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2012年12月22日 (土)

国際学力調査 理数好きになる授業の工夫を

The Yomiuri Shimbun (Dec. 21, 2012)
Teachers should work hard to help kids enjoy science, math
国際学力調査 理数好きになる授業の工夫を(12月20日付・読売社説)

The results of an international survey on children's performance in mathematics and science are cause for concern for Japan, as the nation aims to develop human resources to help it continue to thrive on scientific and technological advances.
 科学技術創造立国を目指す日本にとって、不安が残る結果である。

In the the 2011 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)--conducted on fourth-grade primary school students and second-year middle school students in Japan and the equivalent grades overseas--Japanese students showed some signs of improvement. However, it also found their enthusiasm for studying the two subjects was below international averages.
 小学4年と中学2年を対象に実施された2011年の国際数学・理科教育動向調査で、学力面では改善の兆しが確認できたものの、子供たちの学習意欲は国際的に見て低いことが明らかになった。

There has been increased interest in science since Kyoto University Prof. Shinya Yamanaka won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine this year. Education officials should not miss this chance to help children learn to enjoy studying math and science and improve the methodology of teaching the subjects at schools.
 山中伸弥京都大教授のノーベル生理学・医学賞受賞で、科学への関心は高まっている。理数好きの子供を育てる好機を逃さず、学校は授業の充実を図ってほしい。

The TIMSS is conducted every four years by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement. In the latest survey, fourth-graders from 50 countries and territories and eighth-graders (second-year middle school students) from 42 nations and regions participated.
 この調査は、国際教育到達度評価学会が4年に1度行っている。今回、小学校では50、中学校は42の国と地域が参加した。

Japanese students at both grade levels maintained high positions, ranking fifth in math and fourth in science. The average scores of the fourth-graders were more than 10 points higher in both subjects compared to the previous survey.
 日本は小中とも算数・数学が5位、理科が4位と、上位を維持した。小4の平均得点は算数も理科も前回を10点以上も上回った。

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Strength of new curriculums

For science and math classes at primary and middle schools, beefed-up curriculums--compiled in counterreaction to the "cram-free" education policy--were put in place from April 2009, ahead of the full-fledged implementation of new curriculums for all subjects. Under the revised curriculums, not only have the content and number of classes been increased for the two subjects, but more importance is being placed on reviewing what has been learned, as well as experimenting and observing.
 小中学校の理数では、「脱ゆとり」教育を目指した新学習指導要領が09年度から先行実施され、学ぶ内容と授業時間が増加した。授業で反復学習や実験・観察が重視されるようになっている。

These efforts can be given some credit for the Japanese students' improved performance in the latest TIMSS survey.
 取り組みの成果が表れたと、ひとまず評価はできるだろう。

However, the survey's questions on what children thought of science and math found that the ratios of the Japanese primary and middle school participants who said they liked learning the subjects were lower than international averages. The figures for the older student group, in particular, were ominous--39 percent for math and 53 percent for science, both of which are more than 20 points below international averages.
 しかし、同時に行われた意識調査では、理数の勉強が「好き」と答えた子供の割合が小中とも国際平均を下回った。特に中学の調査結果は深刻だ。数学39%、理科53%で、ともに国際平均より20ポイント以上も低かった。

Only 18 percent of the Japanese middle school students said they would like to get a job related to math, while the figure stood only at 20 percent for science.
 「数学や理科を使う職業に就きたい」と答えた中学生も数学で18%、理科で20%しかいない。

We wonder if teachers can help their students take to heart how interesting it is to study science and math, as well as understand how useful the things they are studying will be in the real world.
 理数の面白さや、勉強の内容が実社会でどれだけ役立っているのかを、教師が授業で十分に伝えていないのではないか。

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Troubling teacher turnover

A large number of experienced teachers are now reaching mandatory retirement age, while those educated under the cram-free education policy are entering the profession. It is said that many younger teachers are not accustomed to handling tools for experiments and they lack confidence in teaching science.
 学校現場では、経験豊富なベテラン教師が定年で大量退職する一方、ゆとり教育世代の若手が教壇に立ち始めている。実験器具の取り扱いなどに不慣れで、理科の授業に苦手意識を持つ若手教師も多いと指摘される。

There is an effective program under which the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry dispatches postgraduate students and retired teachers to schools to help with science experiments. The Democratic Party of Japan-led government marked the project to be scrapped during budget screening, but it is reasonable for the ministry to have decided to continue the program for the next school year and beyond.
 実験のサポート役として大学院生や退職した教師を学校に派遣する事業は有効だ。民主党政権は事業仕分けで「廃止」と判定したが、文部科学省が来年度以降の継続を決めたのは妥当と言える。

Teacher-training colleges have to make sure prospective teachers have the skills to teach science and math. Boards of education, which are responsible for training in-service teachers, have the same responsibility.
 養成課程を持つ大学や就職後の研修を担う教育委員会は、教師たちに指導方法をしっかり身につけさせる必要がある。

In recent years, an increasing number of companies have been dispatching their employees to schools to conduct classes for children as part of their social action programs. When company employees and researchers working at the cutting edge of science technology discuss how useful studying science and math is, their words will surely stick in children's minds.
 近年、社会貢献活動の一環として、企業が学校に出前授業を行う例も増えてきた。科学技術の最先端で働く社員や研究者が理数の有用性を語れば、子供たちの心に響くに違いない。

(From The Yomiuri Shimbun, Dec. 20, 2012)
(2012年12月20日01時57分  読売新聞)

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