Interpretations of national curricula: the case of geometry in Japan and the UK

Fujita, Taro and Jones, Keith (2003) Interpretations of national curricula: the case of geometry in Japan and the UK. In, British Educational Research Association annual conference 2003 (BERA2003), Edinburgh, Scotland, 11 - 13 Sep 2003. 10pp.


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This paper presents an analysis of how the geometry component of the National Curricula for mathematics in Japan and in one selected country of the UK, specifically Scotland, is interpreted by textbook writers. While, of course, textbooks are not the only critical influences on student learning, such texts, as analyses of data from the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) confirm, do have a major impact and are thus important subjects for study. Our analysis is framed by the procedures derived from the work associated with TIMSS. The results presented focus on identifying features of geometry, and approaches to geometry learning, privileged in the textbooks, together with a discussion of how these designs might influence students’ performance in geometry. Our analysis indicates that, following the specification of the mathematics curriculum in these countries, Japanese textbooks set out to develop students’ deductive reasoning skills through the explicit teaching of proof in geometry, whereas comparative Scottish textbooks tend, at this level, to concentrate on measuring, drawing, finding angles, and so on, coupled with a modicum of opportunities for conjecturing and inductive reasoning. The available research suggests that each approach has its own strengths and weaknesses. Finding ways of capitalising on the strengths and mitigating the weaknesses could prove helpful in formulating new curricular models and designing new student textbooks. An emerging issue is how the design of textbooks might either build on, or neglect, students’ intuitive skills when they tackle geometrical problems.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: An updated version of this paper is available as: Jones, K. & Fujita, T. (2013), Interpretations of national curricula: the case of geometry in textbooks from England and Japan, ZDM: The International Journal on Mathematics Education, 45(5), 671-683.
Keywords: pedagogy, curriculum, teaching, learning, intuition, geometry, intuitive, drawing, measurement, imagining, manipulating, figures, mathematics, England, geometric, geometrical, textbook, deductive reasoning, proof, Japan, Japanese, school, national curriculum
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1603 Secondary Education. High schools
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2361 Curriculum
Divisions : University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Education > Professional Practice & Pedagogy
Faculty of Social and Human Sciences > Southampton Education School > Mathematics, Science & Health Education (MSHE)
ePrint ID: 14686
Accepted Date and Publication Date:
Date Deposited: 21 Feb 2005
Last Modified: 31 Mar 2016 11:27

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