Monday, 5 October 2015

Day 6: World Smile Day - by Brian Schiller

Today is World Smile Day, a day devoted to smiles and kind acts throughout the world. Our experience during the ASTA Science Tour of Japan is that EVERY day in Japan is World Smile Day! The Japanese people have been SO welcoming!

We are inspired to continue the exchange of teaching ideas and their development and application after this wonderful experience ends.  My immediate plans are to stay in Japan for a while and improve my Japanese.

I am excited by the opportunity to help develop an on-line vehicle for Japanese and Aussie kids to share science experiences and plan investigations together, (coming next year).

I’m keen to develop Maiko Ikeuchi’s, Rysosuke Sugiyama’s and my Japanese science readers and continue our Japanese in Science program at Seacliff Primary.  Maybe I’ll take a long-term teaching exchange in Japan in the future.

Thanks Robyn, Vic, Sharra, Penny, ASTA, AJF and the Japanese team for a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
Brian and Vic having a bit of fun in Tokyo

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Day 5: Robot Cabaret - by Sharra Martin

Our plans were disrupted this afternoon by a typhoon which meant we couldn’t go up the Tokyo Sky Tree as planned. We decided to replace that activity with some ‘professional learning’ at a robot cabaret we had heard rumours of. We figured this fitted in well with the science week theme for next year.  

The robot cabaret is a Japanese cabaret show at the Robot Restaurant in Tokyo’s Kabukicho red-light district. The one hour show features fun – and sometimes campy – performances full of flashing lights, taiko drums and techno music.
Robots on stage at the Robot Cabaret
After checking in and selecting a drink, we waited in the lounge until we were escorted to our seats for the evening's entertainment.

We watched in amazement as neon tanks came onstage to battle alongside Godzilla, robots, samurais and ninjas. Dancing girls in colourful outfits joined dinosaurs and pandas on stage against a backdrop of video screens. Flashing lights, accompanied by taiko drums and loud techno-style music, illuminated the performance of massive female robots – truly a spectacle that will stay with me for years to come!
Actors on stage with taiko drums that made for a colourful light display
Mothra attacking King Kong

This was a fantastic end to another amazing day and I can’t imagine how anyone could not enjoy themselves at this venue.

Day 5: Teaching the science of boomerangs to Omika Kita High School students - by Sharra Martin

After watching my colleagues delivered some amazing science lessons, it was finally my turn to teach a class of students. I approached this task with a few nerves as I had seen such great lessons from everyone else, and I was worried that mine would not run as smoothly or that the students would not be as engaged in the activities. Fortunately it all went well and it was an experience that I will never forget.

We arrived at Omiya Kita High School in Saitama  City and were greeted by an enthusiastic principal, Mrs Hosoda Mayumi.  Omiya Kita High School, located 40 minutes away from central Tokyo,  is one of four municipal high schools in Saitama City and sets itself apart from the others by being a Science School. This means that there is an additional science class that students can opt into, giving them the opportunity to further both their understanding and skills in science. Two students from the science class presented investigations that they had undertaken, and it was fabulous to see evidence of investigative skills emerging in these young people.

This school is the equivalent of a senior high school in Australia and teaches students from Year's 10 – 12.  The major difference that I noticed regarding their curriculum structure was that during Year 10 they only studied biology, as it was felt that they did not have the mathematical skills needed for
chemistry and physics until Year 11. There was considerable ICT in use within the classroom,
however, there is limited professional development provided for teachers to train up on how to
maximise ICT. ICT is mainly used as a replacement for a whiteboard or blackboard, rather than to add new aspects to learning and help develop deeper thinking skills.

The classes at Omika Kita High School usually have a class size of 20. This is unique, as we found that most other schools in Japan have a maximum class size of 40. I wondered how such large class sizes would impact students getting individual feedforward and support. If you consider that a standard lesson is approximately 50 minutes in length, by the time you have given instructions, started an activity, and taken into account pack-up and clean-up time you would be left with less than one minute to talk individually with each student.
Sharra interacting with Japanese students at Omika Kita High School
As the students had been taught in English in the past, it was decided that I would try and do my lesson without a translator. At first they were hesitant to interact but slowly they came around,  and started discussing ideas with each other and getting into the activity.  I incorporated literacy-based
activities such as concept stars to help me gain an understanding of their prior knowledge, as well as
giving context to the activity that they completed. My lesson, using boomerangs to explore the principles of lift, angular momentum and torque, was a success. By the end of the lesson there was a variety of different models and some very successful throws.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Day 4: Similarities and differences between Japanese and Australian schools - post by Penny George

As a Deputy Principal in a government high school in Australia, I was very keen to learn about the leadership and management aspects of Japanese government schools.  It seems there are many similarities.  The principals and deputies would love to spend more time on building capacity of staff and leading innovative learning practices but most of their time is devoted to management issues such as administration, building maintenance and day-to-day operations.

