How can an individual teacher create and maintain a classroom community if the school in which the teacher works does not value collaboration and community? Student teaching in Japan forced me to move from an individualistic culture into a group-oriented culture. The most important element of school culture in Japan is collaboration, and I became part of a school community where teachers and students were learners. An attitude of teamwork and collaboration permeated all areas of school. This paper illustrates how cooperation occurred in Katoh Elementary School. I provide examples of cooperation that American educators might incorporate in our educational system to move the collective community away from competition and toward collaboration.
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