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LESSON STUDY

Let's know more about the lesson study and share how fruitfull it is. It is a type of collaborative CPD that will be great for all subjects inthe school curriculum that we want to enhance. Lesson study provides an effective evaluative mechanism for taking on new approaches to the curriculum or teaching resources or teaching strategies.

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Lesson Study: Enhancing

Lesson Study: Enhancing Mathematics Teaching and Learning

 

 

CASE STUDy 1:

 

Lesson Study at Grouville Primary School, Jersey

 

This is a large two-form entry primary school outside St Helier, with a popular and thriving

Nursery and Reception. We have well-qualified keen staff and most classes have access to classroom assistants, many of whom are trained teachers.

When I became mathematics coordinator at the school, it was clear that we were not making as much progress in mathematics as might be expected and, with some trepidation and in-service support, as a group of staff we took the plunge and decided to use the MEP primary resources and teaching strategies to improve our mathematical attainment. This course is based on the

Hungarian approach to teaching mathematics and provides a strong foundation in mathematics for children with really high expectations of what can be achieved. To help teaching staff (and that is essentially all our teachers as each one teaches their class) there are detailed lesson plans that can be adapted to suit our classes but we were under no illusions that this would be an easy option for many of our staff.

As well as having the detailed lesson plans and the teaching strategies well explained, the key to what has been a really successful implementation strategy has been the use of lesson study to both help us as professionals to share good practice and for the groups of teachers to share their concerns and find solutions appropriate to us.

We initially organised ourselves into four groups, each of four teachers, and included the Nursery and Reception teachers, with each group having a mix of teachers across the years. This has proved to be a valuable model to enhance our mathematics teaching. We are probably fortunate in that we do have a number of staff with a high mathematical understanding as well as being competent teachers and they have played an important role in the process, so much so that when we changed the groups round, they were the key members of each group.

Our initial concern about implementing the strategies required for MEP has transformed into excitement about what we are doing as a school. Staff now want to discuss mathematics teaching and more complex problems, both in mathematics and pedagogy, are a focus for such positive discussion. We are now nearing the end of the first year of our implementation and we have no doubts that we have already enhanced the mathematical progress of our children (and they are enjoying and responding to this new highly interactive style of teaching). So much so that we are ready to show teachers in other schools on the island and to encourage them to use lesson study if they go ahead with implementing MEP. A number of our teachers will be delighted to help our

neighbouring schools by taking on the role of the outside expert teacher.

We are also convinced that this type of collaborative CPD will be great for other subjects in the school curriculum that we want to enhance. Lesson study provides an effective evaluative mechanism for taking on new approaches to the curriculum or teaching resources or teaching strategies.

 

Rachel Smith,

Mathematics Coordinator

 

 

 

CASE STUDY 2:

Lesson Study at Princethorpe College, Rugby

 

As a new Head of Department, I found myself inheriting a group of very talented mathematicians who had perhaps lost a bit of their focus and who taught maths the way they always had without really thinking about different approaches.

Although each member of the department went on an external INSET course last year, they didn’t really help as they weren’t applicable to Princethorpe College and more time was spent travelling than training. The lesson study model for CPD appeared to redress this balance.

We split into groups of four staff and we are teaching one ourselves and observing the other three in this academic year. As HoD I went first at teaching. It was obvious from the first two minutes of the first planning session just how much of a positive impact this was going to have. Immediately we started talking about how to teach sequences to Year 7 there were comments such as ‘I had never thought of that but what a good idea’, ‘If you were to do that but do it this way...’. We

realised that although we talk about school policies, strategies, and pupils we had never really sat and talked about our teaching. It was very refreshing and stimulating to talk about our passion rather than other things associated with it.

The observations are useful as they allow you to watch different delivery methods and different styles from which you can take any points that you think may improve your teaching and adopt them. More than this, being in colleagues’ classrooms has brought a much more team feeling to the dept, we know more about each other as teachers. It has been wonderful for struggling colleagues, say with discipline, to be able to watch and be watched without it being specifically as a measure to help them improve their discipline. Also part-time members of the department take an equal part in this so they have also felt much more involved.

The lesson reviews went very well and were very positive. Any criticisms were at the lesson plan, not the teaching, and so were acceptable to all. Again a lot of discussion was stimulated and sharing of good practice was apparent. The amazing thing to me was colleagues who had been quite sceptical were volunteering to go next and suggesting focuses for their lessons – e.g.