One major difference I have discovered is that to secure a promotional position, candidates must pass an exam.  There does not appear to be an interview and application process.

It is also interesting to note that Japanese primary schools have a fully functional science lab for science lessons and  that all teachers are expected to be able to teach the science content.

Both the teachers and leaders in the school were very interested in our pedagogy.  Using inquiry based learning as a basis for developing critical thinking, is one of the major priorities in Australian and Japanese schools, and we were able to demonstrate the process in action.  The Japanese lessons we observed were still very much teacher centred and so our approach generated much discussion. The teachers at the professional learning event also had questions about how to start an inquiry based approach.

One innovation that the Japanese government has implemented to upskill its teachers of science in primary and junior high schools is to introduce a ‘core skills program’, where teachers undertake university certification courses including  science communication, active learning in science and gifted and talented education. They then use these skills to build capacity in staff back at their own schools. There has been a high participation rate in this program, which indicates that Japanese teachers are ready and willing to develop innovative practices in their classrooms.

Day 4: Fake food, temples, bonsai and professional learning - post by Robyn Aitken

Wednesday was a very long and busy day. We started the day off by visiting Kappa bashi, a fascinating suburb of Tokyo with numerous small shops. We went there to visit a shop that makes fake food (that’s right fake not fast). Many restaurants in Japan display fake food in their windows to advertise their dishes. This is also very helpful for those who can’t read Japanese.
Sharra, Robyn and Penny 'enjoying' their food creations

Sharra making fake lettuce
We were shown how to make tempura food (in wax) with instructions so precise that we all quickly became experts in this art and made our own tempura prawns and vegetables. This was all captured on film by an American CBS film crew who were delighted to have some actors.
Penny being interviewed by CBS film crew
After this unique experience, we then managed to fit in a quick trip to Senso-ji temple in Asakusa and grabbed some lunch. Senso-ji temple is Tokyo’s oldest Buddhist temple and a place that draws some 30 million visitors each year. It is a very popular place for both residents and tourists and has a long line of traditional souvenir shops on either side of the road leading up to the temple. The shops sell things like fans, yukata (traditional dressing gowns) as well as food and traditional Japanese toys.

Senso-ji Temple, Asakusa

Senso-ji Temple, Asakusa
Shopping street at Asakusa
The afternoon was spent relaxing and contemplatively viewing bonsai at the Omiya Bonsai Art Museum. We learned about bonki (bonsai pots), suiseki-stones and how to place bonsai in a room as well as the technicalities of bonsai. We also learned how to view bonsai, especially looking up into the tree from below.

I'm sure I will never get my garden to look like this
Vic contemplating the wonders of a bonsai tree
A 1,000 year old bonsai tree
In the evening it was my turn to present professional learning to a group of Japanese teachers at the Saitama Municipal Institution of Education. This was a daunting task as it was the first time ASTA had done this kind of professional learning in Japan.  The room was very formal with translator audio kits for each participant. When I spoke, Keiko our translator spoke. My presentation was on science inquiry and the Australian Curriculum.
Robyn presenting some professional learning to Japanese teachers
at the Saitama Municipal Institution of Education
I looked at the relationship of the other curriculum strands to the science inquiry skills strand and the steps in planning an investigation. After defining the types of inquiry (open, guided and verification), I led the group in conducting their own inquiry to solve a problem set by me (one step before an open inquiry). The problem was to help ‘Jim’ decide what clothes he should wear to a concert if it might rain and he did not have a raincoat. The teachers were initially slow to participate, just the same as teachers in Australia!
Teachers participating in a science inquiry
After some encouragement and hints they really got into it. The Japanese teachers’ explanations for the methods they had devised (which were shared in the follow up discussion) was really interesting; for example looking at which materials the rain would run off the most or which materials would absorb the most rain.

