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Roles of the moderator and the final commentator in Lesson Study

Lesson Study, originating in Japan, has been implemented in many different countries as an approach to improve teaching and learning. But some mechanisms of Lesson Study are not fully understood. In particular, researchers and educators trying to imp
by

Akihiko Takahashi

on 29 July 2014

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Transcript of Roles of the moderator and the final commentator in Lesson Study

Roles of the moderator and the final commentator in Lesson Study
Lesson Study Cycle
Reflection
Developing Lesson Plan
Research Theme
Post-Lesson
Discussion
Mathematics teaching that helps students explain their ideas to each other and learn from each other—learning through problem solving
Research Steering Comittee
Knowledgeable Other
Decide on the topic of the research lesson and who will teach the lesson. Develop a rough idea of a lesson plan and conduct kyozaikenkyu related to the topic.
Three weeks before the research lesson: The first lesson-planning meeting is held to discuss the rough draft to check for consistency with other grade groups’ approaches.
Develop the first draft of the lesson plan based on the discussion at the first meeting.
Two weeks before the research lesson: The second lesson-planning meeting is held to discuss the lesson plan and the team’s focus strategies.Update the draft lesson plan and the focus strategies.
One week before the research lesson: Finalize the lesson plan and send it to the invited final commentator of the research lesson (the knowledgeable other) via express mail, including a handwritten letter by the teacher who will teach the lesson.
Print the lesson plan.
Share the tasks needed to prepare for the research lesson, including the preparation of materials such as manipulatives, posters, and worksheets.
On the day of the research lesson: Conduct the research lesson and the post-lesson discussion.
Knowledgeable Other
The RSC assigned to their colleagues the following four points of focus for their observations during the lesson:
1)Ways to organize board writing
2)Effective key questions
3)Effective ways to develop ideas based on students’ reactions
4)Ways to support students in developing the ability to explain their ideas and approaches
Research Steering Comittee
Lesson Plan
Research Lesson
Active Chair Person

Structure of the post-lesson discussion

1. Report what each participant observed in order to diced key issues to discuss
2. Interpret the observed facts to identify the gap between what the expected and what actually the students accomplished
3. Identify rooms to improve the lesson plan in two ways; one is to improve the lesson plan, and another is to improve the students learning in the class and the flooding lessons.
An example of Type A final comments (lesson plan followed by specific events)
An example of Type B final comments (chronological order of events)
Time allocation of final comments, Type A (42 min 17 sec)
Introduction1 min 45 sec (4.2%)
Summary of COS and COS teaching guide5 min 10 sec (2.2%)
Issues around teaching and learning of the topic in general (using the textbook that the school uses)3 min (7.1%)
About the lesson plan11min 5 sec (26.2%)
About the research lesson21min 17 sec (50.3%)
Time allocation of final comments, Type B(43 min)
Introduction 1 min 20 sec (3.1%)
Summary of COS and COS teaching guide 4 min 10 sec (9.7%)A
bout the topic (connection to the other grades) 7 min 25 sec (17.6%)
Issues around teaching and learning of the topic in general15 min 10 sec (35.3%)
About the research lesson 14min 45 sec (34.3%)
Final comments should:
a) Include concrete evidence from the lesson relevant for assessing the progress of the school toward its the research theme
b) Include observations from the lesson that may help the faculty find solutions for school’s issues
c) Suggest a direction for pursuing the research theme
d) Provide a professional viewpoint and opinions about the school research and the research lessons
e) Highlight the joy of collaborative study and of making the school a place for the faculty to work together on the research theme; and
f) Suggest concrete ideas for improving everyday lessons.

Criteria for effective final comments:
a) Comments should be made around actual events from the research lesson and address issues of teaching and learning using these events as examples.
b) The knowledgeable other should study and understand the school’s research theme and the lesson planning team’s ideas before observing the research lesson in order to have final comments fitting to the school’s and the faculty’s needs.
c) Comments should include ideas and concrete examples to help the school and the teachers improve teaching and learning and advance the school research.

To be able to provide such final comments requires extensive knowledge, experience, and skill, comprising at least the following:
a) Specialized knowledge of teaching mathematics:
broad knowledge of mathematics related to the contents of the grades
understanding of the goals and the contents of mathematics education including a clear understanding of the entire structure of the subject
b) Ability to collect, evaluate, and use observational data:
ability to judge if the teacher’s questions address the goals of the lesson, if students’ work helps them progress toward the goals of the lesson, and if the teacher provides students the opportunity to learn from each other.
Ability to select suitable observational data and use it effectively for the final comments.
c) Ability to assess student learning using knowledge about students’ development of mathematics, characteristics of student thinking at the particular developmental stage, and expectations of the curriculum.
d) Ability to provide concrete examples of effective teaching practices as alternatives to improve the lesson.
e) Ability to communicate with classroom teachers by
knowing the audience and adjusting the talk depending, for example, on the participants’ level of knowledge of the content;
explaining abstract theory and concepts in plain language using concrete examples from topics and lessons familiar to the audience.
Synthesize important points from each post-lesson discussion, published them in a newsletter, and explicitly directed later planning teams to address them, helping to keep the school research program coherent and moving forward to produce the reports at the end of the first and second years.
Knowledgeable Other
Akihiko Takahashi, Ph.D.
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