Saturday, January 16, 2010

NCSM Annual Conference, San Diego, USA 19-21 April 2010

NCSM 42nd Annual Conference
Session 326 Strand 3 Venue: Windsor BC

Integrating Curriculum, Assessment and Teacher Professional Development : Singapore and the United States

Panel of Speakers
Jeremy Roschelle (Stanford Research Institute International)
Charles Patton (Stanford Research Institute International)
Yeap Ban Har (National Institute of Education)
Wong Khoon Yoong (National Institute of Education)

My paper is titled Teacher Professional Development in Singapore Schools where I draw upon the two funded research projects I am co-investigators in as well as my work in lesson study and coducting PDs in Singapore schools for primary school teachers.

The presentation is available at and

I attended the keynote The Opportunity: From Brutal Facts to the Best Schools We've Ever Had where he addressed the need for authentic team-based PLCs, guranteed and viable curriculum, leadership in PLC, and writing in mathematics.

I am trying to attend more sessions on professional learning of teachers.

I attended a session led by Skip Fennell on elementary mathematics specialists. There are many sessions on professional learning and some on lesson study. I attended The Math Forum session on on-line learning for teachers ( and a sharing on lesson study at a school in Las Vegas - Robert Lund Elementary School in Clark County School District.

I also attended two sessions on U.S. teachers learning to use Singapore textbooks. Patsy Kanter and Andy Clark gave these sessions.

On the second day, I attended a lesson study sharing by Houston Independent School District on Algebra I.

I also went to listen to Barbara Reys spoke about the ten pressing challenges in mathematics education where several of the challenges are link to teacher professional development such as teachers' content knowledge, teachers' understanding of how students think and effective strategies to teach specific concepts, induction of new teachers, and weak influence of theory on practice.

I managed to attend a session on lesson study by Jane Gorman on differences in teacher learning for novice and experienced teachers as well as the role of facilitators on teacher learning before i had to spend the rest of the day presneting my session and doing a PD session for California teachers.

Harvard University, Boston, USA 15 April 2010

The Singapore Mathematics Curriculum: What Makes It So Good? is an seminar organised by Katherine K. Merseth and Jon R. Star from Harvard Graduate School of Education.

I discuss the three key theoretical underpinnings of the intended curriculum - Bruner, Dienes and Skemp. I discuss the enactive, iconic and symbolic representation of Jerome Bruner, the concept of multiple embodiment and the principle of perceptual and mathe,atical variability of Zoltan Dienes, and the notion of relational and instrumental understanding of Richard Skemp.

It was generally well-received by a crowd of about 40 graduate students who are interested in mathematics education as well as a few faculty members from both the education and mathematiucs departments.

The presentation slides are available at

Boston College, Boston, USA 14 April 2010

Mathematics Education Seminar
Venue: McGuinn Hall 521, Boston College

The lecture focuses on selected aspects of mathematics education in Singapore that have significant impact on high achievement of its students. It provides selected insights on the role of curriculum development, structures in the education system that support curriculum implementation, textbooks, teacher training, assessment and testing, and societal expectations on student outcomes.

A group of people from the schools districts, department of education as well as faculty members of Boston College, Boston University and Harvard University were at the seminar.

ASCD Annual Conference, San Antonio, USA 6-8 March 2010

At ASCD Conference & Exhibit Show, one can attend sessions on differentiated instruction (Tomlinson) and understanding by design(Wiggin & McTighe), two ideas that have caught on in Singapore schools. The ASCD bookstore carries a range of high quality books on professional learning and topics such as DI and UbD.

At the ASCD Annual Conference in San Antonio, Texas, I presented a session on big ideas in elementary mathematics with a prtofessional development slant (Session 2130 on Sunday morning). The session was packed with all the 120 seats taken. I am glad it was well received.

I also presented for SingaporeMath.Com. This session is to provide US educators a glimpse into Singapore primary classrooms (on Sunday lunchtime).

Session 2130
Transforming Mathematics for the 21st Century: What Teachers Need to Know
Description: What is the role of mathematics in educating children? What are the key competencies in elementary mathematics? This presentation will help teachers and curriculum leaders understand the essential big ideas that children should develop in mathematics and the role teachers play in the formation of these big ideas. Participants will learn how to help teachers understand their role in this process.

