Life

The Inspiring Philosophy of Kobayashi Sosaku, the Beloved Principal of Ba Academy School

  ”You are such a good child!” Kuroyanagi Tetsuko was expelled after attending an ordinary elementary school for one year. After transferring to Tomoe Academy, she was praised like this every day by the principal, Sosaku Kobayashi.
  As an adult, Tetsuko Kuroyanagi became a well-known host in Japan. In 1981, she published “Little Doudou by the Window”, which recorded her short but beautiful study life in Ba Xueyuan. In the book, she describes Principal Xiaolin through the eyes of a child. Kobayashi Sosaku, who first appeared in front of Toudou (aka Kuroyanagi Tetsuko), had thin hair, some teeth in the front row were missing, he was not tall, and his suit was old. When they met for the first time, he spent 4 hours listening to Xiao Doudou’s unrestrained speech. He treats all children equally, regardless of whether they are disabled, naughty or talented, he will listen and observe.
  This book was the best-selling book in Japan after the war. After being introduced to China, it was also the single-book children’s book with the largest sales volume. After reading this book, countless people yearn to go to Ba Academy to study, meet a teacher like Sosaku Kobayashi, and be listened to, understood, and treated kindly.
  Before the publication of “Little Doudou by the Window”, there were not many records about Kobayashi Sosaku. It was five years after Kobayashi Sosaku’s death that Sano Kazuhiko got to know him for the first time. After learning about his music education philosophy, he was very interested: How did Teacher Kobayashi Sosaku face children? As a result, Sano Kazuhiko searched for Kobayashi Sosaku’s family and students, and wrote a biography of him – “Ba Gakuen’s Father: A Biography of Kobayashi Sosaku”.
  ”This is a shabby school!”
  Ba Xueyuan looked unremarkable. The gate is made of two trees, with the nameplate “Ba Xueyuan” hanging in the middle. The school building has two floors, and next to it is the principal’s home. When other children pass by, they often point at Ba Academy and say, this is a shabby school!
  There are several old carriages parked inside the school building. When Sosaku Kobayashi was studying in Europe, he saw a circus caravan in Paris. He suddenly had the idea of ​​making a tram classroom. He asked a parent who worked for Tokyu Electric Railway for a train car. After the carriage arrived, everyone rinsed it with water pipes. The window glass is very thick and there are wooden sun protection blinds on the inside. The seats don’t move, a table is placed, and the driver’s seat is replaced with a blackboard, and the classroom becomes a classroom.
  Tokyu Electric Railway successively transported 7 carriages, two of which were used as garden buildings and one as a playroom and library. When the teacher comes to give lectures during the summer vacation, this is the teacher’s cafeteria.
  In “Little Doudou by the Window”, Kuroyanagi Tetsuko describes how Little Doudou and her classmates had a happy class in the tram classroom. In the classroom, Xiaodoudou and her classmates can freely choose their favorite seats according to their mood that day.
  However, children still get upset when they hear others describe their school as a “bad school.” Kobayashi Sosaku knew about it, and when the students gathered, he said to everyone: “What does it have to do with people saying that we are a ruined school? When the teacher went to France, he saw that the windows of some research institutes were broken and the houses were very old. It’s a dilapidated place; but the great Marie Curie is doing the most amazing research in the world inside!”
  When the children encountered someone calling “a dilapidated school” again, they would sing back.
  Education is not propaganda.
  Kobayashi Sosaku was born in 1893, the youngest of five children in his family. As a child, he often waved his baton and sang by the river in front of his house. When he was in school, his grades were very good. When he was 15 years old, he served as a substitute teacher in his hometown primary school. He then went to Tokyo to study, and six years after graduation, he served as a tutor at three elementary schools in Tokyo.
  During this period, Kobayashi Sosaku always wanted to open a kindergarten where children could plant flowers, dance, raise rabbits, raise pigeons, and ride on donkey carts to play…
  He paid attention to children’s games and suddenly understood the importance of body movement and music rhythm. sex. He was dissatisfied with Japan’s dogmatic primary school music education. Therefore, Kobayashi Sosaku resolutely resigned and went to study in Europe. He studied abroad twice and sought advice from various people. Kobayashi Sosaku always cared about the most authentic appearance of children and believed in the educational power of nature. Walking and outdoor teaching became the focus of Ba Academy.
  He recorded the scene of the walk in “Letter from Kindergarten”: Gymnastics class involves walking across a wooden bridge over a river in a field downhill. Children cross the bridge smoothly, but the teacher falls into the river.
  After lunch, the teacher asked: “Students studied hard today, what do you want to do in the afternoon?”
  ”Take a walk!”
  So the students quickly put on their shoes and followed the teacher out of the school gate and walked to the river.
  Cherry blossoms have already bloomed along the river, and rapeseed flowers cover the river banks.
  The teacher pointed to the rapeseed flower and asked: “Why does rapeseed bloom?” Then he talked about the knowledge of pistils and stamens. The children squatted in front of the rape flowers one by one, staring at the flowers and watching the busy butterflies.
  They walked on through the woods, passed a well, and reached the temple. Enough fun, enough chatting, let’s return.
  How could such a childhood and such a school not be desirable?
  Teachers who know how to play
