Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Introducing Collaborative Lesson Planning

NISMED’s initial attempt at collaborating with elementary school science teachers in the development of unit lesson plans is first described, followed by a much simpler mechanism to review existing ones for the purpose of improving them. Both times, the activity ground to a halt when the teachers were requested to write the lesson plans/revise them according to the comments and recommendations. This chapter documents the processes involved and the reasons given for the expected outcomes that did not materialize. The data gathered were generated from interviews and observations. It was established that it was not the teachers’ practice to develop lessons from scratch; they make use of existing ones. They are also very busy and overloaded with assignments in school, making it difficult for them sit down and write out lesson plans and revise these for use the next time they teach it to another section or the following schoolyear. Recommendations to revise the lesson study process and make it more friendly to busy teachers are given following these failed attempts.

The first attempt was at Bagong Kinabukasan Elementary School (BKES, not its real name) as an initial activity under NISMED’s School Partnership Project (SPP) which was formally launched in November 2006 (UP NISMED unpublished report, 2008).

This bogged down after two planning sessions per grade level (Grades 3 to 6); no revised lesson plans were produced and no lesson implementations were observed. No observations of implementation were likewise carried out.

Another attempt was made in the same school in August 2008. This second phase targeted improvement of existing lesson plans by collaborative teams consisting of NISMED staff and BKES teachers. The BKES teachers readily submitted existing lesson plans for “editing” but the teams were unable to sit together to critique the plans and suggest improvements. NISMED staff were also invited to observe a “demo teaching” by a teacher and participate in the post-conference after the demo teaching. However, no revised lesson plan incorporating the comments during the post-conference was produced. (NISMED unpublished report, 2011).

These two attempts are recounted and analyzed in this chapter. The challenges and constraints to collaborative lesson research and development among elementary science teachers are pointed out and recommendations for future attempts are given.

by Risa L. Reyes ( )


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