Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Use Lesson study method to improve teacher-centric method of education

If you want your student to learn, Teacher-centric method is inherently more difficult method because it is focused on the delivery of content, not on the student's understanding of content. We have earlier seen how the Swedish method of getting feedback from the student after the content is delivered in the class is one way of improving teacher-centric method of education. 

Here is another method. It is called Lesson study practice in Japan. Read this link to understand more about it. It is basically a method that is aligned with inquiry-based teaching. 

Lesson study can be bifurcated in six steps and should be done by a group of teachers together. Here are the steps in short. For more detailed steps, go through this pdf.

Step 1: Identify the teaching problem one wants to solve. The problem could be 'teaching fractions', or teaching division with remainders, or teaching subtraction where one has to carry forward the 'ten' like 31 minus 13. The problem could also be of retention. For instance, students, after being taught a subject in Physics, say a Lesson on measuring Reflection of Light , do not remember the content while writing the answer sheet.

Step 2: Teachers should discuss and dialogue with each other and find out the 'exact problem' that the teachers are facing. Talk with teachers outside the school to understand the difficulties that student face. That will help the teacher 'scope' the problem in a better way. 

Step 3: Do some 'research' to understand the issues in more detail and specifically how other teachers have 'solved' the difficulties identified in the problem, if any. This step may require an 'outside consultant' to locate the research papers so that the third-person objective analysis can be done. 

Step 4: Design a Lesson plan that will help the students to 'understand' the lesson in a more effective manner. Teachers will also list down the different 'measurements' that will help the teacher to 'measure' the effectiveness of teaching plan. Will it be a test after the lesson? Or will it be a specific question which is indirect? 

Step 5: Teach the 'lesson' according to the lesson-plan to one class. While teaching, one teacher will teach, while rest of the teachers will observe. The observers should focus on the student's learning, not on the teacher's teaching. 

Step 6: Incorporate the feedback of the observers and improve the lesson plan. Use the new Lesson plan to deliver the lesson. 


Lesson study method is meant to improve 'teaching', not the 'teachers'. This method is more difficult to implement because the teachers have to sit together and openly accept their problems to find better solutions. Teachers often do not like doing this.

This is not a quick-fix method. Schools often send teachers for 'training' and hope that the training will directly help the students, or they will call an "Expert teacher" to give ideas and tips of good teaching. In this method of Lesson study, the teachers are forced to think, take feedback from others, and improve teaching. 

As you would have guessed, a big benefit of this method is that the relationship between the teachers also change: they become more collaborative, invite feedback on their teaching method from other teachers, and more importantly focus on the student on how they learn.