In view of the growing interest on teaching machines and programmed instruction among teachers, the organization committee of this Fifth Annual Convention has chosen problems of teaching machines as the topic of the proposed research. Sukezo Nakano of Tokyo University of Education and Hiroshi Azuma of Japan Women's University were appointed to present reports at the general session which was held in the afternoon of July14. Azuma was responsible for the first report, and Nakano was responsible for the second. Followings are the abstracts of the reports.
This is the report of a survey of how the programmed instruction is accepted and practiced in our schools. We have visited schools, observed classes and discussed with teachers as to what kind of help was expected to come from educational psychologists. 1. How teachers understand the programmed instruction. Very few automatized teaching machines have yet been introduced for actual practice. In most of the schools, the phrase “programmed instruction” was taken to be almost synonimous to the use of printed book or printed sheet type programmed materials. The typical ways in which teachers understand the programmed instruction were as follows: a) It is a method to overcome the shortcomings of group instruction by encouraging the active and spontaneous response of the pupils. b) It is to teach using programmed sheet, i. e., the paper on which materials are printed as a sequence of progressive small steps. A space for the response is provided in each frame and some kind of device for giving immediate feedback is employed. It was doubtful whether the principles of programmed instruction was really understood by most of the teachers. Words like response, reinforcement etc. were frequently used without the grasp of their psychological contexts. Sometimes it seemed as though the curiosity for something new was what motivated them to adopt the programmed instruction. 2. Probably because of the reason given above, the interest of the teachers was directed towards the constructin of programmed materials. The general characteristics of these teacher-made programs were as follows: a) They are short to fit one hour class session. b) Multiple choice and constructed responses are mixed in one program. c) So called “linear” program. The majority of the programs were on arithmetic, mathematics, Japanese, science and social studies although it was believed that almost any subject matter was programmable. 3. The programmed instruction has been tried for every grade from the first through the 12th. For any grade, however, the frequency of the programmed instruction session did not usually exceed once a week. It was because of the amount of labor needed on the side of the teachers for writing a program. In other words, the programmed instruction as practiced in our schools require the overwork of the teachers. 4. The effects of the programmed instruction as pointed out by the teachers. a) Upon the pupils: i Improves the motivation to learn. ii Better retention. iii Both better and poorer pupils can actively participate. b) Upon the teachers: i Fosters the attitude to study teaching materials in relation to the characteristics of the pupils. ii Conscious reflection of habituated conventional teaching methods. c) Upon the parents: i Homeworks which are appropriate to the level of the teaching in the school. d) Possible negative of: i Over reliance on written materials which may keep pupils away from the direct experience. ii Passive and normative attitude resulting from learning with linear programs. To sum up, more effort on the side of educational psychologists was required to clarify the principles and to evaluate the effects.