On Tuesday 14th August, 2007, David flew to Thailand to participate in the APEC (Asia - Pacific Economic Cooperation) Symposium on Lesson Study at Khon Kaen University. Lesson Study is a technique developed in Japan for designing, observing and analysing lessons which encourage student participation to develop ideas. The current symposium is a stage in the long-term project to raise standards in APEC communities and was attended by invited experts who spoke about the overall idea of mathematical thinking together with individuals from many APEC economies, reporting their progress including videos of lessons. It presented a huge spectrum of development from Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei,Vietnam, the Philippines, Indonesia, Chile, and elsewhere.

Welcome! from Dr Alan Ginsberg, Lead Shepherd of the APEC Human Resources Development Working Group, who recommends the development of a wiki on the web allowing international coperation. This is followed by plenary presentations by Shizumi Shimizu and Masami Isoda:

David Tall, Chung Chor [Litwin] Cheng (Hong Kong) and Francisco Cerda Bonomo (Chile).

Abraham Arcavi (Israel), Max Stephens (Australia); Francisco greets Kaye Stacey (Australia).

Abraham comes to have a chat.

Marsigit (Indonesia), Lim Chap Sam (Malaysia)

Kazuyoshi Okubo (Japan) & Soledad Ulep (Phillipines).

Tran Vui (Vietnam), Ui Hook Cheach (Malaysia).

In the afternoon we saw two demonstration lessons, starting with a 2nd grade lesson on place value by Takeo Seiyama in Japanese translated into Thai for the children by Maitree Inprasitha.

The second lesson for 5th grade taught byYasuhiro Hosomizu, encouraged the children to organise themselves in 4 groups in numerical order successively, one per group, to build up number patterns. The video above shows the class in the vast Mongkut Ballroom with the conference participants sitting round the class and 300 local teachers in the audience at the back of the hall.

Throughout each day, coffee and cakes were brought round regularly to the participants, so that the organisers could keep the participants in place for four hours at a time without a break!

A splendid dinner in the evening, with Thai music and dancing. Kaye Stacey, David Tall, Abraham Arcavi.

Alan Ginsburg, Fou-Lai Lin, Alan Bishop.

Learning to dance, Thai style.

The second day starts at 8.30 am with Alan Bishop giving a stirring talk on teachers’ mathematical values with a particular focus on the difference between approaches in various communities round the Pacific.

Peter Gould reports on Lesson Study in Australia with a video of a lesson focusing on children estimating three eighths of a length of string revealing range of meaning from fraction as partition to fraction as quantity.

There followed further presentations from Madihah Khalid (Brunei), Francisco Cerda Bonomo (Chile) reporting their experiences with lesson study. Here is a view of Francisco speaking from the perspective of the teachers at the back of the ballroom, with their own overhead screen on the left.

Kaye Stacey gives a keynote on teachers` mathematical thinking and the reality of control of the flow of ideas in a problem-solving lesson.

This is followed by three more reports, (Litwin) Cheng Chun Chor (Hong Kong), Marsigit (Indonesia) [above] and Kazuyoshi Okubo (Japan).

No peace for the wicked! Even after a long day from 8.30 am to 5 pm, the ‘experts’ have another two hour session in four groups, each analysing a different lesson study video for inclusion in the wiki on the internet.

Another banquet follows, this time Vietnamese food in a nearby hotel. We return at 10pm with instructions to prepare video comments as homework ...

Day 3 starts at 8.30 am with a plenary from Abraham Arcavi on mathematical thinking in classrooms.

There follows another sequence of presentations of videos from lessons, Lim Chap Sam (Malaysia), Soledad A. Ulep (Philippines) [above] and Yeap Ban Har (Singapore), reveal a range of different styles.

Fou-lai Lin gives a plenary, reporting a lesson with grade 7 children developing a visual proof of Pythagoras.

Four more reports follow, by Ronél Paulsen (South Africa), Patsy Wang-Iverson (USA), Tran Vui (Vietnam) and Maitree Inprasitha (Thailand) [above].
Again, the working groups work on until 7.40 pm.

Sunday was to start late at 10am to allow Thai participants to vote, but the cunning Japanese organisers started again at 8.30 am for us visitors. After a discussion on the future development on the wiki, Akihiko Takahashi gave a keynote on developing mathematical thinking through problem-solving.

The final keynote by David Tall set Lesson Study within a long-term framework. The video above shows the introduction and presentation given to all main speakers.

One of two group photos for the main participants ...

... taken by an army of photographers...

Pass your mouse over the above picture to see the names...

On Monday morning we get up at 6.30 am for a visit over the border to Laos.

This is where the Thai go to gamble ...

We visit Chao Mae Lak Muang, a temple highly revered by Laotians and Thais, at Wat Sri Muang.

Inside is the golden buddha.

Fou-Lai Lin and our Lao tourist guide stand by a huge display of oil paintings.

It is HOT! and I survive only by support of the many accompanying Thai students.

The coach drives to the Patuxay Monument in Vientiane.

The Patuxay Monument was built to celebrate independence from the French in the 1960s, designed something like the Paris Arc de Triomphe.

We have a splendid Lao meal. Wee Tiong photographs an interesting dish that seems to be some kind of fruit.

It is actually a sweet delicacy, where every piece has the same delicious taste, made from soy bean curd.

Back over the Mekong River to Thailand.

Fou-Lai is stopped at the border as he has used up his single-entry visa to Thailand on his trip to Laos and must pay for a second one.

Back in Khon Kaen we have a final celebratory dinner.


On Monday morning I gave an invited lecture at Khon Kaen University for graduate students and participants at the conference, starting with a brief meeting with Masami Isoda and Maitree Inprasitha:

After the lecture, the final group photo with students and visitors before flying back home later in the day.