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Professional Development ›› Lesson Study

Lesson Study 2017-2018

Thank you to all our maths teachers who have signed up to participate in Lesson Study this year. The interest has been overwhelming. As many of the first Lesson-Study regional meeting have now taken place we have closed the application process. If you have any queries about this or are interested in getting involved in future Lesson Studies please get in touch.

What is Lesson Study?

Lesson Study is a form of professional development based around teachers collaborating to design a research lesson. The Maths Development Team are using Lesson Study to support teachers in adopting structured problem solving in their teaching of mathematics. Lesson Study is recognised internationally as being the most-effective form of professional development in changing classroom practices. Teaching through structured problem solving  is widely acknowledged to develop students ability to think mathematically and to solve problems.

If I get involved what will I have to do?

A full Lesson-Study cycle involves five meetings outside of school time and one inside school time. In some schools, management allow teachers to utilise some of their Croke-Park hours for the meetings which happen outside of school time (this is a matter for discussion between teachers and their schools). Supervision and Substitution are provided for the meeting which occurs within school time. This meeting is to allow the lesson designed through Lesson Study to be taught to students and observed by the research group.

Usually each meeting lasts between 2 and 2.5 hours. During these meetings the research group identify a topic of mathematics which students struggle with and design a single lesson around this which will improve students’ conceptual understanding. While on the face of it designing a single lesson appears to be a simple task, the Lesson-Study process asks teachers to consider and discuss a number of aspects of teaching and learning pertaining to the lesson. These include:

  • How the lesson will meet the School Self Evaluation standards currently being worked on by their school
  • How the lesson will meet the expectations of the new Junior Cycle framework (including key skills and statements of learning)
  • Why the identified topic is proving so difficult for students
  • What approaches are currently used across the school in teaching the topic
  • What prior knowledge students have before studying this topic
  • Where this topic is needed by students in their future learning of mathematics
  • How the lesson fits into a larger unit of work

The depth of this process provides some clue as to why Lesson Study is so effective in changing classroom practice. While teachers work on designing a single lesson, the deep discussion they have with their colleagues has a hugely positive impact on their teaching as a whole.