Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Lesson Study with CCSS-M

During this summer, I became very excited in finding and understanding more about the best teaching practice in math through some Japanese scholars' work and some resources.  Their pedagogy, methodologies, and strategies have contributed to the extraordinary academic achievement on Japanese students for several decades.  I believed that we could adopt these strategies into the U.S. education and I have been trying to make it happen in my own classroom.  Now some of the resources like Global Education Resources and Lesson Study Project will encourage and support my daily teaching practices in the real classroom.  When we are able to do Lesson Study  in our own schools or districts, teachers' quality and students' achievement will significantly grow without a doubt.  Yes, I am hopeful. 

On the other hand, there are some challenges I still have to solve.  First, Collaboration is one of the things we are urged to improve on.  Because the lesson study is exclusively unknown to most teachers, it is hard for them to imagine what it is like.  In order to encourage as many teachers (hopefully every teacher in the same building) to participate in the study group, the explicit examples such as video clips and worksheets should be shared.  In addition, the systematic Professional Development plan is required.  Unlike the current scheduling system in which a principal is in charge, classroom teachers must voice the significance in the lesson study and initiate the year long plan including teachers assignments, dates, etc.  Second, the classroom management including students' behavior is the serious problem in millions of classrooms across the country.  If you have one or two (or more!) disruptive students, you would be reluctant to open your classroom.  Although it is understandable, why don't you think this way?  In the lesson study, would it be possible for several teachers who are observing your class to support you regarding the discipline issue?  In addition to the subject study, you can develop individual behavior plan with your teammates.  The school wide discipline plan would be a tremendous help in these issues.  Perhaps, your team's lesson study can focus on the classroom management itself in some cases.

If we continue making excuses, the gap will continue growing among teachers, among students, among buildings, among districts, among states, and among countries.  We must take advantage of the Common Core State Standards.  Developing our common knowledge together and creating effective lessons that help students' learning are essential in upcoming school year.  Check out Elaboration of Georgia Performance Standards: Mathematics for further ideas.