‘Could we plan a lesson to help me try different styles of questioning?’.

It has without doubt brought us closer as a department. Already our teaching methods are improving as we share good practices. People are more willing to share experiences as well now and in the staff room it is not unusual to discuss how one colleague has used something suggested at a planning meeting in another lesson with success.

SMT are very impressed with how this is going and consequently have been very supportive. I have twice given presentations on this method of CPD, to a HoD meeting and a full staff meeting respectively. Other departments are now taking up this method of CPD. I am even taking it further and myself and the maths teachers at our associated junior school are going to plan observe and review each other as well.

The Head would also say that the money saved by not going on external INSET is a big advantage as well!!

 

Mike Conroy-Hargreaves, Head of Mathematics

 

 

CASE STUDY 3:

Lesson Study at Roseland Community School, Cornwall

 

This is a small 11–16 community school in a rural location with a good record in GCSE mathematics. I have been teaching now for ten years and have taught in seven schools, as a normal teacher in a department. It was very clear to me that all teachers, especially, mathematics teachers, tended to work on their own.

When I became HoD at a previous school, I tried with varied success to get the staff to work together, working in pairs, working on projects or even spending time on discussions on how you teach certain areas e.g. solving equations. This was on my own initiative with no external help and no guidance. It was hard and had only limited success.

When I joined the Roseland the department was used to spending one hour a week together; previously this had been used for basic paperwork, and also an attempt had been made at some joint practice. On discussion with individuals concerned it had mixed success, not everyone felt involved. Through my previous experiences I know how difficult it is but as a Pathfinder school, I no longer felt on my own trying to make it up as I went along. I now have others to turn to, to email with questions, and someone who is an expert in this field and knows what people have tried and who can guide me and the department; there is someone outside the department with an external view.

The advice I was given was to get everyone involved. So now no one is left out and we all feel involved and have input. It’s a simple device really: we all agree to teach the lesson we plan (so everyone necessarily feels they have to input) and then once we have agreed on the lesson, throw a dice to see who teaches it. The initial planning with no one knowing who will teach it and the random throwing and thus random choice of deliverer of the lesson works like a dream to get everyone involved and I would never have thought of it in a million years.

The observation sheets allow us to effectively see an overview of the lesson and the feedback session where the person observed speaks first and all have input, is covering a range of pedagogical areas that will improve the teaching of all us in the department and to be honest it is already.

The model has legs! So far, the comments have been so positive; for example, from the NQT

‘Doesn’t every mathematics department do this? It’s so good.’; the experienced teacher has said how fully involved she feels and how this is inspiring her; the Assistant Head has said that doing the planning sessions when he can is the most enjoyment he gets – just talking about teaching and how to do it. Everyone involved wants it to carry on, since we all know it’s the most effective and enjoyable way to improve our practice, and make it specific to our needs.

 

Sean Walker, Head of Mathematics

 

 

 

CASE STUDY 4:

 

Lesson Study at Bishop Luffa CE School, Chichester

 

This school is a successful, oversubscribed voluntary aided Church of England mixed comprehensive school of 1392 pupils.

 

The Mathematics Faculty is well regarded in the area for both its outstanding examination results and its innovative approach to teaching and learning. It consists of ten full time specialist teachers with varying backgrounds and different levels of experience. It is led by the Head of Faculty and the Faculty Coach.

Over the past 12 years, our Faculty has been involved in various forms of collaborative practice and has a culture of working together on ‘good lessons that work’. During the last five years, the

Faculty had been working with the Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching (CIMT) as one of their ‘Pathfinder Schools’. The Pathfinder schools project was intended to be a test bed for a new collaborative practice model for CPD in which teachers continually worked together to improve their understanding of effective teaching and learning. It involved meeting together regularly to observe, analyze, discuss and reflect on each other’s mathematics lessons in a spirit of cooperation and mutual support. Although our head teacher was supportive of the concept, he was unwilling for us to be released from our normal timetables so the meetings initially took place after normal hours.

