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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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Strengthening the Capacity of Future Pillars of Science and Mathematics Education

The Department of Science and Technology-Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) invited three UP NISMED staff, Dr. Amelia Punzalan, Dr. Erlina Ronda, and Ms. Arlene de la Cruz, as resource speakers on its 2nd year of training workshop on research enhancement. The training workshop was held on 4-6 September 2012 at Punta de Fabian, Baras, Rizal.



The participants were 27 faculty members of Teacher Training Institutes (TEIs) representing different regions of the country. These TEIs were identified by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) as Centers of Development.

From CHED Memorandum Order No. 33 Series of 2012, a Center of Development (COD) refers to a teacher education program in an HEI (Higher Education Institution), which demonstrates the potential to become a COE (Center of Excellence) in the future. A COE is defined as a teacher education program in an HEI, which continuously demonstrates excellent performance in the areas of instruction, research and publication, extension and linkages, institutional qualifications and one that provides excellent quality pre-service teacher education program to meet the needs of progressive teachers for elementary, secondary, and special education programs. The identified COEs and CODs are expected to serve as instruments in attaining and fulfilling the program’s mission of producing professionally competent and morally upright teacher education graduates.

Ms. de la Cruz started the session with De Bono’s six (6) thinking hats to set the tone of the workshop. Activities in the thinking hats were used as springboard for the participants’ research topics as well as in setting of goals for lesson study and other research projects.

Dr. Punzalan talked about teaching science through inquiry. She presented different ways to show how inquiry can be part of the participants’ researches in their classrooms and how it can be used as a teaching strategy.

Dr. Ronda talked about problem solving as strategy for teaching mathematics. She also used lesson study to further explain problem solving and showed a video on a mathematics lesson study implementation.


 On the third day, the participants presented their research topics as well as their planned methodologies. Critiquing of the research topics was done after each presentation. The Central Bicol State University of Agriculture - College of Development Education from Region V, and Xavier University - Faculty of Education from Region XII planned to do research related to lesson study.
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National Summer Training Workshop on Lesson Study

Guro Foundation Forum (GFF) organized a National Summer Training Workshop on Lesson Study in view of the K to 12 implementation across disciplines on 7-12 May 2012. It was held at the Bulwagang Tandang Sora, College of Social Work and Community Development, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City. There were 40 teacher-participants from Metro Manila and Luzon and four Filipino teachers from Lebanon. All grade levels were represented in the said workshop.


The objective of the training workshop was to engage educators in instructional planning, management, and implementation of K to 12 curriculum using lesson study.

Five NISMED staff were invited as resource speakers and facilitator. Dr. Soledad A. Ulep, UP NISMED Director, spoke on Lesson Study in View of the K to 12 Implementation. Dr. Amelia E. Punzalan and Ms. Arlene P. de la Cruz talked on Teaching Chemistry and Teaching-Learning Science Through Inquiry. Dr. Erlina R. Ronda talked about Teaching Mathematics Through Problem Solving, with Mr. Allan Canonigo as facilitator.


 Lesson Study was done in four subjects, namely, English, Mathematics, Science, and Social Studies. Teachers had lesson planning, brainstorming, and critiquing of lessons. The lessons were based on the K to12 Curriculum.
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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

“PLANNING TOGETHER” IS NOT THAT EASY

[This article presents the challenges faced by practicing teachers in the course of developing lessons in Physics from the point of view of a member of the study group.]

Ma’am, baka pwedeng bigyan n’yo na lang kami ng lesson plan at iexecute na lang namin?” (Ma’am, can you just give us a prepared lesson plan and then we will just execute it?) One teacher of our lesson study group in Physics asked during the initial planning of the lesson. What made the teacher to ask this question?
Lesson study is about planning together to develop, implement, and improve a research lesson. “Planning together” is not something new to teachers. They plan on activities in school such as Science Fairs and school foundation day celebration but “planning together to come up with a lesson” is something unusual to them. Teachers are used to prepare their own lesson plans and implement them as they see fit. In a school, where there may be five or more physics teachers, it is possible that these teachers differ in the way they teach the same topic. Hence, asking teachers to plan a lesson together faces a lot of challenges.
Finding time for planning the lesson was a challenge. In our lesson study group, the teachers had to meet around lunchtime to plan the lesson because they have classes in the afternoon. Requesting them to come at this time was sometimes inconvenient for them because they had personal matters to attend to. That was the reason why a teacher asked for a prepared lesson plan to execute instead of planning together to prepare a new one.
Finding the right activity for the lesson was a challenge. Teachers acknowledge that letting the students do an activity is a good practice. During the planning of the lesson, the teachers brought activities they used in the previous school year. As they presented the activities, they were asked some questions: 1) Will the activities help your students to discover the concept/s you want them to know? 2) Will the students be able to discover the concept on their own? 3) What skills will be developed through the activity? 4) Do you have the materials (or enough materials) needed for the activity? These questions were asked for teachers to realize that it was not enough that students perform an activity for the sake of doing an activity. Teachers had to evaluate the activity they were using. If the activity does not meet the objectives of the lesson, they have to select a more appropriate one or make some revisions. Moreover, the teachers were asked to tryout the activity. There were situations during the planning that they had to replace the activity or some materials because the activity or material itself was not working. As a result, it took several meetings just to come up with an activity. Thus, teachers would say, “Hindi pala ganito kadali gumawa ng activity (It is not so easy to come up with an activity).”
Finding the appropriate strategy for a lesson was a challenge. The usual sequence followed by the teacher in teaching a science lesson is as follows: motivation, presentation of the concept (including equation), performing the activity (if there is an activity), guided solving of a sample problem, individual or group problem solving, assessment, and homework. However, the formulated goal for the lesson study was “To develop and nurture self-directed learners who have enduring understanding of science concepts that can be applied in real-life situations.” Their usual way of teaching would not work to attain this goal because if the teachers would simply give the concepts and equations, then the students would become passive learners. Thus, there is a need for the teacher to shift from being the source of information to a facilitator of learning. They should guide their students to discover the concepts on their own. To do this, the teachers have to think of the questions they would ask to elicit thinking among the students as well as the possible answers the students might give. Writing these in their lesson plan would allow the teachers to anticipate different scenarios that might happen during the class discussion. Planning the lesson this way involves detailed and focused discussion and by itself a challenge to a teacher who is used to deciding by herself or himself on how to go about the lesson.

Indeed, planning together is not that easy. Yes, it takes time to plan, choose an activity, and find an appropriate teaching strategy. But to see the students enjoying the activity, asking questions, and participating in class discussions are enough rewards for the challenges faced. Going back to the teacher who asked for a prepared lesson plan to execute, she no longer asked this question in the succeeding cycles of planning. She became more participative in the discussions and even implemented two lessons made by the study group. Clearly, by embracing the challenges of doing a lesson study paved the way for her professional development. The experience with lesson study embodies this quote by Henry Ford: “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

By May R. Chavez
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