Lesson Study

Posted on December 6, 2009. Filed under: leadership related, thinking aloud | Tags: , , , |

Last week my district reserved time for grade 2-6 teachers to meet for a half day lesson study on each campus.  For most campuses that meant the teachers met and went over their textbooks together.  For my staff that meant we picked and unpacked a math lesson, one teacher performed the lesson while others observed students, and then we debriefed what we learned from our experience.  I found it to be exhilarating to work with my teachers in such an intense endeavor (the time constraints forced greater intensity than my prior lesson study experiences).

Having read about, studied, experienced, and watched lesson study over the years, it was a curious experience to be the leader in charge of it.  First of all, “leader in charge of it” is entirely counter to the notions that I have always understood about lesson study. In true lesson study, my teachers should be driving.  They should choose the course, pick the speed, turn the wheel, everything.  But because there was a limited window of opportunity, I took the helm and scaffolded lesson study to the best of my ability.  My hope would be that the experience would spark a fire of desire in at least a grade level or two of my teachers.  After all, once it got rolling, attentive folks could see that although I was driving the vehicle, they were, in fact, choosing the destination.  Teacher-participants could realize I was just giving them a taste of what was possible within the spirit of teacher inquiry.

Working with students in classrooms, we do not simply drop inquiry into student laps.  We mold it, hone it, offer it in bites until students are ready to go the distance, until they demand autonomy and know how to use it effectively…correct?  I hope I achieved the same with my teachers. As a teacher, I loved how lesson study provided us with the framework for our own investigation of learning.  My fingers are crossed that some small contingent of my teachers comes away excited enough to demand more.

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