Recently, I have been thinking about how I might support my colleagues with their professional development needs, specifically those involving the integration of technology in the classroom. Although I have researched it a bit over the years, Lesson Study
is not a professional development technique that I have mastered. In the past, I just haven’t had the opportunity to convene a lesson study group. This year, however, I will explore this professional development model with some of my colleagues.
To refresh my memory of the ins-and-outs of Lesson Study, I visited a site authored by a research group at Columbia University Teachers College. It describes Lesson Study as a technique often used by teachers in Japan to develop and refine high-quality lessons. Essentially, teachers work collaboratively to plan a lesson. Then, one of the teachers teaches the lesson while others in the group observe. The group convenes to reflect on the lesson and, many times, it is refined and taught again by a different teacher in the group. This process can go on until the lesson is “perfected”. While the process may seem tedious to some, it helps teachers develop lessons using best practices and uncovers characteristics of a well-planned lesson that can be transferred to other instructional areas. This process helps teachers to plan, collaborate, and reflect as they hone their teaching skills and deliver lessons that will benefit all learners.
For some schools the formal lesson-study process may not be possible, but by learning more about the process and using resources such as the site referenced above, school leaders can develop a plan that works best for their situation. I hope to use the process to help my teachers develop and refine technology-based lessons. I will gladly share my experiences a few months down the road. Feel free to share your experiences, as well!