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Japanese and American Teachers' Evaluations of Videotaped Mathematics Lessons

Eiji Morita, Jennifer K. Jacobs 

May 2002, Volume 33, Issue 3, Page 154

This article describes a novel assessment method used to examine Japanese and American teachers' ideas about what constitutes effective mathematics pedagogy.  Forty American and 40 Japanese teachers independently evaluated either an American or Japanese mathematics lesson captured on videotape. Their comments were classified into over 1600 idea units, which were then sorted into a hierarchy of categories derived from the data. Next, the authors hypothesized underlying ideal instructional scripts that could explain the patterns of responses. Whereas the U.S. teachers were  supportive of both traditional and nontraditional elementary school mathematics instruction and had different scripts for the two lessons, the Japanese teachers had only one ideal lesson script that was closely tied to typical Japanese mathematics  instruction. The findings suggest that U.S. teachers may have more culturally sanctioned options for teaching mathematics; however, Japanese teachers may have a more detailed and widely shared theory about how to teach effectively.

Calculus and Higher Level Mathematics
Data Analysis & Statistics
Conceptual Development
Grades 6-8
Math Coordinator / Coach
Geometry & Measurement
Numbers and Operations
Skill and Fluency
Professional Development / Teacher Education
Reasoning and Proof