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.