thinking aloud

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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Posted on November 8, 2009. Filed under: thinking aloud | Tags: , |

For a long time my husband has wanted me to start blogging about all the educational ideas roaming my head.  My husband is not an educator, and I am sure he is quite ready for me to take all the school talk elsewhere. So this blog is, first and foremost, relief for him.  Secondly, it is a learning log, a place for me to roam around in my thoughts, and if others jump in I am happy to listen. Finally, it is a place to consider the possibilities of how to build a small revolution, a revolution that will finally bring learning and classrooms into the 21st century and away from the factory model of the 20th century.

Now, I cannot possibly use the word revolution so lightly without explaining myself.  I think education is ready for a revolution, but  I am not a proponent, like some close friends, of allowing the system to collapse and then starting over.  That is not my thinking. Nor do I think the government is the answer; I do not hope for some golden standard to be issued from on high and passed down to all. Instead, I support the rumbly kind of revolution, where teachers, parents, students, and school leaders bubble up to challenge the most protected elements of status quo, where people “on the ground” create quiet but fundamental changes, where those in the day-to-day experience of education adjust little things, easy things, things that connect to all the other things, and all those bubbling, quiet, fundamental changes lead to a whole new landscape, seemingly over night. Yes, that is the kind of revolution that currently interests me.

Of course, I did call this a learning log.  My mind could be changed.  Isn’t that the definition of learning?

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