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The Best Things Parents Can Learn From Foreign Schools

When her children were young, Teru's family had the opportunity to move from the United States to Asia. Over the course of several years, her children were enrolled in public schools in Japan, China and Hong Hong. She learned many best practices and ways parents can implement these strategies as a supplement to their children's education.

Visit Teru's website here: and get her book on amazon.

Listen to the podcast here:

Teru's Story

Teru Clavel is from New YorkCity

In 2006, her two boys were 18 months old and newborn.

They went to Hong Kong for 4 years and had their third child while they were there.

They decided to put their kids in the local public schools.

They moved to Shanghai and put their kids in the local public schools.

They moved to Tokyo in 2012 and put their kids in the local public schools.

In 2016 they came back to the U.S.

Teru was raised by first generation immigrants from Japan. When she had kids, she didn’t know how to give them that linguistic experience.

Cultural Differences

Every country has so many different cultural practices.

For example, her son was kept after school and she thought that meant he was in trouble.

Her son cried- but it was because of the pressure that his mom was putting on him, not because he was in trouble.

World Class

World Class is a book that chronicles her journey. It is told in first person perspective, anecdotal and research and takeaways.

Differences in Asian Schools

Teacher credentials differ in Japan

Very difficult to become a teacher

Teacher go through ongoing professional development.

They don’t get tenure, they have to keep learning.

Teachers in Japan must know how to swim, twils, sight read music.

Teachers in China are subject specific starting in first grade.

Kids are responsible for cleaning, there is no janitorial staff.

The children serve each other food and clean up after themselves.

There is very little tech in the classroom.


People thought it was crazy for the Clavels to put their kids in public school

PIZA scores (test scores across 70 counties that test reading, science and math).

When China participated they scored way higher than any other country in all areas.

Teru says this is due to the discipline and the challenges they come against every day.

They must master the basics first, then move on to creativity.

Thoughts on Education

Always been amazed by what kids can do.

We don’t challenge them enough.

Kids are often bored in school and there’s no reason for them to be.

If they are bored, that need to be addressed.

She wants it to be cool for kids to be smart.

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