Sunday, October 19, 2008

Math in Japan

Today I attended a very interesting workshop on math education in Japan. It was fascinating to see how the US and Japan are both alike and different. In the US each state decides what students will learn in schools and writes their own math curriculum. In Japan the entire country uses the same math curriculum. This means that every student in the same grade learns the same topics no matter which prefecture (state) they live in.

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?



2nd grade resource room said...

Do the Japanese celebrate Halloween?

Anonymous said...

What kind of cars do they drive in Japan?
Mrs. Macken's 1st grade

Miss Vecchione said...

I have seen many different types of cars. Some of them are regular sized cars and some of them are very compact (small). Since people drive on the left side of the road, the steering wheel is on the right side of car. I have not seen any American cars, like Dodges or Fords. I have seen many Japanese cars, like Nissans and Toyotas. If you visit my website and go to the Picture button you will find many pictures of photos from the day I visited The Diet.

Miss Vecchione said...

In the past Halloween was not really celebrated in Japan. Now it is becoming more popular. From what I understand, children do not dress up and go trick-or-treating, but people enjoy decorating for the holiday. I have seen decorations in stores, outside of businesses, and even in some of the schools. If I learn anything else about Japan and Halloween I will let you know!