Lawrence School & Japan: Learning from Each Other

Lawrence School & Japan: Learning from Each Other

Visitors from Japan’s National Center for Teachers’ Development

Last Tuesday, Lawrence hosted 14 elementary and middle school teachers from Japan in a visit sponsored by their National Center for Teachers’ Development.  The teachers visited classrooms in small groups and met with a panel of Lawrence teachers.  Their questions of us focused on three areas: how we promote social-emotional learning, how we address bullying, and how we provide support to students with special needs.  We described our inclusive approach to special education and shared resources from Responsive Classroom (for K-5 social-emotional learning), Developmental Designs and Health (for grades 6-8), and Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.

According to a brochure describing the National Center for Teachers’ Development, their purpose is “to act as a national center for core training to improve the essential capacity of people involved in school education….By nurturing community leaders, who in turn can provide training in their communities, NCTD is working to enhance the essential capacities of Japanese instructors nationwide and to instill them with enthusiasm for their work.”    Not unlike the language found in the Public Schools of Brookline’s goal “Every Educator Growing Professionally: Foster dynamic professional learning communities that encourage inquiry, reflection, collaboration, and innovation, and use data to improve teaching, advance student learning, and refine the programs and practices of the Public Schools of Brookline.”

It was a privilege and a pleasure to host this visiting delegation of teachers and to learn how Japan nurtures their teachers’ ongoing development.

SET-J:  Lawrence Teachers Visit Japan

Since 2002, Lawrence has been sending teachers to Japan through our SET-J program.   Each year, a teacher spends 10 days in Japan observing Japanese schools and experiencing Japanese culture firsthand.  Former Lawrence families who have returned to Japan host part of the visit and a highlight is always a dinner of Lawrence alumni.

Last June, second grade teachers Keryn Gannon and Maggie Russell were able to travel to Japan together – Keryn through the SET-J program and Maggie with the support of a grant from the Brookline Education Foundation. You can check out highlights of their trip on their blogs: and They will give a presentation about their trip during Community Meeting on Friday, November 6.

This Year’s SET-J Teacher

Congratulations to Literacy Specialist Terry Jewell who has been selected as this year’s SET-J teacher.  She will travel to Japan in June 2016.

We are fortunate to have these exchange opportunities. They promote our continued growth as educators and expand and deepen our understanding. In the words of author Miriam Beard, “Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”

Rick Rogers

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