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Lesson Study


By Lynn Liptak, Paterson School #2, New Jersey. Professional Development. 6 ... Sydney J. Harris 'Before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Lesson Study

Lesson Study
A systematic inquiry into teaching practice
(No Transcript)
What do you know about Lesson Study?
  • Take two minutes to record what you know (or
    think you know) about Lesson Study.
  • Then take a few minutes to talk with your table

Lesson Study an Introduction
From teaching as telling to teaching for
Lesson study is an ongoing practice used in
schools throughout Japan in which teachers
collaborate to plan, observe, and refine a
lesson. The cycles of lesson study form the core
of teachers professional development, and it is
cited by both researchers and teachers as one of
the key reasons for Japanese students high
achievement in mathematics and science.
Lesson Study involves backward design which
starts with the clarification of the goal or
endpoint of the learning process and then the
design of instructional experiences that lead to
the goal. During the lesson design phase
teachers try to anticipate how students will
interpret the subject matter, what kinds of
difficulties they may experience and what kinds
of experiences are likely to support their
  • The pervasive concern with student learning
    throughout lesson study distinguishes it from
    other types of teaching improvement activities.
    In lesson study, teachers
  • base the lesson design on their ideas about how
    students learn
  • observe student learning when the lesson is
  • analyze observations of student learning after
    the lesson is taught, and
  • use information about student learning to
    revise the lesson.

Lesson Study is not the same as
Lesson Planning Curriculum Writing Coaching/Mentor
ing Demonstration Lessons Basic Research
  • Lesson study is not a vehicle for creating a
    library of tried-and-tested lessons for teachers
    to borrow from a shelf and import into their own
    classrooms. It is a process for creating deep and
    grounded reflection about the complex activities
    of teaching that can then be shared and discussed
    with other members of the profession.
  • Clea Fernandez and Sonal Chokshi, Columbia

Teachers Activities to Improve InstructionU.S.
vs. Japan
Professional Development
  • Begins with answer
  • Driven by expert
  • Communication
  • trainer teachers
  • Relationships hierarchical
  • Research informs practice
  • Begins with question
  • Driven by participants
  • Communication among teachers
  • Relationship reciprocal
  • Practice is research

By Lynn Liptak, Paterson School 2, New Jersey
The Lesson Study Process Adapted from the Spokane
School District
  • Defining the goal

The lesson study process is guided by a broad,
school wide goal identified by the teachers. The
goal often comes from looking at assessment data
or defining qualities they want students to
For example, Students will think
mathematically Students will enjoy
science Students will become independent
Choosing a Lesson Study Theme
  • Think about the students you serve.
  • Your Ideals
  • What qualities would you like these students to
    have 5 years from now?
  • The Actual
  • List their qualities now.
  • The Gap
  • Compare the ideal and the actual. What are the
    gaps that you would most like to work on?
  • The Research Theme (long-term goal)
  • State positively the ideal student qualities
    you choose to work on. For example
  • Fundamental academic skills that will
    ensure students
  • progress and a rich sense of human
  • Your research theme

  • Focusing the Lesson

A grade level team of science teachers works
cooperatively on the design and development of
the lesson. They begin by looking at a whole unit
or sub-section of a unit and then narrow their
focus to a specific cluster of lessons addressing
a specific learning target. A specific lesson is
then identified from the cluster as the research
lesson that will be studied, and the key
concepts for the lesson are described.
  • Planning the Lesson

The teachers research the topic of the study,
reading books and articles about the problem they
are working on. They review and discuss the
nature of the concept to be learned by the
students, and examine any research related to
teaching the concepts that might be available,
such as misconceptions research that addresses
the difficulties students have in learning this
particular idea.
  • Planning the Lesson (cont.)

They then come to consensus about what approach
to use based on their own experiences or based on
approaches they have read about or seen other
teachers use successfully. It is important to
keep in mind during the planning process that
their purpose is to design and develop a lesson
that enables all students in their classes to
successfully attain the intended learning goal.
They also keep in mind that they are
researchers and are studying the effectiveness
with which the lesson approach they have designed
is in having students attain the intended
learning goal.
How is lesson study different from the planning
that my colleagues and I already do? While
planning units and activities is part of lesson
study, it is only one aspect of the process. It
also encompasses observing teachers and students,
testing new ideas, discussing beliefs about
learning and reflecting on specific episodes of
teaching. Lesson study enables teachers to learn
from their practice and to share professional
Do Lesson Study groups have to invent a new
  • Whenever possible, groups should build on the
    best available lessons rather than writing a
    lesson from scratch.
  • A library of lessons is a by-product of Lesson
    Study not the goal.

