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NISMED promotes Lesson Study in Science and Math teachers confab

NISMED Director UP NISMED Director Soledad A. Ulep

(October 23)—Educator empowerment through Lesson Study was the theme of the 3-day 2013 National Conference in Science and Mathematics Education (NCSME) that opened on October 22 at the UPD National Institute for Science and Mathematics Education Development (NISMED).

Lesson Study is “a school-based and teacher-led continuing professional development model for teachers that originated in Japan,” said UP NISMED Director Soledad A. Ulep.

“In Lesson Study, a group of teachers research their own practice in order to improve student learning.  They go through a cycle of collaboratively planning, designing, implementing, reflecting on and revising a lesson based on pieces of evidence about student thinking and learning gathered during the actual implementation of the lesson,” she said.

NISMED promotes the adoption of the Lesson Study model in preparation for the demands of The Enhanced Basic Education Act of 2013 or K to 12 Basic Education Program (K to 12).  The UPD research unit believes the model can provide teachers with the needed support in implementing the innovations of K to 12 as the Lesson Study would enhance the teachers’ capability in teaching science and mathematics.

K to 12 seeks to enhance the quality of basic education in the country, and produce graduates who are ready for employment, entrepreneurship, middle level skills development and higher education. 

Keynote speaker Prof. Shizumi Shimizu of Teikyo University in Japan said quality education depends largely on the capability of teachers.

“In Japan, as well as in the Philippines, mathematical and scientific proficiency of students and teachers is enhanced through activities, construction of knowledge by learners, and development of communication skills...  For teachers, the aim is to provide opportunities for students and learn and do mathematics and science by themselves...Thus, enhancing the capability of teachers is one of the worldwide issues in education,” he said.

The high performance of young Japanese students in international tests has been attributed to the Japanese educators’ practice of Lesson Study. 

Dr. Risa L. Reyes, NISMED Deputy Director for Research and Extension said through the Lesson Study, model teachers of science and mathematics are encouraged to develop their own lessons and activities.

Mathematics and Science teachers nationwide packed to the “rafters” the NISMED Auditorium for the 3-day 2013 National Conference in Science and Mathematics Education (NCSME).

“They (teachers) make their lesson plans unlike the usual practice of getting prepared lesson plans from the booklets they buy...they discuss how they can improve it (lesson plan) depending on the feedback from the students and its effectiveness if the students learn.  There is a cyclical process of reflection and revision to come up with better and better lessons,” Reyes said.

Furthermore, NISMED is gearing for Lesson Study because of its success and effectiveness in the high schools and elementary schools in Metro Manila that NISMED partnered with from 2006 to 2012.  These include Rizal High School and Sta. Lucia High School in Pasig City, North Fairview High School and Commonwealth Elementary School in Quezon City. 

In 2006, NISMED through its Collaborative Lesson Research and Development (CLRD) Project introduced Lesson Study to schools and used it to promote teaching mathematics through problem solving and science by inquiry-based teaching.  It was first introduced to a group of Mathematics II teachers and the department head of Rizal High School in Pasig City to help them implement learner-centered teaching strategies that emphasized reasoning, communication and connection in the context of problem solving.  NISMED compiled the actual experiences of the teachers and their science and mathematics classes and published these in the first volume of Lesson Study: Planning together, learning together.

Commission on Higher Education Chair Patricia B. Licuanan lauded NISMED for discovering in Lesson Study “a learning model that actually involves teachers in instructional change and curriculum development.”

UPD Chancellor Caesar A. Saloma said he is certain that NISMED’s Lesson Study module that focuses on collaborative work, real-life applications of research and critical thinking and learning will turn out graduates who will be life-long learners and professionals. 

The 2013 NCSME gathered some 400 teachers of science and mathematics nationwide and discussed topics in line with the objectives of promoting Lesson Study as a professional development model.

Conference speakers were mathematics and science education experts from the Philippines, Japan and Vietnam.

Participants to the conference now constitute the initial members of a local network on Lesson Study.—Mariamme D. Jadloc, images by Leonardo A. Reyes