I read the book The Teaching Gap by James W. Stigler. I enjoyed reading this book, for the most part, and would recommend it to others to read. The Teaching Gap is a book that describes the similarities and differences between the United States, Japan, and Germany's school systems. Topics include the layout of the classroom, teaching strategies, and professional development that each have. The book starts by talking about a video study that was done to compare all three and uses the results from the study to describe the major differences between them.
Chapters in the book are as follows:
1. The Teaching Gap
2. Methods for Studying Teaching in Germany, Japan, and the United States
3. Images of Teaching
4. Refining the Images
5. Teaching is a System
6. Teaching is a Cultural Activity
7. Beyond Reform: Japan’s Approach to the Improvement of Classroom Teaching
8. Setting the Stage for Continuous Improvement
9. The Steady Work of Improving Teaching
10. The True Profession of Teaching
What I found so interesting about this book is that while I was reading it, I found that a lot of the drawbacks the United States schools show is what I have been learning how to improve on in my education classes. When we compare the United States and Japan in this book, it looks as if we are just spoon feeding our students the answers and hope they can repeat a process we teach them. In Japan, students “struggle” a little before being shown how to do something and can develop their own thinking behind the mathematics.
I did enjoy this book. The only reason I say most of the time is because there are clearly parts that are said to insult American teachers and I wanted to through my book across the room. However, the information is relevant and could be used today and I would recommend that others, especially teachers, should read this book.