School-wide Research Lessons
Time: (2 lessons per team per year; about 2-3 hours per lesson, including pre-lesson and post-lesson discussion). Observing educators need substitute coverage if the lesson is taught during school hours.
Purpose: One team hosts a research lesson, taught in the classroom of a team member. Other colleagues (ideally, the whole faculty of the school or department) observe. The purpose of the research lesson is to bring to life the school’s research theme and theory of action, in a real classroom. During the pre-lesson discussion (about 30 minutes) the team shares what they learned about the specific content, explains the rationale for the lesson and the data to be collected and asks non-team members to read the lesson plan. The post-lesson discussion allows observers to share data from the lesson, discuss implications for the school’s theory of action, and (often) to hear an outside commentator.
Scheduling Strategies: Teachers observing the research lesson need coverage of their classes. Some schools arrange a special school project (e.g., school mural, garden, drama) that is managed largely by outside specialists and volunteers, and provides a valuable educational experience for students. Some schools ask the class participating in the research lesson to remain after school (often on an early-release day) or to attend school for part of a professional learning day. Some schools have only half of the faculty attend each research lesson. As the account from Paterson School #2 highlights, some schools are able to designate a second educator to be familiar with each class.
As School-wide Lesson Study builds over several years within a school and educators begin to see its value, scheduling often becomes easier. So the crucial work of the initial years of School-wide Lesson Study is to build a process that teachers find valuable and to find a schedule that works for now, as teachers are starting to learn about school-wide Lesson Study.