Sony Science Teachers Association (SSTA)
The Sony Science Teachers Association (SSTA) is currently working with approximately 2,000 primary and secondary school teachers on research projects dedicated to the theme of "fostering children with enquiring attitudes and an appreciation for the sciences."
The research is implemented in a framework consisting of 1) leadership-fostering workshops, 2) theme-development workshops and 3) local-chapter workshops.
Management of SSTA
The Executive Board of Director’s Meeting and Court of Directors (National Branch Manager’s Meeting) review and decide on SSTA’s overall activity policies as well as the directional output of workshops proposed by the SSTA Research and Training Planning Committee. Each Meeting consists of teachers who were selected from members, and are independently run.
A noteworthy characteristic of the Sony Science Teachers Association is that members participate on a wholly voluntary basis and all activities are conducted by this voluntary membership.
Aims of the Leadership-Fostering Workshop
The main goal of this workshop is to nurture individuals that will become the leading force in science education in Japan. The workshop gathers together 40 teachers it believes have the requisite leadership qualities from around Japan.
Workshop members form groups based on common research interests. Individual group members are assigned clearly defined research topics and use the study sessions to explore and gain a better understanding of their subject.
The principle qualifications required of researchers are a readiness to accept new challenges, the ability to use study sessions to achieve tangible results and knowing how to share information over the Internet.
The leadership-fostering workshop is valued for its ability to put forward proposals for challenging new study programs and develop refreshing new approaches to the research.
Training Course in Blocks
The Training Course in Blocks is held in 4 blocks throughout Japan intended for mid-level teachers from each branch. It aims to nurture coalition and vitalization through information-sharing between branches within the blocks. The Branch Administrators’ Meeting is held at the same time, where upcoming plans for activities will be discussed.
Young Teacher Training Program
Launched in 2004, the Young Teacher Training Program, is a workshop created for the purpose of offering training to teaching personnel with between two and five years experience who have the potential to become leaders in the science education tomorrow.
The young teachers attending the workshop focus on developing the fundamentals for structuring science classes through creating their own drafts for class instruction models and holding experimental class sessions. The workshop is taught by senior teaching staff from the SSTA, including those who have participated in the leadership-fostering workshops.
The local-chapter workshops serve as the underlying foundation on which the Sony Science Teachers Association is built. The various activities planned and carried out by local chapters give the group its cohesiveness and help to bond team members together.
Another aim of maintaining a program of regular workshops is to develop "teachers with a profound appreciation of science."