Professional Development of Mathematics Teachers in Japan
Characteristics of mathematics teacher education in Japan are described with a focus on particular aspects of the learning process of teachers throughout their professional life. First, an outline of the Japanese system of pre-service training, adoption, and in-service training of teachers in mathematics are described in general. Then aspects of mathematics teacher education in Japan are discussed with a focus on the opportunities for participating in lesson study, which is a common element in Japanese educational practices and takes place in various contexts of professional development of both preservice and inservice teachers. Particular attention is given to the opportunities for developing pedagogical content knowledge in mathematics through the careful analysis of teaching materials, or “Kyozai-kenkyu” in Japanese, which include anticipating students’ approach to the topic to be taught in the classroom. Then, the role of lesson plans not only for planning and discussing lessons but also as a “vehicle” for learning process of teachers are examined. The need for maintaining the continuity between preservice and in-service training is emphasized.