Blake E. Peterson

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It has been documented in The Teaching Gap that Japanese matheamtics teachers teach differently than those in the United States and Germany. The question I am interested in is how Japanese teachers learn to teach this way. In 2002 and 2003 I went to Japan to student student teaching. In 2012, I returned to Japan to study the courses that preservice mathematics teachers take. I spent two weeks at Saitama University observing these courses looking at the pedagogy that is used by the university professors and the content they focus on. This trip was facilitated by Professor Hiroyuki Ninomiya. It has taken many years to translate and code this data so this work is ongoing.

While on sabbatical during 2003, I visited Ehime University in Matsuyama, Japan to observe the student teaching process at the junior high school affiliated with the university. With the help of Professor Hiroyuki Ninomiya, I obtained support from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. There were two sessions of student teaching that took place over a six-week period. The first session which had 7 mathematics student teachers started September 2 and went until September 29. The second session which had 6 mathematics student teachers started September 30 and finished October 10. Both sessions had over 50 total student teachers in this small junior high school of about 480 students.

Below are some of the scenes at the Fuzoku Junior High School affiliated with Ehime University.

The School Front and Assembly Hall

Students practice for the Fall Undokai (Field Day) with the school in the background.

One of the daily activities at the school is an afternoon cleaning in which all students and teachers are invloved. Below, some of those activities are displayed.

All student teachers are introduced to the school.

The Mathematics Student Teachers

The student teachers prepare lessons in the student teachers room.

Students and student teachers eat lunch in their homeroom classroom.

The impeccable boardwork that is so common in mathematics lessons.