Just checking to see if youre still with me
  • Teaching the Lesson

Teachers from the team present the lesson in
their classrooms. The other teachers may observe
the lesson closely, taking notes on what the
teacher and the students are doing and noting
evidence of their thinking. The lesson may be
documented through video, photographs and student
Can You Lift 100 Kilograms video segment
  • Discussion questions
  • What did you see in this video that might have
    implications for your own lesson
  • How does the planning for a research lesson
    differ from how you normally plan a lesson?
  • How do you judge what your students are getting
    out of your lesson?
  • Do you ever have the opportunity to debrief a
    lesson with your colleagues?

What questions will the teacher ask? A research
lesson does not have to include a formal script
of everything the teachers will do and say.
However, planning the lesson is an opportunity to
develop higher order questions that require
students to think and to explain what they know.
What is the role of the observers?
During a research lesson, each team member has a
data collection assignment. For example, to
document how a particular student or group's
thinking about pendulums changed over the course
of the lesson what experiences provoked or
blocked change. Data is also gathered on student
motivation, persistence, and students treatment
of one another.
Sample Data Collected During a Research Lesson
  • Academic Learning
  • How did images of heated air change?
  • Did students shift from simple counting to more
    flexible method?
  • Did dramatic role-play spark higher quality and
    quantity of writing?
  • In their journals, what did students write as
    their learnings?
  • Motivation
  • Percent of children who raised hands
  • Body language, aha comments, shining eyes
  • Social Behavior
  • How many times do students refer to and build on
    classmates comments?
  • How often do the five quietist students speak up?
  • Are students friendly and respectful?
  • Student Attitudes Toward Lesson
  • What did you like and dislike about the lesson?

  • Reflecting and Evaluating

The group meets outside of school to discuss the
lesson and their observations of each others
lessons. This is an engaging interaction of ideas
and suggestions, with the focus always on the
  • Revising the Lesson

Based on the problems and student
misunderstandings identified in the first
presentation, the study group modifies the
lesson. The group may meet several times to
improve the lesson and prepare to teach it again,
though sometimes the teachers decide not to
re-teach it.
How Many Seats video segments
We have a long skinny room and triangle tables
that we need to arrange in a row with their edges
touching, as shown. Assuming each side can hold
one seat, how many seats will 1 table, 2 tables,
3 tables hold? Is there a pattern that helps you
figure out how many seats 10 tables will hold?
  • How Many Seats video
  • Discussion Questions
  • How did the lesson study process look different
    from the first video?
  • What types of learning opportunities did the
    teachers have? (formula vs. equation,
    effectiveness of worksheet, only as good as our
  • What are the implications for how you plan
    lessons and teach lessons?

How will we know if the lesson is successful? As
the research lesson takes shape, an important
consideration will be defining evidence of
student understanding. This will help to improve
the observation data, and it is a check that the
task is a good match for the lesson goals. While
the model used in Japan and the experiences of US
lesson study teams provide some guidance, there
is no formula to follow. Teachers learn how to do
lesson study by doing lesson study. In addition
to reflecting on what they have learned about
their students and their work, teachers need to
also reflect on the practice of lesson study
itself. This will help teams identify ways to
maintain and enhance their work.
  • Teaching the Revised Lesson

The lesson is presented again to a different
group of students.
  • Sharing Results

Teachers share the lessons they develop through
this process, creating a collection of
well-crafted lessons to draw upon. The teachers
will often publish a report about their study,
including the teachers reflections and a summary
of group discussions.
  • Research best practices
  • Develop Student Learning Goals
  • Form a Team

Lesson Study Cycle
  • Plan the Research Lesson
  • Teach the Lesson
  • Teach the revised lesson
  • Gather Evidence of Student Learning

Share results!
  • Revise the Lesson
  • Analyze Evidence of Student Learning
  • Reflect and Evaluate

Lesson Study Provides Opportunities to
  • Think deeply about long-term goals for students
  • Carefully consider the goals of a particular
    content area, unit, and lesson
  • Study the best available lessons
  • Plan lessons that bring to life both short-term
    and long-term goals
  • Increase knowledge of subject matter
  • Deepen pedagogical content knowledge
  • Develop the eyes to see students
  • See lessons from the students point of view.

