August 28 Discussions

Make comments on specific chapters at Chapter 6, Chapter 7, and Chapter 8. Post comments that cut acStu 10 chapters at this page.

Posted at Sep 02/2018 01:05PM by Stu 1:
While reading the second half of this book, I was perturbed with one major question. How can we provide teachers with the rich conceptual knowledge needed to make these gradual changes in teaching? I am really interested in this question because much of the lesson study depends on teachers having a rich conceptual understanding of a given concept. If teachers in the US have only been exposed to a more procedural form of mathematics, will they struggle to define a lesson study which mitigates the typical procedural mathematics understanding?

Posted at Sep 02/2018 01:30PM by Stu 9:
@Stu 1, to echo your statement, I also struggle imagining specific colleagues (in my personal life) whom would want to put in the extra work it would take to even begin such a drastic reform. I would imagine it is easy to get stuck in the weeds with these things, but I am having a hard time moving past this thought.

Posted at Sep 03/2018 11:29AM by Stu 4:
I can agree with this sentiment. Unfortunately, this sort of reform will only happen gradually, over a period of years.

There will be some teachers who will have to retire before 100% implementation can be achieved because they will refuse (based on sad experience) to latch onto another teaching "fad."

This is another reason I am so interested in motivation. All human beings have free will, and some will have no desire to better themselves, no matter the potential positive outcomes. I think the key lies in the gradual implementation process described in the book. Begin with 3-4 intrinsically motivated/overachieving teacher leaders meeting with a consultant to develop the program. If this achieves the desired results in the few classrooms that have implemented the new procedures, more teachers can be converted until teachers, administrators, parents, and the public believe in the new system. However, as the book notes, this is a process that will take years. But as the unbelieving leave or retire and are replaced by the young and/or malleable, there will be a chance for the new culture to take root.

Posted at Sep 03/2018 07:42PM by Stu 6:
n class we looked at teacher responses to mathematics questions to identify their understanding about mathematical structures. When reading chapters 6-8 I wondered how would the teachers who had evident misunderstandings hold up in a lesson study that is getting at deep mathematical concepts and students’ understanding of them. In chapter 9 the authors discuss how teachers would learn more about mathematics in the context of lesson study than in taking another college course. They point out that teachers would be more interested in the concepts under study because it was directly applicable to their practice. The research they would do to discover how students learn specific concepts would challenge their own understanding. And while they are focusing on the student understandings within the lesson they can grapple with their own understanding at the same time. Ultimately teachers want to do a good job. They take on the career of teaching because they want to be good at it. If the system of support for continual change is in place and effective even the most resistant will find something they want to improve.

Posted at Sep 03/2018 10:07PM by Stu 7:
The idea that Stu 4 brings up about motivation piques my interest as well. I truly don't understand why some Teachers wouldn't want to better themselves and their profession through a progression of changes. It would only benefit them as well as others around them in the long run. Their students would grasp the information needed to conceptualize problems better and it would then result in better achievement scores over time.

@Stu 6 Reading what you wrote made me think of this question... If we can take what they discussed in Chapter 9 and implement that into their teaching credential program as a universal standard sequence of classes, would education see a potential shift in teaching methods as a country faster?

I wish I as well as other districts could read a follow up book about how a district has implemented these strategies and how they've come along.

Posted at Sep 04/2018 03:31PM by Stu 8:
@ Stu 1, Stu 9, I agree that knowing how to help teachers grasp the concepts their students are learning is necessary for a lesson study approach in the US.

@ Stu 6, along the lines of what you said, I think it would be beneficial to have researchers and teachers in the US collaborate and bounce ideas back and forth. Researchers could get into classrooms to observe more, and teachers could learn about the current areas of research focus. These areas could also be adjusted according to what teachers decide is necessary and relevant for student learning.

Maybe they could also collaborate on their conceptual understanding of the topics they are teaching and then discuss (with the researchers) how to facilitate acquisition of conceptual understanding for students.