Educational Studies in Mathematics

, Volume 60, Issue 2, pp 199–215 | Cite as

Some Characteristics of East Asian Mathematics Classrooms Based on Data from the Timss 1999 Video Study

  • Frederick Koon Shing Leung


In this paper, characteristics of mathematics classrooms in the East Asian countries1 of Hong Kong and Japan are discussed based on an analysis of the data of the TIMSS 1999 Video Study. The data shows that although students in these East Asian countries did not talk a lot in the classroom, they were exposed to more instructional content. The mathematics problems they worked on were set up mainly using mathematical language, and compared with the problems solved by students in other countries, the problems took a longer duration to solve and more proof was involved. According to the judgement of an expert panel on the Hong Kong lessons (Japan did not participate in this part of the study), more advanced contents were covered and the lessons were more coherent. The mathematics presentations were more developed, and the students were more likely to be engaged in the lessons. In sum, the overall quality of the teaching in this East Asian country was judged to be high. The findings show that high quality teaching and learning can take place even in a teacher directed classroom. It is argued that these East Asian classroom practices are deeply rooted in the underlying cultural values of the classroom and the wider society. The paper ends by drawing some implications of the study for the mathematics education community in other cultures.

Key Words

advanced mathematics content culture East Asia mathematical language quality of teaching teacher directed classroom teacher talk video study 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of EducationThe University of Hong KongHong Kong

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