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SU hosts national scholar in science and mathematics teaching

The Department of Mathematics in Syracuse University's College of Arts and Sciences will host a colloquium presented by one of the nation's foremost scholars in "lesson study"--Catherine Lewis, distinguished research scholar at Mills College, Oakland, Ca. Lewis will present "How Students and Teachers Learn in Japanese Schools," at 4 p.m. Thursday, March 26 in SU's Carnegie Hall, Room 313. The colloquium is free and open to the public. Paid parking is available in the Irving Garage, Irving Avenue.

Lewis will explore two core features of Japanese mathematics and science instruction:

Lesson structure and flow with an emphasis on how teachers reconcile student-led inquiry with national standards, and

How teachers build a shared knowledge base for teaching, using what they learn from collaborative lesson study to reshape both curriculum and national policy.

A video of Japanese elementary mathematics and science lessons will be used to explore both core features.

Lewis has conducted research in Japanese and U.S. schools for 25 years and is co-director of the Mills College Lesson Study Group. Lesson study is a professional learning process in which teachers collaboratively plan, observe, analyze, and refine actual classroom lessons, called "research lessons."

Fluent in Japanese, she wrote the first English-language articles about lesson study, the Japanese approach to on-the-job learning for teachers. She currently serves as principal investigator on projects funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S Department of Education Institute for Education Services designed to test the impact of content resource toolkits on lesson study. She is the author of more than 40 publications on elementary education and child development, including the seminal "Lesson Study: A Handbook of Teacher-Led Instructional Change" (2002); and the award-winning book "Educating Hearts and Minds: Reflections on Japanese Preschool and Elementary Education" (1995).

Lewis earned a B.A. in social psychology from Harvard University in 1972 and a Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Stanford University in 1979. Video of U.S. and Japanese teachers engaging in lesson study, and additional information about Lewis's work, are available at lessonresearch.net

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