## Introducing Lesson Study

Lesson Study (LS) is an approach for improving student learning through collaborative development of lesssons. The basic method centres on a group of teachers working together to identify a learning challenge faced by students which they then work on to improve the teaching and learning in that area.

In the diagram to the left, the main steps of LS are outlined:

1. The teachers discuss students' learning and identify an area of learning difficulty. This might be content based, such as translating between fractions, percentage and decimals in maths, or may focus on a skill, such as utilising understanding in one context within a different or new context.

2. Having chosen a focus, the group plan a lesson which focuses on tackling the learning challenge. The planning should consider the elements of the lesson in detail, and should focus on the learning of the students. At any given moment,

In the diagram to the left, the main steps of LS are outlined:

1. The teachers discuss students' learning and identify an area of learning difficulty. This might be content based, such as translating between fractions, percentage and decimals in maths, or may focus on a skill, such as utilising understanding in one context within a different or new context.

2. Having chosen a focus, the group plan a lesson which focuses on tackling the learning challenge. The planning should consider the elements of the lesson in detail, and should focus on the learning of the students. At any given moment,

what are the students doing? What signs of learning will we be looking for? This leads almost naturally to a level of 'rehearsing' what will be happening in the classroom as the lesson unfolds. A useful addition to the process at this stage is to chose three or four students who are good 'archetypes' of groups of students within the class, becoming the students to be observed during the lesson. Notes can be written as to the expected reactions of these students at any point on the lesson plan.

3. Once the lesson has been planned, it is then taught by one of the teachers in the group, who follows the lesson plan as agreed. The other teachers in the group observe the lesson. Crucially, they do not observe the teacher, but the students they have identified during the planning phase. They note down the reactions and evidence for learning from these students as they work through the lesson. One crucial element in lesson study is that the focus is on the learning of students, NOT on assessing the teacher. If possible, it is useful to video the lesson so that the recording can be used in the lesson evaluation later.

4. Once the lesson has ended, the team come together to evaluate the learning in the lesson. It can be tempting to focus on the teacher and 'how the lesson went' generalisations. The initial focus should be on evidence for learning, using the observations made during the lesson, and perhaps using other evidence such as student exercise books and student interviews if there has been time to conduct them. The evaluation should consider evidence that the intended learning did indeed occur, and should consider how the activities used aided the learning. Where the evaluation shows that certain elements of the lesson did not work well, consideration should be given to amending the lesson.

5. If the lesson has been amended, then the final element of an LS cycle would be to teach the same lesson to another group, with new students being considered in the planning to act as the focus for observation. The original cycle from 3 onwards is then copied again, and the insights from the amended lesson added to those from the original lesson to further the understanding of the learning challenge.

3. Once the lesson has been planned, it is then taught by one of the teachers in the group, who follows the lesson plan as agreed. The other teachers in the group observe the lesson. Crucially, they do not observe the teacher, but the students they have identified during the planning phase. They note down the reactions and evidence for learning from these students as they work through the lesson. One crucial element in lesson study is that the focus is on the learning of students, NOT on assessing the teacher. If possible, it is useful to video the lesson so that the recording can be used in the lesson evaluation later.

4. Once the lesson has ended, the team come together to evaluate the learning in the lesson. It can be tempting to focus on the teacher and 'how the lesson went' generalisations. The initial focus should be on evidence for learning, using the observations made during the lesson, and perhaps using other evidence such as student exercise books and student interviews if there has been time to conduct them. The evaluation should consider evidence that the intended learning did indeed occur, and should consider how the activities used aided the learning. Where the evaluation shows that certain elements of the lesson did not work well, consideration should be given to amending the lesson.

5. If the lesson has been amended, then the final element of an LS cycle would be to teach the same lesson to another group, with new students being considered in the planning to act as the focus for observation. The original cycle from 3 onwards is then copied again, and the insights from the amended lesson added to those from the original lesson to further the understanding of the learning challenge.