New Perspectives in Science Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Improving Science Education by Introducing “Core Science Teachers” to Local Cities in Japan

Yasushi Ogura, Saitama University (Japan)


A large proportion of Japanese teachers feels difficulty in teaching science in various reasons. Elementary teachers may lack fundamental knowledge and skills to teach science in explorative approach. Lower-secondary teachers may lack scientific knowledge of particular contents, skills to use new tools to teach, pedagogical knowledge of teaching and learning, etc.

Situation of teachers is very busy. Few in-service training for effective science teaching is available for individual teachers every year.

Saitama University established the “Core Science Teacher Training Program” in 2012 in collaboration with Saitama City and Saitama Prefectural government. The purpose of the program is to train skillful science teachers and certify them as “Core Science Teacher (CST)” in order to increase formal and informal quality in-service training opportunities for general teachers in the local area. They are regular teachers, but are supposed to function as an adviser or a model teacher of science teaching in the area.

The training program for the CSTs consists of five domains: I. Emerging science, II. Effective science experiments, III. Effective science teaching, IV. Developing science talents, V. Communicating science. Intensive training programs have been organized by the university and the educational boards.

By the end of 2015 fiscal year, 34 teachers have been certified as the CSTs. About the half belongs to Saitama City. In fiscal year 2015, total of 3800 teachers participated in formal in-service training where the CSTs taught science lessons. They give also informal training sessions mainly in their schools.

The result of 2015 national curriculum test of 9th grade science showed apparent improvement in Saitama City students compared to the result of 2012. CSTs can be thought as an important factor influencing the improvement. But the result of Saitama Prefecture did not show such progress. The difference between these approaches was compared and the conditions need for improving science education at a local area were suggested.


[1] Martin, M. O., Mullis, I. V. S., Foy, P., & Hooper, M. (2016). TIMSS 2015 International Results in Science. Retrieved from Boston College, TIMSS & PIRLS International Study Center: 
[2] OECD (2016), PISA 2015 Results (Volume I): Excellence and Equity in Education, PISA, OECD Publishing, Paris.:
[3] NIER (2016). Report of 2016 National Assessment of Academic Abilities (in Japanese): 
[4] MEXT (2008). Courses of Study – for Elementary and Lower-secondary school (in Japanese): 
[5] JST (2008). Results of Survey on Elementary School Science Teaching. (in Japanese): 
[6] JST (2008). Results of Survey on Lower-Secondary School Science Teaching. (in Japanese): 
[7] JST (2009). Core Science Teacher program (in Japanese): 
[8] Saitama University (2016). Report of FY2015 CST Training Program (in Japanese):

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