Date: March 20, 2010
Boston Children's Museum, Conference/Workshop

This seminar offers a special lecture by Dr. Catherine Lewis of Mills College. Dr. Mills is the author of the book, "Educating Hearts and Minds - Reflections on Japanese Preschool and Elementary Education". A Discussion on Japanese education will follow. The seminar introduces many resources, including a new video" Visits to Homes in Kyoto, Japan Today", (Thoreau alum Mei Endo is the narrator), and hands-on activities on daily life in Japan. The seminar is presented with Primary Source.

Japanese put a strong emphasis on elementary education
  • Early family (indulgent, bonding)
  • Preschool (free play, chaotic)

Elementary School
  • Focus on whole child
  • Focus on children take respnsibility for tasks (quiet the class)
  • Teachers 2 years with the same class
  • If classmates give up on student then student will be lost to school
  • 1/3 curriculum arts, moral development, physical education
  • 30 days of school are devoted to whole school community (art show, field trips, field day)

Video on school wide art show
  • every child contributes 2 pieces
  • part of buddies program (commented on each other's art work, compliments)
  • no judging
  • theme at each grade level
  • not parent made/ recycled products
  • metacognitive - think about/ identify what we are trying to do
  • create something bigger in a group
  • experience the joy of being part of a group

Toban System (chore groups) Kids get involved in leadership
Low profile of adult authority, high profile of class meeting
Hansei personal goal setting, self critical, reflections (94 sets of goals in first grade classroom)
Family like small groups, Stay together for about 2 months, heterogenous, peers to help, is our group doing well?
Non-Verbal hand signals

Lesson Study for Professional Development

Hope for my students 5-10 years from now
  • communicate ideas (oral, written)
  • resourceful
  • kind, respectful
  • critical thinkers

Next list qualities of students now (plus and negative) - The gap is what we would like to focus on as educators at faculty meetings. There is a shift from my students to OUR students.

  1. STUDY Look at curriculum standards and set goals
  2. PLAN Redesign lesson, anticipate responses, plan data collection
  3. DO RESEARCH LESSON Collect data on a certain group, eyes shining?? muttering???
  4. REFLECT Share data, implications for this lesson and instruction, analysis of learning, not teaching

Policy makers makers think teachers have important insight. Example: Solar power, interaction between policy makers and teachers

Home Life in Japan

Preview 2008 Kyoto visit video narrated by MEI ENDO (Thoreau Alum)

Cyrus Rolbin
Working through the Japanese alphabet. Projects by kids for kids. He is looking for a school/class to pilot a project


Eric Carle Kazua Iwamura (Where are you going, to See My Friend
Geneva Cobb Iljima The Way We Do It in Japan

Panel Discussion

School Uniforms
  • Obey, respect rules
  • not differentiate by income
  • Sense of responsibility and work
  • lunch prep/serve
  • plants in the courtyard
  • animals
  • daily officers
  • school wide event
  • 1-2 months to get ready
  • marching, learn events
  • taught to play in group (recorder)
Private school is much freer
class size 35-40 in elementary
home visits for conferences
same questions of parent responsibility
parents observe in classrooms