Studies show that the way to go to implementing effective and sustainable educational reform will be through an inquiry-type professional development program and while the teachers are in action. One of these professional development models that has proven effective in Japan and is now being implemented and widely used in many countries is Lesson Study. It is also one of the identified factors for Japan’s high achievement in TIMSS.
Lesson Study engages teachers in creative and collaborative work in developing and researching a lesson through a “design-tryout-reflect-revise” cycle until it reaches a form to which they believe would be exemplary to them and to other teachers. It assumes that by investigating the teaching and learning process in the context of designing and implementing a lesson, it could provide teachers with experiences that has the potential to deepen their content knowledge and their knowledge about how students learn concepts and skills, develop teachers skills in designing and facilitating lessons, and most importantly develop the skills, habit and confidence in investigating their own lessons.
In the Philippines, the first Lesson Study project was implemented in 2006 by UP NISMED with selected mathematics classes. The project was called Collaborative Lesson Research and Development (CLRD) to give emphasis on the collaborative nature of designing and researching the lesson, something that is not yet a popular practice among teachers in our country. The objectives of the project were 1) to equip teachers with skills in designing mathematics lessons that engage student in mathematical thinking processes; 2) to enhance teachers’ knowledge of content and pedagogy as they study how their students think, learn, and reason; 3) to develop a lesson study model that is adaptable to Philippines classroom realities directly affecting teaching and learning of mathematics which include among others large class sizes, inadequate content and pedagogical content knowledge of teachers and insufficient materials and resources; and, 4) to gain insights about how teachers implement reform-based teaching strategies in their classes. The unique feature of this lesson study project in the Philippines is the focus on developing teachers capacity in designing lesson and teaching mathematics through problem solving, something that is also not yet a common practice of teaching mathematics in our classes.
The first step in doing lesson study is to articulate the goals for doing the lesson study. Click the link to read how I facilitated a group of teachers to identify their goals. It was their first time to do a lesson study. I reported the result of this study in the post Lesson Study for Teaching through problem solving.