Universal Journal of Educational Research Vol. 4(2), pp. 313 - 319
DOI: 10.13189/ujer.2016.040201
Reprint (PDF) (550Kb)


Recent Trends in Japanese Mathematics Textbooks for Elementary Grades: Supporting Teachers to Teach Mathematics through Problem Solving


Akihiko Takahashi *
College of Education, DePaul University, USA

ABSTRACT

Problem solving has been a major theme in Japanese mathematics curricula for nearly 50 years. Numerous teacher reference books and lesson plans using problem solving have been published since the 1960s. Government-authorized mathematics textbooks for elementary grades, published by six private companies, have had more and more problem solving over the years. As a result, almost every chapter in Japanese mathematics textbooks for elementary grades begins with problem solving as a way to introduce students to new concepts and to introduce new procedures. But a large wave of teacher retirement in recent years has left newly hired teachers without the collegial support they need to develop the expertise to teach through problem solving. In order to overcome this challenge, the latest edition of a major mathematics textbook series in Japan includes more resources to help teachers teach through problem solving and to help students learn through problem solving. The book contains more alternative approaches to a problem, provides diagrams meant to help students solve problems independently, and includes pages that teach students how to take notes effectively. By comparing the latest two editions of this textbook series, the author will highlight how the text has increased its support of problem solving, and will relate the changes to recent trends of Japanese mathematics textbook designs.

KEYWORDS
Japan, Problem Solving, Alternative Approaches

Cite this paper
Akihiko Takahashi . "Recent Trends in Japanese Mathematics Textbooks for Elementary Grades: Supporting Teachers to Teach Mathematics through Problem Solving." Universal Journal of Educational Research 4.2 (2016) 313 - 319. doi: 10.13189/ujer.2016.040201.