Starting Lesson Study in Elementary School Science

In mid-May 2013, a seminar-workshop on “Development of Inquiry-Based Science Activities” was conducted by the NISMED Elementary School Science Group for 15 Grade III science teachers from three schools in the Division of Taguig-Pateros (5 teachers per school).

PALS Inaugurated

The Philippine Association of Lesson and Learning Studies (PALS) Inc. was inaugurated on 10 December 2016 at the Pearl of the Orient Tower in Manila.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Improving Teacher Effectiveness Through Lesson Study

UP NISMED’s Initial Experience with Lesson Study: Improving Teacher Effectiveness in High School Chemistry

The three authors in collaboration with six chemistry teachers of Pedro Felix Memorial National High School, conducted NISMED’s first Lesson Study during the school year 2003- 2004.  Each of the chemistry teachers selected a study lesson for implementation during the period bringing to a total of 6 developed chemistry lesson plans as outputs.  There was a follow up interview of the teachers in October of the next school year.

The Lesson Study model requires the teachers to connect with one another, with administrators and specialists, and even with teachers from other schools. All participants focus their energy on learning the “study lessons” and observing teacher’s effectiveness in the classroom. As they jointly plan and develop study lessons, they find themselves naturally sharing and thinking about the meaning of the experiences they have had in their classrooms. The teachers composing the Lesson Study group develop a sense of joint ownership of both materials and methods as they develop, implement, and refine the study lessons.
Results of this study showed a positive effect of the Lesson Study practice on the following measures of teachers’ effectiveness: knowledge of content and pedagogy, lesson planning, communication skills, classroom management and teacher’s confidence.
Moreover, Lesson Study has proved to be a practical, economical, and effective school-based method for continuous professional development of teachers done in a collegial atmosphere. Its benefits, however, cannot be fully attained if the practice is not entrenched, done regularly and continuously as part of the school’s professional development program. This is because of the teachers’ tendency to revert back to traditional methods of instructions that they find more familiar and convenient.

By Arlene dela Cruz

Students’ Preferred Language for Active Learning

Using Students’ Preferred Language to Engage them Actively in Learning  About How Fast Solids Dissolve in Water

“Ma’am, puwedeng mag-Tagalog?” (Ma’am, may I speak in Tagalog?) 
Carlo, a third year student, asked his chemistry teacher before giving his answer during a classroom discussion.
Science teachers, more often than not, would reluctantly allow students to answer in their preferred language and then proceed with the lesson using the prescribed medium of instruction which is English.
But what happens when three secondary chemistry teachers allowed their students to use the students’ preferred language in the classroom?
In the school year 2010-2011, the first two authors from UP NISMED and the four other authors who are chemistry teachers from Rizal High School collaborated to conduct a Lesson Study  on  How Fast Solids Dissolve in Water using the students’ preferred language of instruction.  The decision to use Filipino is for the students to communicate their ideas and participate fully during discussions in the chemistry class.
One hundred-three (103) third year public high school students and their three (3) chemistry teachers were observed throughout the duration of the lesson. Pre and post test were given to students and 19 representative students were interviewed after the lesson. The lesson plans and activity sheets which were collaboratively prepared were written in English. The pre-test and post-test were written in English and Filipino.
Results showed that low performing students who were allowed to use their preferred language in class were able to be on a par with high middle performing students in learning How Fast Solids Dissolve in Water. In addition, feedback from students and teachers imply the equalizing role of language among students from a wide range of academic performance. Students expressed confidence and interest in learning science.

By Arlene dela Cruz

Reflections of Chemistry Teachers on Lesson Study

Growing up Pains: Reflections of Five Chemistry Teachers on the First Two Cycles of Lesson Study

This chapter presents the reflections of five Chemistry teachers in a public high school on their lesson study (LS) experience. Accounts have shown that, at the beginning, there are several challenges encountered by the teachers that made them hesitant to fully participate in the LS. However, as the LS proceeded, collegiality was evident, making the teachers comfortable with the LS. Collegiality led them to collaborate more in the LS processes.