Likewise we were unable to physically watch lessons through timetabling constraints but we were offered the help of Mike Hindle from CIMT who not only advised us on our teaching and learning approaches but also agreed to film the lessons. Initially, the department was totally against the idea as they felt they were already incredibly busy but they agreed to meet Mike who explained that this was not another top down initiative but a chance for the department to shape their own

CPD programme to match their own needs. He described this as a ‘bottom up’ approach where everyone is seen to be of equal importance and everyone has something to offer the others.

For this project, the Faculty divided into two teams; one led by me as Head of the Faculty and the other by the Faculty Coach.

Our initial focus was on the technical aspects of our teaching such as the balance of teacher/pupil talk. In particular, were we asking the right sort of questions to provoke in depth discussion between the pupils? Were we then giving the pupils adequate time to discuss these questions?

Were we giving them enough time to explain their thinking to the rest of the group? We soon

realised that we needed to plan jointly the lesson with this in mind rather than use ‘ordinary’ lessons and so we began to move towards lesson study. At this point we didn’t really understand the rationale underpinning Japanese lesson study and were still concentrating on teaching techniques rather than focusing on an overarching aim for pupil change. Our understanding of lesson study at this point was simply one of sharing good practice.

We tried to complete a cycle every four weeks but, after one term of frenetic activity, we realised this was impossible to sustain. Nevertheless we all learned a great deal from each other and everyone

enjoyed the experience with meetings often going on for two to three hours, simply because no

one wanted them to end. In the second term we tried to complete a cycle every half term but, eventually, as we began to understand more about the lesson study, even this was too many.

Things really started changing when I joined Mike and 12 other teachers on a trip to Japan to see lesson study in action. We visited three different schools and in each were allowed to observe both the actual lesson and the debriefing session. Imagine our surprise when, as well as us, over

50 teachers packed into the classroom to watch the first lesson. It was simply awesome and left us all wanting to know more about lesson study and what we had actually been privileged to see.

I had read ‘The Teaching Gap’ (reference (4)

) and so was aware of the importance of cultural scripts in teaching but I still was overwhelmed by how different Japanese lessons were to my own. On our return, Mike and I made our mission to find out as much as we could about lesson study. Many of our findings are included in this report.

The first change at school was to explain the logic behind having an overarching aim for our students and convincing my team that we actually needed one if we were to move on to the next level of lesson study. After a whole faculty discussion, we initially settled for ‘Our students should enjoy learning mathematics.’ From this moment on, all of our planning centred on two questions.

‘What do I want to my students to learn from the lesson?’ and ‘How do I make this learning enjoyable?’ This meant that in each cycle, not only did we focus on the mathematics involved and improving our teaching skills but we began to think more about seeing the lesson through the students’ eyes.

Without doubt over the next two years all of us improved as teachers and our students’ attitude towards mathematics changed so much that not only have our results improved significantly but the number wanting to study A level in the sixth form has risen from an average of 30 per year to over 90 last year. There have been other consequences; the head teacher has become much more supportive and we now have curriculum time allocated for lesson study; the rest of the

school have become interested and three other faculties now use lesson study as their preferred method of delivering CPD; gradually lesson study is beginning to spread across West Sussex as members of my team frequently visit other schools in the area to spread the word and this has led to various members of my team gaining posts of responsibility in other schools.

Although over this period of time there have been several changes of personnel, the leadership of the faculty has remained unchanged and has the trust of the other members. The structure of the two lesson study teams has changed over the last three years due to timetabling constraints but the leadership has remained constant.

In the last academic year we revisited our overarching aim*. We have also begun to base our teaching on the Japanese model of structured problem solving that so impressed me on my visit to Japan**. Each of our groups now completes two cycles per year.

Over this period of time, all of us in the Mathematics Faculty have been reinvigorated and our enjoyment of teaching has grown tremendously. Without doubt, we all feel that lesson study has been the catalyst for this growth.

 

Derek Robinson, Head of Mathematics

 

bikino's picture
bikino
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This is great, Thank you so

This is great, Thank you so much Anaclet for sharing with your peers. Keep it up and invite your colleagues to join.  

MANISHIMWE SOLANGE's picture
MANISHIMWE SOLANGE
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thx Anaclet!

thx Anaclet!

habumukizajeandedieu's picture
habumukizajeandedieu
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Big flowers Anaclet !

Big flowers Anaclet !

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Amazing Anaclet .

Amazing Anaclet .