Lesson Study – the best type of CPD you can do in school!

Last week, I joined two colleagues to carry out a Lesson Study looking at Decimal Place Value with Year 7.  The actual resources we used are here, this is just a quick reflection on the process.

There are various ways you can do lesson study, but ours looked like this:

  • 3 consecutive lessons taught to one class by their normal teachers (this happened to be me)
  • 4 reflection / planning sessions: 1 before the lessons, 2 in between and 1 straight after the 3rd lesson. These were about 30 mins each.
  • The 2 other teachers arranged cover for the 3 lessons they missed and they both observed all 3 lessons.
  • Before the 1st lesson, we identified 3 students in the class whom they were to observe closely and have a quick chat with at the end of each lesson.

It was intense, but highly rewarding.  It also had quite a high impact in terms of lessons requiring cover.  I have done lesson studies in other formats before, e.g. over a longer period of time where each teacher teaches the same single lesson to their own class over a number of weeks with the others observing.  My experience was that this was the best for a number of reasons:

  • Seeing a series of lessons is how we actually teach and it is useful to see the learning building from one lesson to the next
  • The observing teachers get to know the students and observe and understand their learning needs
  • There is no such thing as a “perfect way to teach Topic X” as every class is different and so comparing the “same” lesson between different classes is not as instructive as watching the learning develop over a series of lessons.

Of course, another reason this worked so well was my excellent colleagues who had so many interesting things to say about the lesson.  I learned a lot.

I’m sure we have all sat through INSET sessions where you simply feel like you are not likely to use the ideas any time soon in your classroom, because they are generic whole-school sessions. It’s looking like a lot of next year’s twilight INSET time at my current school will be allocated for Lesson Study next year.  I reckon that’s the best CPD you can do.  It’s an effort to set it up, but well worth it.

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