Since its U.S. introduction in the late 1980s, Lesson Study has rapidly become a professional development of choice for school districts across the country. A database from the Lesson Study Research Group (n.d.) housed at Columbia University Teachers College lists Lesson Study groups in 33 states. More than 800 individuals subscribe to the Lesson Study electronic mailing list.
Originating in Japan, Lesson Study was presented to U.S. educators as a compelling strategy for meaningful professional development, yet was found to be adaptable to the exigencies of different cultural settings. Now, in its growth phase, Lesson Study often is referenced in the current literature as a model of professional development with particular local flavors (McLaughlin & Yocom, 2005). A listing of research literature is available at Lesson Study Articles/Papers. Detailed descriptions of the Lesson Study process can be found in two issues of Northwest Teacher magazine titled "Lesson Study: Teachers Learning Together" and "Lesson Study: Crafting Learning Together".
Because different approaches and adaptations of Lesson Study are being implemented around the country, it is important to highlight the core features that make this strategy one of the most powerful professional development experiences. At the heart of the Lesson Study process lie the key qualities of professional development standards:
In Lesson Study, teachers join together to plan, observe, teach, and debrief a lesson, frequently referred to as the "research" lesson. Throughout the process, the Lesson Study team focuses on understanding student learning.
For more information, refer to Lesson Study at Traverse City (Michigan) Area Public Schools .
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