Observations in Early Primary Mathematics Lessons in Japan: Implications for Swedish classrooms?
2015 (English)In: NERA 2015: The 43rd Annual Congress of the Nordic Educational Research Association 4-6 March 2015, The University of Gothenborg, Department of Education and Special Education, 2015, 84-84 p.Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Aim: The main purpose of this study is to investigate and describe typical actions that can be identified in teacher-pupil interactions during Mathematics lessons in early primary school. In this presentation we will focus on observations from Japanese classrooms and compare the results with earlier studies in Swedish primary classrooms (Engvall 2013). We also want to raise the question whether and how the Japanese example can contribute to the Swedish discussion on mathematics education. Method: The study builds on ethnographical observations in Japanese and Swedish primary classrooms. In Japan, 18 mathematics lessons in four schools (1st-6th grade) were observed in February 2014. The classroom observations were combined with teacher interviews (individual and in groups). In Sweden a total number of 26 lessons were videotaped in five different classes (2nd and 3rd grade, in 2009) while the same mathematical content was taught (addition and subtraction). After transcription, a thematic analysis was accomplished. Findings: With focus on the teacher-pupil interactions we will describe a number of phenomena that became apparent in the Japanese classrooms. Teachers pay, for example, much attention to pupils' problem solving strategies. Other observed phenomena are the slow pace of teaching and the well-structured teacher instructions. Mathematical concepts were clearly reflected in classroom communication. We will discuss these phenomena in the light of our knowledge on teacher-pupil interactions in Swedish mathematics primary classrooms. Relevance to Nordic educational research: It is well known that international comparative research offers unique opportunities to gain insight to quality aspects of classroom practices, especially when combined with adequate theoretical knowledge in the respective discipline. Japanese pupils perform well in international studies on mathematics and science (TIMMS). Studying Japanese mathematics classes can therefore help us to discern important aspects that could be possible to develop also in Swedish mathematics classrooms. According to the Swedish National Agency for Education, there are several problems to be overcome in Swedish mathematics education. One of these is the dominance of students' individual work with the textbook. This is in total contrast to the Japanese classroom where the whole class discussion is given a lot of time.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. 84-84 p.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-114706OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-114706DiVA: diva2:792140
The 43rd annual congress of the nordic educational research association (NERA)