Choosing the Role of Facilitator
Decide whether your team will have a designated facilitator or rotate the facilitator role among team members.
Some Lesson Study teams have a single designated facilitator, often someone who brings particular content expertise, such as a math or literacy coach. A designated facilitator can become a very helpful “go to” person for materials, information, and problem solving, helping the group make steady progress.
Some Lesson Study teams rotate facilitation among team members. Teams that do this often report that it strengthens the shared sense of responsibility for the work and builds the leadership skills of all team members.
If your team uses rotating facilitation, make sure you plan in advance how content expertise will be integrated at each phase of the Lesson Study cycle. For example, get recommendations in advance about content documents (such as state frameworks) that will provide a solid overview of the subject area, as well as readings and video specific to the topic you plan to study. Arrange for an outside coach or specialist to provide feedback at key points, such as when you choose the topic, complete a lesson plan draft, and teach the research lesson.
If you have a number of Lesson Study teams at your school and limited access to specialists, you may want to intersperse some school-wide meetings with Lesson Study team meetings. For example, you may want to study content frameworks and research during school-wide meetings, working with a specialist; at Lesson Study team meetings, grade-level groups (with rotating facilitation by team members) can draw out the implications for their own unit and lesson planning.
Facilitation: The Long-term View
A designated facilitator who is knowledgeable about Lesson Study and content resources can get your work off to a strong start. Likewise, your team can get a strong start by using a Cycle Course with integrated content resources. Over the long term, to sustain Lesson Study and strengthen team members’ leadership, it makes sense to build rotating facilitation by team members, and to cultivate relationships with outside specialists who can recommend high-quality content resources.
“A good facilitator makes sure everyone feels valued and heard, and lets conversations flow around the key questions and task of the Lesson Study, bringing it back only when it strays too far afield.” – Rebecca Pittard, Volusia County, Florida