Lurking behind these test scores, however, are two profoundly important and closely intertwined topics that the United States has yet to even approach: how teachers are trained and how they teach what they teach.
Ah, someone's starting to get the picture.
The book has spawned growing interest in the Japanese teacher-development strategy in which teachers work cooperatively and intensively to improve their methods. This process, known as "lesson study," allows teachers to revise and refine lessons that are then shared with others, sometimes through video and sometimes at conventions. In addition to helping novices, this system builds a publicly accessible body of knowledge about what works in the classroom.
The lesson-study groups focus on refining methods that improve student understanding. In doing so, the groups go step by step, laying out successful strategies for teaching specific lessons. This reflects the Japanese view that successful teaching is the product of intensive teacher development and self-scrutiny. In America, by contrast, novice teachers are often presumed competent on Day One.
Can't argue with that. Sounds smart. In business we called that "Best Practices". And we can often thank ed schools for this:
We also tend to believe that educational change would happen overnight--if only we could find the right formula. This often leaves us prey to fads that put schools on the wrong track.
So how do we fix this problem? Yes, that's the big question.