NEWTON, MA | March 3, 2004
More than 100 math teachers, researchers, and internationally known lesson study experts are gathering this week in Foxboro, Massachusetts to observe and discuss a research lesson as part of the Japanese Lesson Study process.
While “open houses” such as this one are commonplace in Japan, the event at Foxboro’s Ahern Middle School is one of the first of its kind involving secondary teachers in the United States.
The Ahern School is one of 20 Bay State schools with a team of mathematics teachers participating in a lesson study project. The program to pilot test lesson study in Massachusetts was developed by Education Development Center (EDC), with funding from the National Science Foundation.
This event presents a virtually new model for professional learning—one in which a collaboratively planned “research lesson” is publicly observed and discussed by teachers. The lesson study concept is based on teachers learning from one another about how to engage and stimulate students.
“Lesson study is unique in that it provides a format for teachers to plan creative classroom sessions, critique each other’s methods, and work together toward improvement,” said Jane Gorman, Lesson Study project director at EDC, which is planning the event. “Teachers are no longer so isolated from one another as they tackle the difficult question of how to make lessons effective.”
On March 3, Foxboro mathematics teacher Andrea Plate will teach a “research lesson” planned by a team of five Massachusetts teachers to students in the school library. The lesson will be observed by all in attendance, and will then become the focus of critique and discussion. Internationally known experts on mathematics and lesson study in the U.S., including Dr. Akihiko Takahashi of DePaul University, Dr. Tad Watanabe of Penn State University, Dr. Clea Fernandez of Columbia University, and Dr. Makoto Yoshida of Global Education Resources will be participating in the event alongside teachers from Massachusetts and Rhode Island.