Tokyo Board of Education to Offer “Insect Touching Classes” to Teachers Who Are Afraid of Bugs

Michelle Lynn Dinh Nov 3, 2012

Earlier this week, we ran an article featuring the most hated insects in Japan.  This article revealed that 40.4% of those surveyed dislike all bugs, no matter what kind.

In addition, an article from Karapaia discloses that an overwhelming amount of teachers in Tokyo admit they are afraid of insects.  In order to encourage these teachers to successfully incorporate nature observation and science experiments in the classroom, the Tokyo Municipal Board of Education will begin offering lectures featuring simple science experiments and animal care classes next spring, including a lecture on how to touch insects.  These classes will be held at universities and zoos and are aimed at elementary school teachers who have limited knowledge in the field of science.

A reported 1200 teachers showed interest in the classes and of the applicants, 760 teachers will be chosen.  The course will take place from December until February of next year.

Aspiring to train the nation’s future leaders, the Tokyo Metropolitan Board of Education also offers teacher training cram schools every year for fourth-year university students.  According to a survey taken by 150 of last year’s cram school participants, around 80% of teachers-in-training are not confident leading science experiments or teaching about animals.  Furthermore, 16% admit that they dislike insects and animals.  Among the survey takers, some said they are afraid of insects and are unable to touch them.

At the Tokyo Liberal Arts College, learning how to use Bunsen burners and how to prepare slides for a microscope is part of the fundamental curriculum.  Students also visit the Ueno Zoo to learn how to raise butterflies and grasshoppers and how to care for and handle the insects.  Lecturers are either active duty professors or animal caretakers.

In elementary school in Japan, students begin formally studying science from the third grade, but first and second graders are taught how to care for animals and observe the nature around them.  “Since the children seem to be perplexed when it comes to nature, we would like the teachers to first become familiar with the natural sciences,” commented the section manager at the Tokyo municipal faculty training center.

Humans are far outnumbered by insects, so it’s high time we learn to live peacefully alongside the creepy-crawlies that walk, slink, and slither the earth.  With the help of “insect touching classes” and other lectures on how to teach science, school teachers, especially those who live in large cities, will become more comfortable around and interested in nature and will hopefully transfer that interest to their students.

For those hoping to become more comfortable around insects, but don’t have access to Tokyo’s insect touching classes, why not take a look at the pictures below and administer a bit of self-medication.  If you stare at them long enough, they start to look a bit cute, don’t they?

…maybe not.  I guess only a mother could love those faces.