Teachers tackle new maths curriculum using lesson study

Lesson Study, a professional development practice with origins from Japan, is finding a new home in Camden through the support of the London Schools Excellence Fund (LSEF).

Using Lesson Study as the means for creating and mobilising new teacher practice-knowledge, Camden Council and a team at the University of Cambridge are scaling up innovative approaches to using teacher talk in teacher learning. These new approaches revolutionise how we improve pupil and teacher learning through Lesson Study in mathematics, and can then be applied to other subjects too.

Lesson Study, a professional development practice in which teachers work in a small collaborative group, enables teachers to meet, discuss goals and plan actual classroom lessons. The group observes and reflects upon the ‘research lessons’ together. Sharing the knowledge learned is part of Lesson Study enabling other practitioners to benefit from the findings.

So Camden schools are empowering teachers to plan and teach outstanding lessons and develop schemes of work that enhance pupils’ learning and progress, by transforming their understanding of how pupils are learning mathematics in the new curriculum.

Whilst we have ambitious plans for what tools and outcomes the programme will produce, we already have a blueprint for the new mathematics curriculum and a common logbook to record lesson studies. The logbooks are essential for us to be able to record and share what we learn in carrying out the program.

Using a range of teacher and pupil outcome data collected meticulously from the 22 Camden Schools involved during phase one of this project and then continuing this into phase two (with schools across Greater London) we aim to answer these key questions:

  • How can we use Lesson Study to better understand how pupils learn in the new mathematics curriculum, therefore enabling us to help them make the best possible progress?
  • Can we improve teachers’ professional collaborative learning by studying their discourse in Lesson Study activities about how teachers learn with and from each other?
  • How can we lead Lesson Study to mobilise this new practice knowledge between schools and teachers, helping as many as possible?

Classrooms are amongst the busiest workplaces that exist and as a result teachers are often unaware of many of the successful strategies they use daily ‘without thinking’. But studies have shown that Lesson Study ‘research lesson’ observations and group discussions help them to understand their pupils’ learning more clearly and improve it (Dudley, 2013).

Understanding this better is therefore of global significance. We are working with one of the world’s most advanced teams of researchers into teachers learning through talk.

These experts are analysing video evidence captured by the teachers themselves, which we believe will help us to design even more effective ways of unlocking this teacher learning and improving practice and pupil progress not just in London, but worldwide.

For further information contact Peter Dudley on Peter.Dudley@camden.gov.uk or visit www.lessonstudy.co.uk

To access a growing base of reports and workbooks visit: www.lessonstudy.camden.gov.uk

Use the hashtag #lessonstudycam to find out more.

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