I think that sharing the pedagogy of teaching science inquiry to Japanese teachers was a very worthwhile exercise and I would like to learn more from their perspective. The whole process was made very easy by our interpreter Keiko Tanagawa and Toshiko Yamashita who helped to set things up.

After my presentation, the official dinner with the Sony Science Teachers Association (SSTA) was held at a bar downstairs from where we were staying. It was a chance to share our experiences in Japanese schools and find out what teachers were up to. We are very grateful for SSTA and Sony Education’s support in organising the school visits.
Mr Hikima, President of the Saitama Branch
of the Sony Science Teachers Association at dinner with Robyn

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Day 3: Visiting the Australian Embassy in Tokyo

On Tuesday afternoon our delegation made its way to the Australian Embassy, which is based in Minato-ku, a suburb of Tokyo.

Upon arrival we were greeted by the Australian Ambassador, His Excellency, Mr Bruce Miller, who has been the Australian Ambassador to Japan since 2011.
His Excellency, Mr Bruce Miller, Australian Ambassador to Japan meeting our delegates

After a tour of the embassy, Mr Miller presented our four science teachers with a Certificate of Participation in the 2015 ASTA Science Teachers Exchange to Japan.

H.E, Mr Bruce Miller presenting Penny with her Certificate of Participation
H.E, Mr Bruce Miller presenting Sharra with her Certificate of Participation

H.E., Mr Bruce Miller presenting Brian with his Certificate of Participation

Day 3: Science teaching in Japan - post by Brian Schiller

As teachers in Australia hear regularly from politicians and the media, Japan does extremely well in standardised tests in schools, as do many other Asian countries, whereas Australia doesn’t do as well. Some of the teachers we have spoken to in Japan mentioned that they feel obliged to keep this standard up, and that means a focus upon knowledge-based learning, rather than inquiry-based learning.

Many of the educators or scientists that we have spoken to in Japan expressed a desire to improve the capacity for science inquiry and student-initiated investigations in Japanese schools.
Visiting Sanda Elementary School; with principal, Mr Takahashi
From our conversations with teaching colleagues at schools in Japan, there has recently been a move by the government in this direction. An example of this is the establishment of ‘Super Science Schools’ that are each attached to a university. Two years ago, the Ministry for Education introduced the ‘Science Koshien for Juniors’ competition which focuses upon inquiry. Sony Education Foundation hosts a yearly competition and, as a result, significantly funds two schools per annum, which demonstrates that they support inquiry and student control over learning. 

Mr Takahashi would like students to form their own
ideas and discuss these with peers
One of the specific policy targets of the Japanese government is to have ten Japanese universities to be ranked in the world Top 100 within ten years. Making changes in allowing elementary and high-school students control over their learning and developing their skills in following self-initiated science investigations will surely help achieve this goal.

I am very much aware of the privilege that I have been offered through this Exchange; to learn from the expertise in Japanese schools. I have been absolutely blown away by the level of skill and enthusiasm of the Japanese teachers. The music teacher at Asahigaoka Junior High School, standing at her piano and playing like a concert pianist, singing as competently as any recording artist you have heard, all the while encouraging and directing her large choir in a very personable manner, will always stay in my memory. 

The Japanese and Australian school systems have, surely, so much to share, for the benefit of both systems. The ASTA / AJF teacher exchange program has certainly provided a highly effective platform for this sharing of expertise to take place.

Day 3: Elementary students at Sanda and scientific enquiry - post by Brian Schiller

Tokyo certainly is a friendly city. Incredible friendliness has been evident in all the organisations that we have visited so far. Even on the crowded streets, passers-by sometimes smile or say ‘Konnichi-wa’.I knew that we would be welcomed at Japanese schools with enthusiasm and was keen to learn more from the professionals around me. I was particularly curious to see to what extent Japanese children have control over their learning in science. I wondered whether scientific inquiry is focused upon in the curriculum.

When we entered Sanda Elementary School we were given the same overwhelmingly respectful welcome that we had experienced elsewhere. A special assembly was held in our honour, where the Australian national anthem was played beautifully on the piano and the students sang us the school song in incredible full-voiced unison. I’ve never heard singing like it!

