Monday, February 13, 2006
Viewing and Listening for Change through Lesson Study
I'm a seasoned staff developer with over twenty years of experience.
One thing I have learned outside the classroom that I apply in-house is when I want to learn a skill, I find a great model! I learned golf recently, and I have the beginnings of a good game because I chose a great model to learn from...and this theory lives in the client engagements that make up my consulting practice with schools.To accomplish this, I use a modified approach to the Japanese framework for teaching math, called, "Lesson Study".
The model consists of three parts: Planning a Lesson, Conducting a Lesson, Debriefing the Lesson. If you are a staff developer, it is a tool that you can easily incorporate into your repertoire for results. Viewing and Listening to an accomplished teacher is a powerful way for professionals to take on a new initiative. But simply modeling is not enough. The Planning and Reflecting that is part of the Lesson Study, makes for lasting change.Whenever I use Lesson Study, and I have used it in HS classrooms in Houston and Kindergarten Classrooms in New Jersey, two very different places...it is always successful! Teachers like the active nature of planning a lesson, then watching me demo, then watching the kids try the skill being taugh, and the debriefing for next steps.
The following Framework may be useful to create a "soft version' of this Japanese PD approach:
Conducting Lesson Study 1. Choose a Skill to Teach ---With the teaching community who will be viewing the lesson, choose a very narrow skill to present! It's important that teachers have ownership here...Yet, you want to guide and facilitate so that the topic isn't too big...That results in YOU falling flat on your face in front of the group, so--shape the teachers' view. You will be on stage and you want the lesson tight!
2.Prepare the Group--Spend at least twenty minutes prior to the lesson talking about the skill, how it has been taught ,and the difference in the lesson for the study. Ask the teachers questions about the kids so you can connect to the learners in quick time.
3. Prepare a Handout --- Focus the feedback with something like this:What is the Topic of the Study?What do you Hope to see from the Lesson?What did you Observe the Students Doing?What does the Data( the work completed) Suggest?What are your next Teaching Steps?
4. Conduct the Lesson with High Energy--These are not your students, so get them comfortable quickly! Use humor and some strategies to connect you and help you manage the room of new learners...Have kids wear name tags! Ask for eye contact and quiet as you work. Try to have the kids focus on you, and not on the adults in the room.When students work on the skill you have demonstrated, teachers can mingle in the room and even talk to students. Teachers can collecting thinking data to see how the kids are processing the task!
5. Debrief--Review the lesson after the classroom time. Use the framework to facilitate and spend at least about 30 minutes with your group. Spend time talking about what the children did.( I have plenty of funny stories about what I did teaching a roomful of strangers, but save that for later!) Look at the student work as your precious data you are mining. It is just that!
6. Next Steps--Close with the discussion of how each teacher might tweak the lesson in his or her room. If the group can meet again, have teachers bring data from their own lesson, thus creating a real Lesson Study community: Teachers learning from each other!
Accountable Listening in Classroom Mini-lessons