The reason that I was away for two days was that I observed the lesson implementation in Nueva Ecija High School (NEHS). It was part of lesson study, one of the components of the 2-year project of our institute and NEHS.

Lesson study is a professional development program for teachers that originated in Japan. In lesson study teachers collaborate with one another in developing and implementing a lesson. If you have not heard about this type of professional development program, it is now gaining popularity worldwide and is already practiced by elementary school and high school teachers in many countries.

The process in lesson comprises of the following steps:

- Defining a teaching problem based upon student needs
- Lesson Study planning, with the student and the teacher as the focus
- Focusing the lesson on student thinking, learning, and misconception
- Evaluating the lesson’s impact on student learning and reflecting on its effect
- Revising the lesson based upon the data collected
- Teaching the revised lesson to a new class of students
- Evaluating and reflecting
- Sharing the results.

The lesson developed in lesson study is called ‘research lesson.’

Since 2006, our institute had been involved in popularizing lesson study in the Philippines. We have documented (text, audio, video) the process, and results were presented in local and international conferences.

Last year, we started a project with NEHS, a school more than a hundred kilometers away from our university (can you believe that?). I was assigned to facilitate a group of geometry teachers in planning, implementing, and revising a research lesson. We implemented the lesson in three classes, and revised each time before implementing it in the next class. As expected, the lesson after each post lesson discussion is better than the previous one.

I was involved in lesson study since 2006, but I am always excited to start with a new group of teachers. In my experience, many teachers were apprehensive at the start, but when they went through the process, they understood the need to plan every lesson meticulously.

During our lesson planning meetings, we choose a problem to be given in the class, solve the problem in as many as we could, anticipate student answers and misconceptions and discuss how to address them, and prepare a lesson plan where the guide questions are written as well as the expected answers. This way, other teachers who are not part of the lesson study team would be able to use the research lesson plans.

During lesson implementation, teachers as well as the lesson study team gather data. They could go around during group work and take notes. The data gathered will be used for the post lesson discussion for the improvement of the lesson. After the post lesson discussion, the lesson would be carried out in a different class.

For my local readers who are curious which schools are involved in our project they are the following:

- Rizal High School, Pasig City
- Balara High School, Quezon City
- San Vicente Elementary School, Quezon City
- Commonwealth Elementary School, Quezon City
- Santa Lucia High School, Pasig City
- Fairview High School, Quezon City
- Ligao National High School, Bicol Region
- Nueva Ecija High School, Cabanatuan City

We are currently writing a book on local lesson study. We are planning to publish it late this year or early next year.

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Reference: http://hrd.apec.org/index.php/Lesson_Study_Overview

NCTM Process and Content Standards

How were you taught mathematics in school? I can’t really remember great detail of how I was taught math in school, but I can remember going through lessons that incorporated number operations that used coins, crayons, candy, and even cereal that helped to understand basic adding and subtraction. Although I enjoyed learning math, I am not influenced in any way to become a math teacher.

What was the classroom atmosphere? Our classroom atmosphere was very attentive because just about every student was interested in learning math. The classroom was decorated with many learning tools and resources post on the wall for us to use as references. Tools such as timetable charts, basic adding and subtracting models, and rules we discussed earlier in the lesson that we referred to when we came across a problem.

Which NCTM math content standard did you most enjoy learning in school? I absolutely enjoyed number operation because it came easy to me and I excelled in it fast. I also enjoyed algebra because once I learned the rules, solving the problems became easy. The positive experience from this is that I earned good grades from learning the rules that was very beneficial for me.

What type of assessments did you encounter from mathematics throughout your school years? We were tested on a regular basis that ranged from subjects we just covered, to chapter tests, but everyone’s favorites were quizzes, don’t you just love quizzes?

What NCTM math process standards did you encounter more throughout your mathematical learning years? I was pretty much involved with all the standards because my classes ranged from general math to algebra II/trigonometry. In order to reach these levels of math a general understanding of the standards are necessary.