Back home at Seacliff Primary School in South Australia, a wonderful associate of mine, Maiko Ikeuchi, works on a Japanese in Guided Reading / Japanese in Science program that Ryosuke Sugiyama and I initiated a few years ago.

Thanks to Maiko, I was able to deliver the science lesson at Sanda to a sixth grade class mostly in Japanese, (mostly read as I’m not a fluent speaker). The lesson involved working from an investigation question to set up an investigation exercising fair testing, using supplied equipment. I had been told beforehand, by a principal and advisor, that Japanese students in sixth grade would not have a knowledge of variables and wouldn’t have experience in setting up an investigation. As a result, I ensured that my introduction explained some of the basics, to provide a launching pad for students who were unfamiliar with such a process.
Brian all set to deliver a science lesson to 
Year Six students at Sanda Elementary School
As in Penny's class at Asahigaoka Junior High School on Monday, students at Sanda were quick to get their equipment and seemed enthusiastic about the task. Some students set up their investigation quite well, demonstrating application of problem-solving. Some students worked alone, rather than collaborating. There were a couple of groups that sat with a lack of action and didn’t seem to use any process for solving their problem, or show any interest in discussing or trying different alternatives. All of these behaviours occur in Australia as well. Through our interpreter, Keiko, I asked one of these groups some leading questions. Two of the girls then started manipulating the materials in different ways, to problem-solve, and off they went!

Brian teaching Year Six science students a science lesson - all in Japanese
After about ten minutes, most groups appeared totally engaged in their task. I didn’t see much evidence of understanding of fair testing, but there was certainly active and enthusiastic investigation.  
Students participating in a science lesson
Students manipulating the materials in different ways
Unfortunately, we didn’t have time for student discussion at the end. The timetable in Japanese schools is tight and I had to fit the entire lesson, including the gift-giving, into forty-five minutes. I certainly enjoyed the enthusiasm and respect demonstrated by the children during the session. It really was incredible to have the privilege to teach a lesson in a Japanese school.

Monday, 28 September 2015

FAST FACTS: Junior High School in Japan

Junior high schools in Japan teach students from Year 7 to Year 9 who are approximately 12-15 years of age. Teachers generally teach only one of the three grade levels. Thus both students and teachers acquire a sense of community in their grade, and students view themselves as part of a home-room class. The teachers, not the students, move between classrooms. This helps maximize learning time.

During Year 7, students study the properties of substances and their reactions, characteristics and measurement of force, plant and animal ecology, and the solar system. During Year 8, the curriculum covers atoms and molecules and their influence on chemical reactions, electrical circuits, cellular processes and microscopic organisms, and the mechanisms involved in weather changes. By the end of Year 9, students have studied the interrelationship of motion, energy and work, ions and ionic substances, ecology, photosynthesis and big-organic processes, and rock types and geologic formations. Scientific observation, laboratory experiments, and fieldwork are part of the curriculum at all levels.

Information obtained from:

Day 2: Teaching Japanese students the science of boomerang flight - post by Penny George

Today I was fortunate to teach a science lesson to Year 7 students at Asahigaoka Junior High School in Tokyo. The school was very welcoming, the students polite and the food was delicious.

My task was to teach a lesson on the physics of boomerang flight.  This was a challenging activity due to the language barrier - I don’t speak Japanese and the students don’t speak English. However the language of science prevailed and the lesson went very well with all enjoying themselves.

Penny George teaching Year 7 students at Asahigaoka
 Junior High School about the science of boomerang flight
After speaking briefly about the history and design of boomerangs, my challenge to the students was to design, build and flight-test a boomerang using the material provided.  They could choose from cardboard, paper, polystyrene packing pieces, straws, paperclips and balloons.

Year 7 students selecting raw material to make a boomerang

Due to limited time, the boomerangs were tested in the hallway. This made quite a bit of noise, which had teachers coming out of their staff rooms to see what was going on and they eventually joined in the fun.

After testing, the students then had to modify their designs to help increase the distance their boomerangs could fly. This was another activity to which they were unaccustomed but took to with great enthusiasm.  The students were all actively engaged in the design and testing process and relished the opportunity to do something a little different.

After all designs had been modified, the final testing began with great anticipation.  Some of the designs were astounding, with the students getting really creative in the short time we had.  I was able to interact with each group of students via our interpreter and could clarify instructions and answer questions with great ease.  This quickly helped build relationships with the students and they became more at ease with me and starting asking many more questions.

