Working together to improve teaching & learning
Leagan Gaeilge

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.

*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.

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.