works well on a preventative basis, it can substantially drain a teacher’s time if a child ’s problems are severe. In comparing Japanese and U.S. systems, the author finds that some of the basic organizational elements used by the Japanese have been implemented in California schools. The author argues for a systematic effort at reform rather than trying to adopt certain techniques piecemeal.
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