Lesson Study is a form of professional development based around teachers collaborating to design a research lesson. The Post-Primary Maths Team PDST 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:
The depth of this process provides some insight 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 around teaching mathematics makes for incredibly rich professional development which focuses on classroom practice.