Tag Archives: educational leadership

The Lesson Study Cycle

Following our first year of lesson study, we have changed the format in school for this academic year.   As a staff we spent time at the end of the summer term discussing the impact of LS to date and deciding on the best way forward.   We were all convinced that this was the right way to develop teaching and learning but felt it worth tweaking our approach to get more out of it.

As a three from entry primary we are well suited for the model we’ve developed.  Each term a different class in each year group becomes the research class.   The ‘host’ teacher works with their two year group colleagues to plan the lesson study and the three teachers (along with any support staff involved) write up their research.   This research is then shared by the host teacher at a lesson study staff meeting the following term.  Over the year each class in each year group will be the research class once, all teachers will take on the role of researcher/research teacher, and each will present research findings to staff.   All staff will have taken part in at least three lesson studies.   As in the past, we are restricted to two ‘formal’ research lessons during the cycle, due to timetabling and class cover required however, the impact of the research goes beyond the formal process and is instrumental in driving developments in teaching and learning. .

The cycle below outlines our current approach to lesson study

Planning Meeting 1
Agree and sign Lesson Study protocol
Agree on lesson to be taught, who is to teach it and area of focus from AfL work
Plan lesson in detail together as a research team with area of AfL focus in mind, considering any resources necessary and any pre lesson preparation.
Research lesson teacher to identify three pupils, broadly representative of the differing learning groups in the class. Teacher to identify how they think the pupils will respond at different points in the lesson, researchers complete proforma (planning, observation and discussion sheet)
Research Lesson 1
Camera set up prior to lesson to enable inconspicuous filming for class teacher’s reference. Researchers complete proforma whilst observing identified pupils (emphasis is on the learner response)
Researchers also record thoughts regarding AfL focus for feedback in post lesson discussion.
Post Lesson Pupil Interviews
Each researcher interviews identified pupil following the lesson using profroma (suggested questions for post lesson interview) encouraging pupils to answer fully and share any thoughts on the lesson and the learning
Post Lesson Discussion
Following the first research lesson (RL1) and pupil interviews, research team come back together. Session follows format below:
a) Teacher shares thoughts on the lesson/learning
b) Researchers take turn to share findings (notes) on pupil’s response to learning (how teacher thought they would respond/how they were observed to respond)
c) Researchers take turns to share post lesson pupil interview findings
d) Film footage shared (if necessary) to support findings. Footage then provided for teacher to view later
e) AfL focus discussed in general terms and researchers share any notes made during research lesson.
f) Next lesson discussed in light of findings from RL1, changes/amendments made as appropriate, children for observation agreed.
Research Lesson 2
Cycle begins again

Research is then written up by year group team and saved on the school server.   The host teacher then uses the research notes to inform presentation to staff.

Getting the balance right

In a meeting with our teaching and learning group last year, we discussed how much time in lessons is spent actively involved in independent learning as opposed to teacher directed.

We decided that at some stages (beginnings of topics etc) and in some lessons, a strong teaching input was needed. At most other times however, it was felt students benefited from being more actively involved in their learning.

To gauge how much time in lessons was generally teacher led/student passive and how much time students were active we decided to chart a lesson. Using a simple time chart (a sheet of paper with a horizontal time line through the middle. Above the line, teacher led, below the line, student active) the children tracked the lesson with a pencil going above and below the horizontal timeline minute by minute as appropriate.

The results showed that much more time than necessary was being spent with the teacher talking, not enough time was being given over to the active learning.

What did all of this tell us? Well firstly it surprised the teacher how much they spoke. It made it clear to them that student engagement didn’t rely on them in a didactic role and that we often overestimate how much we need to say before real, authentic learning can begin.

This experiment would work equally well if a teacher were to film their own lesson and play it back in private using a similar time chart. What it does is help teachers recognise whether or not they have got the balance right between teacher led and student centered learning. It can be a very useful took in shaping classroom practice.