|Lesson Study: Murder Mystery
Liz Henning, NCETM & Julie Clawson, Queen Elizabeth Community College
The NCETM has recently completed a Lesson Study project involving 16 schools. In the first part of this workshop Liz Henning gave a brief introduction to Lesson Study and this was followed by Julie Clawson describing how her mathematics department used the lesson study model and to share with delegates what impact this has had.
Lesson Study is more than self-reflection, more than collaborative practice. It is an in-depth scrutiny of the gap between the actual and the ideal student and a focus on how to reduce this ‘Learning Gap’. At its heart is the planning and refining of a ‘research lesson’ or ‘public lesson’ to address both long-term and short-term educational goals (for details about this powerful form of collaborative CPD, go to the Lesson Study section of the NCETM Professional Learning microsite).
Julie Clawson described the Lesson Study project in her own school, where six teachers in her department had worked collaboratively to plan and teach a Murder Mystery lesson, designed to encourage problem solving and group work skills.
Apart from concluding that this project was “the best piece of professional development that I have been part of in 25 years of teaching”, Julie outlined the following key benefits of the project for her and her department:
- it was a rare opportunity for us to focus on the learning rather than the teaching.
- it was a genuine collaborative venture and the team worked so well together.
- it was a good vehicle for helping us to tackle issues that were important to us – such as the new GCSE specifications, our concerns over teaching applications, looking for ways to improve our teaching of problem solving, wanting to facilitate more group work in lessons
- we have identified key topics from our recent analysis of our pupils’ responses to GCSE exam questions and Lesson Study will be a perfect vehicle for addressing these.
… and ended with some quotes from the teachers involved:
“WOW. That was a real privilege to be able to watch kids learn”
“Oh my God, I did not know we could have so much fun in a maths classroom together”
“I can’t believe that our students could work so well together in groups”
“It was brilliant to have the time to work together planning a lesson. I got some really good teaching ideas from the others”.