This teaching experience has been one of the highlights of my career.  It really demonstrated to me that all students are keen to learn, irrespective of their nationality and that language and culture differences are of little concern when students are challenged and engaged with their learning.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Day 1: Sight-seeing, sumo wrestlers and sake - post by Vic Dobos

Amidst great anticipation and excitement, the 2015 ASTA delegation to JAPAN had its final pre-brief in the Qantas lounge at Sydney International Airport prior to its 4.30pm scheduled flight to Tokyo via Singapore. As flights go, it was remarkably uneventful with conditions smooth, plenty of onboard entertainment, food and chatty company. Our Boeing 777 tracked over Lake Eyre, Uluru and the Kimberley coast of WA providing us with spectacular views of the salt lakes, the intricate inland drainage networks and the sculptured aeolian landforms. Our connection was made in Singapore without drama and the delegation touched down at Tokyo International airport on time.

Passports - ready, landing cards filled in (correctly and in pen), eyes at camera - done. We finally made it through immigration and were met by the welcome party from Sony Education Foundation.

While in the middle of introducing all parties, we were confronted by six budding student interviewers (5-6 years olds learning English) from the British Cultural Academy. We happily participated in their three question survey, exchanged gifts, talked about Australia and posed for a photo. We have finally arrived in glorious Tokyo!

Vic Dobos, CEO of ASTA participating in a survey conducted
by students from the British Cultural Academy
Next stop, Shinagawa, where we would be based for the week. Shinagawa is a ward (precinct) of Tokyo and is home to nine embassies, a number of large manufacturing companies including Isuzu, and no less than five universities.

We were met by Mr Takanose, the newly appointed Executive Managing Director of the Sony Education Foundation. Packing a great sense of humour and speaking excellent English, I sensed that building this new relationship was going to be very enjoyable.


The next stop was the Edo Tokyo Museum, which was mind blowing! Even in our sleep deprived state, it did not take long for the adrenalin to kick in and we were buzzing. Tokyo was founded 450 years ago in the small harbour village of Edo. The museum depicts a time continuum, and how during the early days the city grew and developed through centuries of change. We got an insight into the life of the warriors (samurai of course), the life of the townspeople (artisans and merchants) commerce and currency (gold, silver and zeni) and life during the four seasons.

Edo Tokyo Museum
A Daimyo residence at Edo Tokyo Museum

The exhibits were incredible. My favourite was the exhibit based on the Kabuki theatre, a classical Japanese dance-drama known for the elaborate make-up worn by some of its performers. This exhibit
contained marvellous sets where models were clad in hand-sewn costumes depicting the "rough style" acting (aragoto) that suited their temperament. Bright colours, superman type characters, lots of makeup and villains made up the central plot of this kind of classical drama where male actors often played both female and male characters.  We regrouped after several hours and agreed that this museum required a return visit.

On venturing beyond the museum, we soon realised that the museum was adjacent to the main sumo wrestling stadium called Ryogoku Kokugikan where the final day of a sumo wresting tournament was being held. We were very fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, because there are only six grand tournaments held in Japan each year. Yes, we did get a glimpse of a sumo wrestler, see the action on the screen and get a whiff of the excitement generated by this sport. Of course the delegation couldn't resist the crazy photo opportunity.

Penny George enjoyed visiting the sumo wrestling stadium
There was no better way to end day one than enjoying Japanese tempura with new friends, a little sake and lots of chatter. A fantastic Japanese welcome. Looking forward to day two.

Dinner Japanese style - Robyn (top right) is sitting next to Mr Takanose
Executive Managing Director for Sony Education Foundation

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Announcing the 2015 ASTA Science Teachers Exchange—JAPAN delegates

ASTA would like to congratulate Brian Schiller, Penny George and Sharra Martin, who will be accompanying ASTA President Robyn Aitken and CEO Vic Dobos on the 2015 Exchange.

Brian Schiller teaches Years 2 and 3 at Seacliff Primary School in SA. He is looking forward to experiencing Japanese culture and observing first-hand how a classroom in Japan operates. "This will surely help to make the 'Japanese in Science' programme that I run at Seacliff Primary more effective,' he said.