This increased collaboration provided several  benefits that the teacher themselves have recognized along the way. These benefits concern their  professional growth such as content upgrade, new approach in teaching, better classroom management, accuracy of content in designing lesson plans, sense of fulfilment, and willingness to strive for excellence.
The full text of the study is one of the chapters of the book titled “BOOK 1.  LESSON STUDY: PLANNING TOGETHER, LEARNING TOGETHER” which will be published in print form by UP NISMED this first quarter of 2013.

By Jacquie Gutierrez

Friday, January 11, 2013

Problem Solving Involving Multiplication of Whole Numbers

Classroom Problem Solving Practices Involving  Multiplication of Whole Numbers   

Grade 2 Math Lesson Study Group
Eight Grade 2 mathematics teachers of a public elementary school in Quezon City together with the Elementary School Mathematics group of UP NISMED collaboratively developed a research lesson on solving problems involving multiplication of whole numbers under the project Collaborative Lesson Research and Development (CLRD) of the Institute. In planning the lesson, the teachers agreed to deviate from using the AGONA (What is Asked?, What are Given?, What Operation will be used?, What is the Number sentence?, and What is the Answer?) in analyzing and solving problems and to encourage pupils to present different ways of solving a problem.

At the start of the project, it was evident that the teachers were hesitant to change some of their current practices such as religiously following the guidelines for solving problems written in the curriculum (AGONA) and presenting only one way of solving problems. These practices could serve as hindrances in developing pupils’ creativity and their ability to think or explore other possibilities in solving problems. One factor that contributes to teachers’ resistance to change is that questions asked during the periodical/district/division tests make use of AGONA. Deviating from AGONA may result in their pupils’ low scores. For these teachers, answering all the questions correctly would mean that pupils have understood how to solve the given problems.
In solving mathematical problems, teachers consider only one solution to a given problem. They tend to practice uniformity with what pupils are required to do. For these teachers, solving problems in different ways will just confuse pupils. This could indicate the teacher’s apprehension of being unable to handle unexpected situations. Such was demonstrated in the first to the third implementation of the research lesson.
Although the Grade 2 teachers were not yet able to completely veer away from AGONA, some changes in the behavior and teaching practices of teachers were observed, such as giving more emphasis on thinking processes, improved questioning skills (deviating from the use of AGONA in discussing solutions to the problem), and their being more reflective and open to accept new ideas. Perhaps with a longer experience doing CLRD, it is hoped that these teachers will improve their teaching practices.
The full text of the study is included in the book titled “BOOK 1.  LESSON STUDY: PLANNING TOGETHER, LEARNING TOGETHER”, which will be published in print form by UP NISMED this first quarter of 2013.
By Aida Yap and Teresita Mañalac

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Beyond Collaboration: An Appreciative Inquiry Into Lesson Study

This study uses appreciative inquiry into lesson study in which the overall design is governed by qualitative inquiry focus on: (a) stories and images that helped teachers in doing lesson study in a new and constructive light; and (b) qualities of lesson study would help make it sustainable. Appreciative inquiry is adopted as a method based on the assumption that researches which apply this are participative in nature and recognizes that teachers learn collaboratively by adapting their knowledge to their experiences.
Appreciative inquiry was born from the positive psychology and organizational change movement in the 1980's which was originally developed by David Cooperrider and his colleagues. Drawing on findings using appreciative inquiry, the study highlights how the process of lesson study helped teachers fully utilize the activity and the materials in the lesson so that students generate mathematical ideas. The use of appreciative inquiry to get feedback about lesson study helped generate stories and images that enable teachers to do lesson study in a new and constructive light. Teachers involved in this study internalized the disposition associated with content pedagogy, which triggered their realization that they have the responsibility to understand content deeply, and prompted them to exert effort to study the materials and available resources, consulted colleagues, and continued reflecting on what should be done for students to think and understand the concepts being taught. This study finds that lesson study in this particular school has a greater possibility to sustain collaboration among teachers and continually effects change because: (1) it builds relationships and enables teachers to be known in relationship rather than in roles; (2) it creates an opportunity for teachers to be heard; (3) it generates opportunities for teachers to dream, and to share their dreams; and (4) it creates an environment in which teachers are able to choose how they contribute.
Note: The full paper is one of the chapters of the book titled “BOOK 1.  LESSON STUDY: PLANNING TOGETHER, LEARNING TOGETHER” which will be published in print form by UP NISMED this first quarter of 2013.

