International Panel: Bridging Policy and PracticeA Focus on Teacher Preparation
Lesson study plays an important role in teacher training. It is executed in three steps; discussion about a lesson plan, observation of an actual classroom teaching, and analytical discussion about the classroom teaching. Lesson study is treated as one of the tools to assess the classroom teaching of a pre-service teacher. In examinations to become a teacher, demonstration of classroom teaching is gradually posed to students. Lesson study is the most popular method for in-service education, especially in elementary school and junior high school. Lesson study is classified into five styles (as shown in Table 1) by focusing on the following two points; scale of lesson study and by whom lesson study is organized. Lesson study of style 1 is called "Konai Kenkyukai" in Japanese. Teachers who work in the school have to attend a lesson study. Some teachers attend all three steps in the process of a lesson study as contributing members. Other teachers observe an actual classroom teaching, and attend an analytical discussion about the classroom teaching.
Lesson study of style 2 is called "Ku-ken" or "Shi-ken" in case of Tokyo or Yokohama in Japanese. Lesson study of style 3 is organized by the board of education that asks teachers to participate in it. Style 4 is organized by the schools attached to university, and style 5 is organized by Japan Society of Mathematical Education (JSME), Society of Elementary Mathematics Education (SEME), and so on. Teachers are not required to attend a lesson study of style 2 through style 5. The aim of lesson study is to let the teacher become an able teacher, however the details of the aim depend on the previous styles. Table 2 shows the main aim of each style of lesson study and methods used to disseminate it.
When we consider "teacher, students, material" as three components of a lesson study, it is expected that teachers will increase the intersection between each of two components as shown in Figure 4 (Ikeda, Tsubota, Ohno and Hashimoto, 2002). Concretely, teachers can learn the following two points by participating a lesson study. First is learning to see the material. Second is learning to see the students. Learning to see the material and learning to see the students are strongly connected. It is important for teachers to connect both of them and discover appropriate methods to meet both of challenges. (1) Points related to seeing the material - Can the teacher identify the essential mathematical points of the materials?
- Does the teacher's opening question deprive students of the opportunity to deeply consider the essential mathematical points?
(2) Points related to seeing the students - Does the teacher recognize what the students do and do not understand?
- Do students understand the meaning of teacher's opening question?
- Does teacher ignore students' ideas for "selfish reasons"?
- Can the teacher accept and evaluate students' ideas appropriately?
(3) Points related to seeing both the material and the students - Can the teacher develop the material by considering both the essential mathematical points and the students' interests?
- Can students make their own problems based on the original problem that the teacher presented at the beginning of the lesson? Further, are these problems concerned with essential mathematical points of the material?
- Can students discover the essential mathematical points through their cooperative discussion? Further, can the teacher represent their ideas about these essential points in a summary of the lesson?
"Annual Lesson Study by the Board of Education in the case of Hiratsuka city, Kanagawa" This sample illustrates Style 3 of Table 1.
A. Who initiates the training? School Curriculum & Guidance Office of Board of Education B. Who or What is reached at what level? In the city (District) C. Who plans the program? This program is implemented once a year, and the schools take turns holding the Lesson Study. Date & Time: Board of Education decides. Place: Board of Education nominates a school in the city. The contents & program: Arranged by the Mathematics teachers who demonstrate the lesson. The theme: The Mathematics section of the HJERC (Hiratsuka city Junior high school Education Research Committee) determines the theme. D. Who funds the training? Funding is usually not required, but if necessary, the training is funded by the nominated school. E. Who participates? Representatives of the mathematics teachers in the city F. Are the participants paid or supported? Supported. G. What is the typical length of the program? It takes about 2 months. H. What is the depth / breadth of coverage topics? It depends on the theme that is determined by the Mathematics Department of HJERC. The theme is strongly concerned with new approaches of the National Curriculum. I. Who guides and advises? Teachers' Consultant, Subject Guidance Teacher of Mathematics and the Principal of the nominated school guide. J. Is any contact maintained between organizers/resource persons and participants after the program? As the school in which the Lesson Study is held alternates, the contact is maintained.
A. Legal place of this program B. What are the reasons for the choice of this sample C. History
A. The Structure of the annual Lesson Study in Hiratsuka B. Planning (Collaborative Work) (a). The decision of the research theme The annual Lesson Study is built around a particular theme. The Mathematics Department of the HJERC, whose members are composed of the chief mathematics teachers in each junior high school, fixes a research theme for the year. The theme is fixed according to new approaches and content that are emphasized in the National Curriculum. <Example of the theme> |