Science Education in the USA, Japan…

Posted on April 13, 2006  Comments (1)

Press release from the US Department of Education: U.S. Science Lessons Focus More on Activities, Less on Content, Study Shows

A video study of 8th-grade science classrooms in the United States and four other countries found U.S. teachers focused on a variety of activities to engage students but not in a consistent way that developed coherent and challenging science content.

In comparison, classrooms in Australia, the Czech Republic, Japan, and the Netherlands exposed 8th graders to science lessons characterized by a core instructional approach that held students to high content standards and expectations for student learning.

The National Center for Education Statistics in the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences today released these and other findings in a report titled Teaching Science in Five Countries: Results From the TIMSS 1999 Video Study that draws on analysis of 439 randomly selected videotaped classroom lessons in the participating countries.

The results of the newly released science study highlight variations across the countries in how science lessons are organized, how the science content is developed for the students, and how the students participate in actively doing science work.

For example, in Japan, the lessons emphasized identifying patterns in data and making connections among ideas and evidence. Australian lessons developed basic science content ideas through inquiry. Whereas in the Netherlands, independent student learning is given priority. Dutch students often kept track of a long-term set of assignments, checking their work in a class answer book as they proceeded independently.

In the Czech Republic, students were held accountable for mastering challenging and often theoretical science content in front of their peers through class discussions, work at the blackboard, and oral quizzes.

In the United States, lessons kept students busy on a variety of activities such as hands-on work, small group discussions, and other “motivational” activities such as games, role-playing, physical movement, and puzzles. The various activities, however, were not typically connected to the development of science content ideas. More than a quarter of the U.S. lessons were focused almost completely on carrying out the activity as opposed to learning a specific idea.

The science report is the second released by TIMSS 1999 Video Study. The first report, focused on 8th grade mathematics teaching, was released in 2003.

To view the reports and for more information: Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study

via: Study suggests U.S. science teaching falls short on content

One Response to “Science Education in the USA, Japan…”

  1. Dan
    January 6th, 2011 @ 5:27 pm

    Japan education= work harder, harder, harder. If you’re failing at any subject, the solution is just work a bit more. Interesting article about how different countries approach teaching science.

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