Student Work is a study group of people deeply involved in using processes for the careful and close examination of student work. That we have different purposes at the heart of our methods is not necessarily a problem. There is a focus on the intersection of these methods for looking at student work and explicit school reform efforts. To be sure, everyone involved longs to see improvement in our public schools.
Lesson Study “is a translation of the Japanese words jugyou (instruction, lessons or lesson) and kenkyuu (research or study). The term jugyou kenkyuu encompasses a large family of instructional improvement strategies, the shared feature of which is observation of live classroom lessons by a group of teachers who collect data on teaching and learning and collaboratively analyze it.”
Lesson study is professional development model that develops these practices:
Action Research is a strategy for learning more about the teaching and learning process, often in collaboration with other educators. With this learning design, teachers decide which questions are important to examine in order to gain insight into what is happening in their own classrooms. While the inquiry process is structured, it is not as formal as other forms of research and can provide teachers with valuable information for improving their practice.
Video Study is a collection of educators who gather together to view and discuss taped excerpts or whole lessons of their own or colleagues’ teaching. By focusing on student performance in an environment of collegial support and curiosity, teachers arrive at insights into practice. They make decisions to experiment that might not be made in more formal “feedback” settings.
Research Study is a collection of educators who gather together to conduct research on school practices related to their school improvement goals. They thoroughly investigate what other schools, with similar demographics, have done to deal with the same types of issues. This will be accomplished by contacting other schools, by reading and discussing scientifically-based research and reading articles related to the school’s improvement goals.
Book Study is a collection of educators who gather together to read and discuss a book which they have selected. The selected topic will create a focus for learning together. For our purposes and design for this website, a book study would be combined with collaborative approaches that would look directly at student work and teacher practice.
An Article Study Group is similar to a book study.
A Report on a conference, workshop, school visitation, etc. is given by a person or small group of educators to the larger group after attendance. The report from a conference, workshop or school visitation contains a specific focus that is related to furthering knowledge in best practices. This model is one way for a school to create collaborative professional development practices for staff who attend conferences and workshops.
The bottom-line for any model is that educators in a school need to work collaboratively to improve instructional practice and increase student learning. If the models do not focus on those two areas, then a true authentic professional learning community does not exist.
ASCD Professional Inquiry Kit