  : The biggest feature of Ba Academy is comprehensive education. Kobayashi Sosaku does not want Chinese to be just Chinese, but to connect it with other subjects. The ideal state is that “children don’t know whether they are taking a history class, arithmetic class, or Chinese language class. They don’t know whether they are studying or playing, but they are very interested and learn things without knowing it.”
  This requires the teachers of Ba Academy to have strong strength. After class started, the teacher wrote all the knowledge points to be learned that day on the blackboard and told the children to start with the subject they like. Those who like composition wrote compositions, those who liked physics lit up alcohol lamps, and those who liked sports started doing exercises. As long as you finish the subjects you don’t like before school is over. After reaching fifth or sixth grade, teachers already know the children well and can teach them in accordance with their aptitude.
  Xiaolin Zong provides teachers with great freedom. Classes will be held in the classroom, depending on the weather.
  To learn history, the teacher would take the children to temples, walk and study. Along the way, they can learn about plants, and they can also learn arithmetic, geography, and biology when passing farmland…
  He once told his son Jin Ziba that he wanted to find a teacher who could play, and he could go to Ba Academy three days a week.
  Jin Ziba didn’t understand. Wouldn’t it be better for the children to play by themselves? Only later did he understand that his father’s standard for “playing” was that teachers must know everything. If the teacher does not have “play” in mind, he cannot treat each child individually.
  ”At first glance, it may seem like letting the children go, but it is by no means free rein. Instead, they use great power to protect and nurture the children’s buds. The way to cultivate the buds and treat each child depends entirely on the creativity and guidance ability of each teacher.” Jin Ziba recalls.
  In “Little Doudou by the Window”, I can’t detect any mark of being criticized by Kuroyanagi Tetsuko. But Jin Ziba recalled that she was always criticized. It’s just that the teachers never used criticism methods that made her feel hurt. She was unconscious and lost this memory.
  Kobayashi Sosaku always said that neither dogs nor lions should be beaten. The moment the whip hit his body, all he produced was hatred. “The whip of love does not exist.” He never raised his hand to spank a child at home.
  When the students kept making noise, Kobayashi Sosaku would scold the teachers: “The children are making noise because the teachers are incompetent!”
  When the children sang at the top of their lungs, he criticized: “Is the sound of singing like this beautiful? It’s always wrong. Don’t study how to make your children sing with a nice voice!” But he would not tell the teachers what to do, he would just reprimand, “Think for yourself! Don’t learn from others!”
  The power of life
  “Rather than play with this free education , that so-and-so doctrine, it is better to believe in the power of life, stand on the podium to carry out true education, and cultivate a strong power of life in the hearts of students.” Kobayashi Sosaku wrote.
  A teacher told Kazuhiko Sano that he had only received ordinary music education. After contacting Sosaku Kobayashi, “Every hour was a surprise. It was like restoring all the previous education to a blank sheet of paper and starting over again.” .
  The cost of running a school is not low. There are monthly salaries for teachers and other expenses. Kobayashi Sosaku wanted education to develop according to his own ideas, so Ba Academy has always refused to accept any private school subsidies from public institutions. The school will not bow down to parents and take money. Only those who sincerely approve of Principal Xiaobayashi’s teaching methods are willing to provide financial assistance, and he will accept it. Jin Ziba often heard his father say that if he got a little money, he would be judged on the content of education, so he didn’t want this kind of money.
  When Xiao Doudou attended Ba Academy, it was during World War II. Japanese militarism has extended its power to children. The gloomy Tomoe Academy is the children’s utopia and the spiritual home of Sosaku Kobayashi. He never brought war to campus.
  In 1945, several missiles were thrown at Ba Academy and landed on the tram classroom. Xiaodoudou saw Principal Xiaobayashi Sosaku standing quietly on the road, watching Ba Academy burning. The principal’s house at the end of the school was also burned down.
  Kobayashi Sosaku was still wearing his old suit, with his hands in his pockets, and said to his son Kanekoba next to him: “Oh, what kind of school should we run next time?”
  Kanekoba was stunned. While those around him were grieving, he was burning with new hope.
  After the war, elementary schools were closed and kindergartens were reinstalled with tram classrooms. Jin Ziba would also help, but he wanted to implement his higher normal school style, arrogantly formulating weekly and monthly education plans, abandoning his father’s foundation of freedom. In just 3 months, Jin Ziba was kicked out by the teachers of Ba Academy.
  Although Kaneko Ba later had an epiphany and became an excellent educator, Kobayashi Sosaku died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage, and the land in Ba Academy was sold due to inheritance taxes.
  The last time Xiao Doudou saw Principal Xiaobayashi Sosaku was on the escape train heading northeast with the adults.
  She looked out the dark window and recalled the principal’s words, “You are such a good child!” She told herself, don’t forget this!
  More than 70 years have passed, and Kuroyanagi Tetsuko is 90 years old, but she still has not forgotten it, because in her life, “there will never be a happier time than when she was at Tomoe Academy.”

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