By Allan Canonigo

Friday, January 4, 2013

An Analysis of Problem Solving Activity in a Mathematics II Class

In the project Collaborative Lesson Research Development (CLRD), four Mathematics II teachers together with a UPNISMED facilitator collaboratively developed, critiqued, and revised a lesson on Solving Quadratic Equation Using Quadratic Formula. The lesson utilized the approach teaching  through problem solving. Teaching through problem solving is an approach wherein a problem is given to the students at the start and is used as context to teach a topic as well as to develop skills and apply these skills to unfamiliar situations.  It is characterized by students’ deep construction and understanding of mathematical ideas and concepts.  The problem in the lesson used a real life context and it involved different ways to solve it.  The nature of the problem provided an opportunity for the students to apply their previous knowledge and skills and experience thinking skills like representing, looking for patterns, and generalizing.
The study focused on  the content of the problem solving activity of the lesson.   How the students progressed in the problem solving process and how the teacher provided scaffolding so that the students would complete the task were the ones given particular attention. To follow up the students’ progress and the scaffolding the teacher provided during the problem solving activity, Polya’s Four Steps of Solving a Problem was used as a guide. At first, the students experienced difficulty in solving the problem. However the difficulty was addressed when the teacher provided the necessary scaffolding.
The result of the problem solving activity was an “eye opener” to the four Mathematics II teachers.  They realized that the reason why the students had difficulty in solving the problem was that they were not exposing the students to problems involving multiple solutions; to problems involving the skills of looking for a pattern, generalizing and “modelling”. The problems they usually give are problems involving only one solution and an answer of numerical in nature.
The full text of the study is one of the chapters of the book titled “BOOK 1.  LESSON STUDY: PLANNING TOGETHER, LEARNING TOGETHER” which will be published in print form by UP NISMED this first quarter of 2013.

By Lydia Landrito

Alternative Conceptions of Diffusion and Osmosis

Uncovering Alternative Conceptions of Diffusion and Osmosis Through Lesson Study

Through lesson study, a research lesson on diffusion and osmosis was developed collaboratively among four Biology teachers of a partner high school in Metro Manila and four NISMED researchers.  The group developed a structured inquiry activity on diffusion and osmosis using existing activity sheets of the partner teachers as references.  Student learning and alternative conceptions were closely observed during the implementation of the lesson.

Through classroom observations, analysis of accomplished activity sheets, and student interviews, it was revealed that students have difficulties in differentiating diffusion from osmosis, and understanding the terms hypertonic, hypotonic, and isotonic.  Students also perceived that there is a directed movement of particles from a higher concentration to a lower concentration.  This suggests their inability to integrate random molecular motion and collisions in explaining the movement of molecules.  Identification of these alternative conceptions is an important prerequisite to developing appropriate lessons and activities.  Appropriate computer animations may be used in conjunction with other instructional strategies to scaffold students’ understanding and visualization of random molecular motion and collisions to better understand diffusion and osmosis.  To improve the research lesson and address the misconceptions identified, the next step would be going through another cycle: revisiting, revising, and implementing the research lesson.
The full text of the study is one of the chapters of the book titled “BOOK 1.  LESSON STUDY: PLANNING TOGETHER, LEARNING TOGETHER” which will be published in print form by UP NISMED this first quarter of 2013.

By Maria Helen Catalan