Lesson study is a simple idea: If you want to improve instruction, what could be more obvious than collaborating with fellow teachers to plan instruction and examine its impact on students? In Lesson Study, teachers bring their own questions to the table and seek answers from one another, from outside specialists and research, and from careful study of students.
How It Works
A team engaged in Lesson Study moves through a cycle with four phases:
A team of teachers considers their long-term goals for students and chooses a specific area of instruction they want to improve. Equipped with curiosity, they look beyond their own classrooms to study what other teachers and researchers know about this area of instruction, and bring it back to their own curriculum.
The team focuses in depth on one unit of their curriculum, co-planning one lesson within the unit. The unit and lesson plan bring to life teachers’ vision of high-quality teaching-learning, their insights from the Study phase, and their knowledge about their own students’ thinking.
One teacher brings to life the team’s lesson in the classroom, while other team members carefully observe individual students, taking notes and photos that help them understand the lesson from students’ viewpoints. This is a thrilling moment for every team–seeing how their ideas play out in the real world of the classroom.
Soon after the lesson, teachers meet for a post-lesson discussion. They share data from individual students, building a picture of student learning. As teachers share their observations, they deepen their curiosity about student thinking and reconnect with their passion for learning.
The real “product” of a Lesson Study cycle is much more than just one polished lesson. As a team collaborates to improve instruction, they deepen their knowledge of content and student thinking and their commitment to working together to improve instruction.