All textbooks, including math textbooks, must be approved by the government before they can be used in school. The Board of Education has several approved choices to pick from. Japanese math textbooks are quite different from our math textbooks. I am told that they usually do not have connections to science, social studies, or literature. They are VERY thin. Some Japanese educators wonder if American or British style textbooks, which tend to be much larger, would be better for Japanese students. I have purchased some examples of Japanese math textbooks (that have been translated into English) to bring home and share with you.
Furthermore, I was surprised to learn that students at the elementary level have math class for only three periods a week, which the country plans to increase after 2011. Did you think that Lincoln School students would spend more time in math class than students in Japan?
Another interesting topic we discussed was the importance of enjoying math. Before the year 2004, the word “enjoyment” was not used when talking about math in Japanese curriculum (teaching). Now it is becoming a part of their math language. Do you think that it is important for students to enjoy math? How can your teachers help you to enjoy math?