Penny George is a Year 7 Biology and Chemistry teacher from Wanniassa School in the ACT. Penny hopes the Exchange will give her "increased global perspective of science teaching in Asia" and that it will "foster a greater connection to my school's Japanese program by [my] being able to provide a first-hand account of the education experience of Japanese students."

Sharra Martin teaches Stage 1 and 2 Physics at the Essington International Senior College in NT, to students ranging from Years 10–12. She believes the Exchange will give her confidence to expand on her current teaching, and is particularly enthusiastic to make contact with Japanese teachers and science professionals. "I believe that meeting with other teachers and being able to collaborate while being immersed in a week-long professional learning experience will mean that I will be able to have deep thoughtful conversations and be able to bounce ideas off people," she said.

You can follow with Brian, Penny and Sharra's experience on this blog or via the twitter hashtag #ASTAJapan

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Successful AJF grant recipients 2015–16

The Australia–Japan Foundation (AJF) has released a full list of successful grant recipients for 2015–2016.

ASTA could not run the Science Teachers Exchange—JAPAN without the invaluable support of the AJF. This support is particularly welcome in light of the new Australian Curriculum: Science's focus on Asia.

ASTA advocates the notion of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) being a highly integrated field, and the important role it plays in Australia's ongoing relationship with our global neighbours in Asia. Innovation is an international event. Observing how STEM is taught in Japan and science's role in Japanese culture and industry is of great benefit to Australian teachers.

ASTA would like to thank the AJF for its continued support of this program. You can see the full list of grant recipients on the Department of Foreign Affairs website.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

ASTA welcomes Japanese teachers

From 10–15 August 2015, the Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA) was honoured to host a delegation of science teachers from Japan, who travelled to Australia as part of the joint Exchange program run by ASTA and the Sony Science Teachers Association (SSTA).

The three teachers, Mr Muira Sinichi, Ms Sanae Kawamata and Mr Kazuhiro Fujiki, were accompanied by Ms Toshiko Yamashita from the SSTA and translator Ms Keiko Toneqawa. Toshiko and Keiko have been involved in past Exchanges, accompanying Japanese delegations and hosting Australian delegations in Japan. ASTA President Robyn Aitken and CEO Vic Dobos were thrilled to see them again, and very pleased to meet the three passionate Japanese science teachers who were eager to share their teaching experience with their Australian counterparts.

From left: Ms Toshiko Yamashita, Mr Muira Sinichi, Ms Keiko Toneqawa, Ms Sanae Kawamata and Mr Kazuhiro Fujiki

One of the primary goals of the Exchange is to promote the sharing of knowledge and ideas between Japanese and Australian science educators. Just as the Australian delegates who visit Japan are able to observe Japanese science lessons and take part in discussions with school teachers and staff, the visiting Japanese delegates also visit schools and meet with teachers in Australia. At each of the schools they visited—St Clare's College in Griffith, ACT, Maribyrnong Primary School in Kaleen, ACT and Redlands in Cremorne, NSW—the visitors observed a teacher providing a science lesson and were given the opportunity to present a guest lesson themselves.

Kazuhiro's guest lesson on rockets was a hit at St Clare's.

Sincere thanks go to the staff at these schools, particularly Janet Worontschak, Leslie Carr and Anne Disney, as well as the science teachers association of ACT (SEA*ACT) for the warm welcome they provided the Japanese Exchange delegates.

At Maribyrnong Primary School, Sanae provided some interactive physics demonstrations.
Muira led a chemistry prac at Redlands.

Interspersed through the school visits were trips to some of ACT's and NSW's stand-out science, cultural and tourism locations including Tidbinbilla Nature Park, Geoscience Australia, CSIRO Discovery Centre, the Power House Museum, the National Maritime Museum and Taronga Zoo.

The delegates got up close to some of our native animals at Taronga Zoo.
A trip through Australian naval history at the National Maritime Museum.

ASTA values its strong, ongoing relationship with the Sony Science Teachers Association. The opportunity for teachers from Australia and Japan to visit one another's countries provides much more than a great tourism experience: it provides valuable insight into different methods of teaching science subjects and provides a stronger foundation for teachers to use when educating students about international understanding and cooperation.

ASTA hopes the SSTA delegates enjoyed and benefited from their time in Australia, and looks forward to sending our Australian teachers to Japan in a few month's time.