Session 222EW
A Glimpse into Mathematics Teaching and Learning in Singapore Elementary Schools

Go to

Next year's conference is at San Francisco, 26 - 28 March 2011. Deadline for session proposal is 1 May 2010.

APEC Lesson Study, Tokyo, Japan 18-21 February 2010

The top photo shows the APEC lesson study specialists who meet twice a year under this project. In 2010, they meet in Tokyo (February) and Chiangmai (November). The lower photo shows Singapore teachers' visit to a junior high school after the conference.

The Fourth APEC-Tsukuba International Conference: Innovation of Mathematics Teaching and Learning through Lesson Study with the theme of Connection between Assessment and Subject Matter is an extension of the APEC HRD Lesson Study Project 03/2006, 02/2007, 02/2008 under the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports and Science, Japan and the Ministry of Education, Thailand.

This conference is part of the Lesson Study for Implementing Curriculum: Developing Innovative Assessment Problem HRD 01/2010 which aims to improve mathematics and science teaching. Tsukuba University Japan and Khon Kaen University Thailand are the conveners of this project.

I am at the conference on the invitation of Tsukuba University as one of what the project called country specialists. Four Singapore teams are at the conference to see firsthand lesson study in Japan. The teams are Da Qiao Primary, North Vista Primary, Woodlands Ring Primary and TDD, Ministry of Education. They will be facilitating lesson study among their colleagues. 2010 will see more Singapore schools embarking on lesson study.

I also hear that Director General of Education (DGE) will mention lesson study in the context of PLC during the PILLARS conference in March.

Lesson Study, originated in Japan in the last quarter of 19th century, is now a well-known approach used for curriculum development and implementation, developing innovative teaching approaches as well as facilitating teachers’ professional development.

This conference is a platform for the specialists in the respective countries to plan a lesson study programme for their country. In November 2010, a conference will be held in Chiangmai, Thailand where the results of the programme will be reported.

18 February, 2010: Lesson Study at Attached Elementary School, University of Tsukuba
Morning Session: Research lesson in science with English translation. About 5000 Japanese teachers took part in the many open lessons that took place over two days.
Afternoon Session: Specialists’ session for the project HRD 01/2010s with relation to Assessments
For Singapore participants, the research lesson is a highlight. It is also a good networking session to meet people from Japanese schools. The afternoon session is for specialists. Singapore participants can decide if they want to attend this session with me.

19 February, 2010: Lesson Study at Attached Elementary School, University of Tsukuba
Morning Session
Two research lessons in mathematics class with English translation
Afternoon Session
Specialists’ session for the project HRD 01/2010s with relation to Materials
For Singapore participants, the research lesson is a highlight. It is also a good networking session to meet people from Japanese schools. The afternoon session is for specialists. Singapore participants can decide if the want to attend the session.

20 February, 2010: Plenary Conference focusing on Assessment
Venue: United Nations University, Tokyo
Morning Session: Keynote Session
Opening Ceremony
Mathematical Literacy on the OECD-PISA
Improvement of Teaching by improving National Assessment in the case of Japan
Professional Development through Lesson Study in the case of Thailand
Afternoon Session: APEC Economies’ Session
Short lectures: Challenges of the Improvement of Teaching from Improvement of Assessment Test
Panel Discussion

21 February, 2010: Plenary Conference focusing on Materials for Lesson Study
Venue: United Nations University, Tokyo
Morning Session: Keynote Session
Development of Mathematics Textbooks and Tools in 20th century
Problem Solving Approach Emended in Japanese Textbooks
Plan for Professional Development using Japanese Textbooks in the cases of Mexico and Thailand
Afternoon Session: APEC Economies’ Session
Short lectures: Developing Teacher Training Textbooks for Lesson Study
Panel Discussion

For Singapore participants, this two-day conference will provide food-for-thought for the lesson study journey that your schools will embark on.

The Singapore team also visited a junior high school the day after the conference.

Websites for the Conference

Erikson Institute, Chicago, USA, May 2008

Go to for a presentation on big ideas in early mathematics as well as interviews on some issues connected with mathematics education.

Videos of the lecture is available