# A Procedural Focus and a Relationship Focus to Algebra: How U.S. Teachers and Japanese Teachers Treat Systems of Equations

• Margaret Smith
Chapter
Part of the Advances in Mathematics Education book series (AME)

## Abstract

This chapter explores two contrasting ways of presenting algebra by looking at key differences across the presentation of simultaneous equations to students in eighth-grade. The examples are from a qualitative analysis of the 1995 TIMSS Video Study data including eighth-grade mathematics instruction in Japan and the United States covering topics on simultaneous equations. The U.S. lesson example shows a procedural approach to this topic, where students focus on getting answers through a series of routine steps. In contrast, the Japanese lesson highlights a strong focus on building generalized solution methods and understanding relationships represented in systems of equations. A discussion of key differences as they relate to important ideas in understanding algebra compared to how it was treated in the classrooms follows the examples.

## Keywords

Classroom Instruction Simultaneous Equation Equal Sign American Educational Research Association Video Study
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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