The other day I was eating lunch with the first graders at an elementary school. All students in Japan, ALL, prepare their own lunches and cleanup their own lunches.
After lunch, one student was taking his milk cartoon over to the sink to pour out the milk he did not drink. Having just spent twenty minutes with a guest in their classroom most of the students were on adrenaline highs. And that was just fine with their teacher.
As this student jumped out of his chair toward the sink, he picked his milk cartoon up upside down and the milk spilled out. He noticed the spilled milk, turned around, picked up some tissues from his desk, cleaned up the milk, and continued cleaning up the rest of his lunch.
His teacher did not say a word and the student was not ashamed of this accident.
Sorry but ...
had this happened at the school I was working at in the states, before I came to Japan, the teacher would have yelled. The student would have gotten upset. The teacher would have blamed the students excited attitude for this accident. The teacher would then shove some paper towels into the students face, watch him cleanup the milk, and then cleanup what the student (presumably) did not cleanup well himself.
Educational reforms are seriously needed in America's public schools.
It also would not hurt to have all American elementary school teachers watch the first grade at my favorite Japanese elementary school.