‘Lesson study’ catches on in Chicago

“Lesson study” — a Japanese technique for honing teaching — is being tried in Chicago schools, notes the Hechinger Report.

Math teacher Michael Hock  teaches about the distributive property as 30 teachers observe. 

After a lesson is taught and students dismissed, teachers analyze what happened. They’re like scientists looking back at their experiment, figuring out what went right, what went wrong.“You can see [it] everywhere in Japan,” says (Toshiakira) Fujii. “In Tokyo in the case it’s Wednesday. Wednesday [we] usually finish at lunch time. Then one class stays, and the other classes dismiss. And then every teacher comes to that one class and observes. Even the school nurse and school counselor also join to watch the lesson—that’s our traditional way.”

One teacher asks why Hock didn’t ask students to draw a model of the equation. Another says,  “I didn’t see much evidence that they felt challenged.” adds another, citing his extensive notes.

The teachers discuss whether it was more successful to use concrete examples or abstract ones and whether the illustration Hock used helped students understand the concept being taught.

Hock says he loves the constructive feedback, but it requires a thick skin.