Mathematical Education: A comparison between Japan and America

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Mathematical Education: A comparison between Japan and America

The mathematical education provided in the United States has proved to be inferior compared to that of other countries. Specifically the Japanese and other Asian educational systems produce more educated mathematics students than the United States. American children tend to score lower on standardized testing than Asian students do. Many studies have been done by research groups such as the National Center for Education Statistics of the U.S. Department of Education and the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement showing the differences in teaching methods between the United States and Japan. The teaching styles and the cultural differences
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Many of the countries provide support for professional development. America, on the other hand, does not have such strict requirement or such extensive support. (2)

Another large difference is the focus of classroom study. In a comparison between typical eighth grade classes from Japan and the United States, these differences are made clear. American teachers tend to spend the first part of the period demonstrating a specific type of problem. The second portion of the class is spent applying the methods learned. The teachers assign problems for the students to try while he or she observes, helping anyone that is having trouble. Japanese teachers begin the class with a review of the previous day’s lesson followed by an introduction to that day’s topic. The teachers then typically present a problem which the students have the knowledge to solve, but one that they haven’t seen before. The students spend time working on their own and then they present their methods of solution to the class. The instructor points out some useful methods for solving the problem and the teacher either elaborates on the method or the students practice it. It was observed that American students are assigned more homework than Asian students are and more class time is spent discussing the homework in America than in Japan. In general, American students are taught a specific way in which to solve a problem and then practice on their own. Japanese students, on the other hand, are

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