The Japanese have blessed American culture with some amazing additions–sushi, origami, and karaoke, to name a few. Here at Sibme, we love Japanese imports. Aside from the obvious: sushi, karaoke, Toyota, origami, and Sony, we’re also enthusiastic fans of a less well-known Japanese import–the lesson study.
Jokes aside, The Japanese approach to lesson studies–a process for reflecting and refining the teaching of a particular concept–is a model for how we could be utilizing teachers’ precious PLC and collaborative planning time.
Using PLC or department time for lesson study is a great way to allow teachers time to do something they can rarely do: reflect on their teaching practice, and research ways to refine it. And that’s exactly what lesson studies are designed to do.
Traditionally, lesson studies require a cohort of teachers that teach a common subject to meet regularly to review their research, plan lessons, and conduct post-lesson reviews. And that can be a challenging obstacle to getting started.
Thankfully, Sibme can provide a blended approach to lesson studies. With our video collaboration tool, the lesson study process becomes more manageable, informative, and efficient.
An abbreviated and modified lesson study process could go as follows:
- The department or grade-level plans a lesson together with a particular instructional strategy or focus and one or more teachers volunteer to be videotaped executing the lesson.
- Utilizing Sibme’s Huddle feature, the teacher uploads the video, lesson plan, and student artifacts to the PLC or department Huddle.
- Individual teachers have the option to watch and annotate the video before meeting again in person during the next PLC or department meeting, which allows for more time during the in-person meeting to have a robust professional conversation about the model lesson.
While watching the lesson, it’s important to be objective and focus only on collecting evidence and data from the observation. Questions and time-stamp comments can be posted while watching the video and discussed during the in-person meeting.
Having watched the video and completed their comments, the teachers are now prepared to reflect and discuss collectively during the in-person meeting. There are various protocols that can be followed during the meeting to guide and give structure to this collaborative process.
This lesson study exercise should be repeated throughout the year with each teacher having the opportunity to volunteer and record a lesson. The videos can be stored and comments on any topic or instructional strategy can be quickly searched and revisited through Sibme’s “Huddle feature”. This private PLC workspace can be accessed and viewed throughout the year by the department, grade-level, or school-wide teams where documents and videos can be shared, discussion topics can be created, and goals can be set.
Although this exercise can make teachers feel vulnerable, it is well worth the risk if it’s is approached with structure and professionalism. When the exercise becomes a part of the workflow process and culture of the school, positive results will follow.
If you would like to improve your PLC today, click the “Try Sibme” button below to test drive the Sibme platform for free with your team, department, school, or district for 60 days.
If you’re not quite ready to sign-up for a trial, and you would like to learn more about how Sibme can help your PLCs, department, grade-level, or school, feel free to reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a personal online demo or phone conversation as to how Sibme can help support teaching and learning in your network.