Lesson Study: A Japanese Approach to Improving Mathematics Teaching and Learning

By Clea Fernandez; Makoto Yoshida | Go to book overview

3
Lesson Study
at Tsuta Elementary School

In this chapter we set the stage for our description of konaikenshu-based lesson study at Tsuta. We begin with a brief history of konaikenshu in the region where this school is located. We provide basic background information about the school itself. We next summarize the konaikenshu work in progress at this school when the observations, on which we will base our subsequent descriptions, began in October 1993. We conclude with an overview of the konaikenshu work carried out at Tsuta between the start of these observations and their conclusion in March of 1994.


KONAIKENSHU IN THE WESTERN REGION
OF HIROSHIMA

There are no historical documents that trace the development of konaikenshu in the western region of the Hiroshima Prefecture, where Tsuta is located. However, an interview with Mr. Harada, a well-respected and long-standing principal in the region, provided information on this topic. Mr. Harada recalled that in the early 1960s a group of teachers from Itsukaichi Elementary School who were interested in mathematics education decided to start meeting regularly and eventually began to do lesson study under Harada's leadership, a teacher at that time. Their goal was to develop mathematics lessons that fostered mathematical thinking (sugakuteki kangaekata) among students. Gradually as other teachers at the school showed interest in this work it expanded into a whole-school konaikenshu. Harada could not recall exactly when this expansion was completed, but he believed that it was two or three years before 1966, when he was relocated to another school. According to him, between 1965 and 1970 many schools in the region started to conduct konaikenshu. During this period the work at Itsukaichi served as a model for these schools, which started to send their teachers to Itsukaichi to observe mathematics study lessons taught there. Another factor that helped spread the work done through konaikenshu at Itsukaichi was the population 18

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