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Teacher Professionalism: Japan & the US

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Amy Cimino

on 2 February 2014

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Transcript of Teacher Professionalism: Japan & the US

Teacher Professionalism:
Japan and the U.S.

Japanese Teacher Professionalism
In Japan, school is considered to be a "training ground" for becoming a "good citizen"
Teachers have the responsibility for moral education and character development
Teachers' influences extend beyond the classroom into the students' home and communities
High status is offset by public scrutiny
Japanese teachers have a high commitment towards professional development and often give up their own time to spend working
They have voluntary study groups as well as organized training
Japanese teachers have a high appreciation for administrators and colleagues
Teachers have flexibility and creativity when working with curriculum. They focus on less topics for a longer period of time allowing for more exploration, questions and thoughts from both students and teachers.
Japanese teachers welcome observation and critique. They are open for suggestions and ways to improve.
US Teacher Professionalism
Teacher Professionalism asks teachers to determine the world conditions and then evaluate their effectiveness as a teacher. This video challenges your definitions, and really demonstrates extended professionalism. Do you teach or do you educate?
Ken Robinson: How to escape educations death valley. A 'tedtalk' on edcuation.
Action Plan for incorporating democratic characteristics into our classrooms:
What Is Teacher Professionalism?
Teacher Credentialing and Induction Programs
Teacher Credentialing Programs
United States:
4-year degree
Teacher preparation/credentialing coursework
BTSA/Induction

Japan:
Elementary Teaching (preschool - lower secondary)
4-year degree
"second-class certificate" earned in a university - 2-years of additional coursework
Additional coursework in specific subjects
Upper Secondary Teaching
4-year degree
Masters degree
Additional coursework in specific subjects




Autonomy in Education
Teacher autonomy can be defined as the ability to make educated choices based on the needs of a teachers classroom. These choices decide instruction, content and assessment these choices are often influenced by professional development and educational research.

However, “The state places strict regulations on its teachers and prohibits them from engaging in political activities such as forming and participating in political organizations, seeking votes, and using documents to support candidates in election format.” (Kubow &Fossom p. 250 2007)

Limitations on what teachers can do and say in the classroom are strictly regulated by the district and state. Japanese teachers face a harsher reality and are limited further on the unions that they may be involved in, if they seek promotion. The debates in Japan centers on the concept of to what degree are teachers civil servants.

The irony here is that teachers are expected to teach student about politics and rights but not be able to practice these rights. Teachers are limited to what they can say and critique when it comes to school guidelines and procedures in education, however they do have autonomy in their professionalism.
Culture's Effect on Teacher Professionalism
Cultural values cause teachers to teach based on what is familiar to them. They were taught a certain way and will tend to teach with what they have known.

It is important for teachers to understand other cultures and their values to help open their minds and expand their teaching. Kubow & Fossum (2007) explain, "Comparative perspective taking, therefore, provides a way for teachers and aspiring teachers to broaden their view and to see teacher professionalism from another cultural viewpoint in order to counteract the problem of familiarity" (p. 213).

We want teachers to think creatively and to not always just continue to do the same thing based out what is socially acceptable in order to create positive change in education. However, we as members of the society like what is comfortable and can often times be afraid of change. So how can we balance the need for social norms and the need for change? The book sums it up with a great quote: Kubow & Fossum (2007) explain, "Socialization - understood as teachers and students in all societies both learning the norms of their society and possessing the reflective skills to critique those norms - is the way to reenvision teacher professionalism as being about teachers engaged in the process of creating environments that help develop democratic citizens" (p. 243).
Democratic Education
These 8 components of democratic education are found in conjunction to high test scores and success by Japanese students in the fields of math and science. This begs the question whether the American school system should reconsider separating democratic education as a course relevant only to civic virtue (Kubow and Fossum 230).
1. Active Participation
2. Avoidance of textbook dominated instruction
3. Reflective thinking
4. Discussion
5. Student decision making and problem solving
6. Individual responsibility
7. Recognition of human dignity
8. Relevance
Professionalism is the ability for teachers to determine their world conditions and their effectiveness as a teacher (210)
Extended Professionalism: teachers who extend beyond the day-to-day responsibilities to included collaborating with other teachers and evaluating effective teaching.
Restricted Professionalism: teachers traditional day-to-day responsibilities
Robin:
I would create a classroom activity at the beginning of the school year to use all students' input while putting forth classroom rules, procedures, and guidelines. Every year is different, and I would ensure that each year these rules, procedures, and guidelines would be created as a result of a team effort.
Jennifer
: (After School Program) I am allowing students to be a part of our activity planning and brainstorming by asking students what they would like to learn. The great part about the after school program is that we have more leeway when it comes to what we teach. Including the children in this process will allow them to become more excited and interested in the activities/clubs that we provide. This also allows the staff o have a better relationship with the students by talking to them about their interests.
Christina:
I am allowing students to have more control over their education. Students have choices on classroom procedures, lesson topics and activities.
Amy:
I would like to incorporate more student decision making and problem solving through allowing students the opportunity to struggle through a task to find the solution.

Teachers in the US view their work as more isolating than the complex network of colleagues in Japan. Kubow and Fossum state the complaints of American teachers as having "excessive paperwork, prescripted curriculums, and "accountability systems that equate learning with factory production"" (Lewis as quoted by Kubow and Fossum, p. 215). Overall, teachers feel overwhelmed by the isolation.
High status discrepancy for US teachers. They find their work valuable, but do not feel they receive the status they deserve
US teachers have "self-determination" where teacher's have a say in what is being taught and how. Their thoughts on US education are becoming more important (Kubow & Fossum, 2007, p. 252)
They continually look for resources that provide a more accurate and true form of assessment, as well as, curriculum that is based more on creativity (Kubow & Fossum, 2007, p. 253)
Believe in teacher-student interactions beyond the classroom.
Bunker Roy: Learning from the barefoot college
Full transcript