Cultivating Student-Teachers’ Problem-Solving Abilities by Promoting Utilization of Various Ways of Thinking through E-Learning and E-Portfolio Systems

Toshiki Matsuda (Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan)
Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 463
EISBN13: 9781466617315|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-0068-3.ch016
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This chapter presents a teacher training program that promotes the use of various views and ways of thinking in each subject area (e.g., analogy and quantify in mathematics, and 5W1H in Japanese language courses) to cultivate problem-solving abilities. Although these views and ways of thinking are currently objectives in the Japanese National Course of Studies, teachers have not been instructed on how to teach them. The program was part of the Exercise of Integrated Learning, which is a compulsory course according to the Japanese national standards for teacher preparation programs. The course consisted of five three-hour lessons devoted to practice. Two additional sessions, each seven and a half hours long, were conducted with presentations on problem-solving exercises and a workshop on lesson plan revisions, respectively. The content of each practice lesson focused on one of the two following goals: (1) providing experience with problem-solving-related learning and (2) ensuring that teachers are able to create lesson plans for this type of learning activity. The program proposed in this chapter falls into the former category. In the program, students received homework assignments on the e-learning system after each lesson. In these e-learning materials, they practiced applying what they had learned during the lessons, such as problem-solving methodologies and views and ways of thinking in various subject areas. After the five practice lessons, there was a two-week gap before students gave presentations during a presentation session. The learners completed problem-solving exercises using the e-portfolio system the team developed. This e-portfolio system allowed learners to conduct collaborative problem-solving exercises while utilizing the aforementioned views and ways of thinking. Furthermore, learners automatically shared their performance records and outcomes after completing the tasks, and they were able to perform self-evaluations by following a rubric. Finally, the teacher analyzed the effectiveness of the course and revised the program.
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