To cope with the dynamically changing modern society, students have to acquire problem-solving skills in schools, which is also emphasized as an important part of "zest for living" in Japanese educational reform. Applying a survey method with a questionnaire to the Upper Secondary School Geography teachers, this research tried to clarify teachers' conceptualization and actual practice towards the teaching and assessment of problem-solving skills, with the focus on the skills of thinking, judgment and expression. The results reveal that the importance of these skills is widely recognized by teachers, whereas in actual practice, many teachers find difficulty in teaching and evaluating them in a systematic way.
It is normal to analyze a teaching method mainly by assessing the linguistic action between teachers and students. However, industrial arts and home-making classes require more practical activities and are conducted not only in a linguistic way but also by teachers walking round the class and checking on students. This kind of active spatial information is considered important and requires further analysis and consideration. However, currently obtainable the spatial information has such a lack of objectivity that it is not concrete enough to be considered better than observer subjectivity. We have developed a computer system using a "Panning Angle Sensor" which analyzes the teacher's position and learning activity in the classroom, thus enabling a clear view of the teaching process. As a result, it has become possible to visualize the relationship between a teacher's movements and learning activities, indicating not only the possibility of analyzing classes from different side views but also by presenting data for common recognition for reviewing the teaching method.
Recently, the environment surrounding children's meals has changed. Therefore, children have had to develop the ability to arrange a well-balanced diet in their daily lives. In the past teaching of Home Economics, we improved this ability by meal planning lesson, which taught children the procedures of cooking by combining food effectively. Recently, however, some problems have developed. We planned a "Dish-Nutrition" study to develop students' ability to judge the nutritional balance in a way suitable to the actual situation of children's meals and their developmental stage. This study was made up of the terms which teach children the general amount of nutrition, which is through the dietary pattern of the staple food, the main dish, the side dish and the soup, keeping our eyes on the idea of "one dish," as they experience in their daily lives. We are now trying to give these lessons using computers in Junior High School. They will learn to recognize the nutritive value per dish by using the rate of sufficiency to the dietary allowance and evaluate the nutritional balance of their meals from the dishes' nutritive value.
Foreign Language Teaching (FLT) in primary education is now widely practised all over the world. As a result, many countries have to consider the question of continuity in FLT from primary to secondary education. The Netherlands introduced 'English' in primary education as a compulsory subject in 1986, but since then the problem of continuity from primary to secondary education has been the subject of much criticism. To solve this problem, the Dutch have been taking a multilateral approach. This paper describes chronologically the various facts which are relevant to this problem in the Netherlands, in order to provide basic materials for considering the same problem with respect to Japan, where FLT in primary education is about to begin. In particular, this paper deals with the issues of attainment targets, national assessment of proficiency levels and the development of textbooks. In respect of textbooks, a task analysis showed that, generally speaking, the characteristics of tasks have been made more uniform between the final level of primary education and the first level of secondary education.
This paper explores the importance of student-developed portfolios as an instructional tool for second and foreign language acquisition, in particular for literacy development, in Japanese university EFL teaching contexts. First, existing literature is reviewed in terms of the history and development of portfolios in educational settings. Vygotsky's learning theory is examined in order to provide rationales and theoretical underpinnings for portfolio programs. There are three key concepts in Vygotsky's learning theory: history, mediation, and consciousness. These concepts provide the necessary framework for implementing portfolio programs. Different types and goals of portfolios are also examined. Three types of portfolios; working portfolios, showcase portfolios, and assessment portfolios, are outlined according to their different goals and purposes. The final part of this paper discusses the instructional implications of the use of portfolios for second and foreign language acquisition, particularly for literacy development. Two portfolio research projects which are conducted by the author are also briefly reported.
For a general studies course based on "clothing" as presented in elementary school home economics, we developed classes designed to foster an interest in, and practical ability to observe world clothing, and to stimulate general interest in children's clothing. We will report on the overall structure of the class and the learning process. Class design emphasized the following four priorities: 1) establishing a flow of learning that leads naturally from the children's interests and perspectives regarding their own clothing to that of others around the world, 2) structuring the classes around topics the children raised themselves, 3) designing the classes to introduce naturally the topics that were raised, 4) increasing interest and concern by incorporating experiential activities. The course was composed of four parts, and implementation gave special consideration to allowing students to experience basic problem solving processes. As a result, many of the children raised topics and, after designing classes to reflect those topics, we observed high levels of self-motivated, active learning behavior.
We investigated context dependency in calculation capability and its relation to both field dependent and field independent cognitive types. We conducted research using EFT, along with mathematics and science tests. The mathematics tests were composed of calculations of a linear function, and the science tests were based on Boyle's laws. Both the mathematics and science tests were composed of two questions, and the figures used in the calculations for both tests were the same. We separated the students into two types according to the results of the EFT. The students who received a high grade on the EFT were classified as the field independent cognitive type, and the students who received a low grade on the EFT were classified as the field dependent cognitive type. We compared the results of the EFT with those of the mathematics and science tests. The results were: many students of the field independent cognitive type got the correct answer to the questions on both the mathematics and science tests, whereas many students of the field dependent cognitive type answered the mathematics questions correctly, but didn't get the correct answers to the science questions. Therefore, we think that field dependent cognitive types have a tendency to depend more on context.