What immediate results can we expect from Lesson
Study? One of the key components of developing a
successful lesson study program is adopting a
long-term perspective. Realistically, lesson
study teams are not likely to create overnight
improvements in student test scores. Identifying
and celebratiing small changes, such as more
substantial collaboration among teachers or more
effective use of specific teacher strategies,
will help lesson study teams to maintain their
Whats a successful research lesson? Its not so
much what happens in the research lesson itself
that makes it successful or unsuccessful. It is
what you learned working with your colleagues on
the way there. - A Japanese teacher
Japanese teachers say that the most powerful
part of lesson study is that you develop the
vision to see children. So youre watching how
children are learning, and learning to see things
that you didnt see before their thinking and
their reactions. - Catherine Lewis
What Next? Suggested Steps
  • Form a Team
  • Groups of three to six people from the same
    discipline form a team anyone interested, even
    if the person doesnt teach the course.

Documenting progress Who will be on your team?
Record each participants name, department, and
e-mail. Briefly describe the course, its place
in the curriculum, and the student population.
  • Develop Student Learning Goals
  • Team members discuss what they would like
    students to learn as a result of the lesson.
  • The learning goal is the backbone of a lesson
    and provides the reason for teaching and
    observing it.

Documenting progress What topic will your
lesson focus on? Why did you choose this
topic? What specific learning goals will the
lesson address? Write these in terms of what
students will know and be able to do as a result
of the lesson. What long-term qualities will the
lesson support? These are abilities, skills,
dispositions, inclinations, sensibilities,
values, etc. that you would like students to
develop in your program.
  • Plan the Research Lesson
  • Teachers design a lesson to achieve the
    learning goals, anticipating how students will

Documenting progress What are the steps of the
lesson? Include descriptions of main activities,
prompts, and estimated times for each part of the
lesson. In what ways was the lesson designed to
help students achieve the learning goal? Predict
how students will respond to the lesson
  • Figure out logistics
  • Decide when to meet to plan, teach and observe
    the lesson.

Documenting progress When will the lesson be
planned and taught? Who will teach the lesson and
who will observe? Will more than one teacher be
teaching the research lesson to different groups
of students? Are there any outside observers you
would like to invite to the research lesson?
When will you schedule debriefings?
  • Gather Evidence of Student Learning
  • One team member teaches the lesson while others
    observe, collecting evidence of student learning.

Documenting progress What kinds of evidence
will be collected (e.g., student work and
performance related to the learning goal)? What
aspects of teacher and student activity should
observers focus on?
  • Analyze Evidence of Student Learning
  • The team discusses the results and assesses
    progress made toward learning goals.

Documenting progress Summarize the evidence,
identifying major patterns and tendencies in
student performance. Describe major findings and
conclusions about what, how and why students met
or did not meet learning goals. Discuss any
interesting or unexpected results.
  • Revise the Process
  • The group revises the lesson, repeating steps
    2-5 as necessary, and shares findings.
  • Documenting progress
  • As you repeat the lesson study process, describe
    changes in the lesson and the results of your
  • how you changed your goals
  • how you redesigned the lesson
  • what additional evidence you collected
  • what your new findings and conclusions are for
    the revised lesson.
  • Post changes to each step as Comments to your
    previous log entries.

  • Repeat the Process
  • Lesson study involves a second research cycle
    in which the group revises and tests the lesson
    once again. At least one external observer
    attends the lesson and participates in the
    subsequent debriefing session.

Lesson Study Resources
  • Lesson Study A Handbook of Teacher-Led
    Instructional Change Catherine Lewis (2002)
  • Teacher to Teacher Reshaping Instruction Through
    Lesson Study Jan Gahala, Ruth OBrien and Linda
    Schuch, Eds. (2002)
  • Lesson Study Teachers Learning Together,
    Northwest Teacher, Spring 2001
  • The Lesson Study Research Group at Teachers
    College/Columbia University in New York
  • Global Education Resources www.globaledresources.
  • Lesson Study for College Teachers
  • http//www.uwlax.edu/sotl/lsp/index2.htm

(No Transcript)
  • Seeing something once is more important than
    discussing it one hundred times.
  • - Confucius
  • The illiterate of the 21st century will not be
    those who cannot read and write, but those who
    cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.
  • Alvin Toffler
  • It is not the answer that enlightens, but the
  • Eugene Ionesco Decouvertes, 1969
  • Successful teachers are effective in spite of
    the psychological theories they suffer under.
  • Educational Proverb

  • You cannot teach a man anything you can only
    help him find it within himself.
  • Galileo Galilei
  • When I hear somebody sigh, Life is Hard, I am
    always tempted to ask, Compared to what?
  • Sydney J. Harris
  • Before you criticize someone, you should walk a
    mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticize
    them, youre a mile away and you have their
  • - Jack Handey
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