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Making sense of theory: A model of lesson study in Chinese mathematics education

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Abstract:

Lesson study has a long history in mainland China, and is treated as the most daily model for teacher development which focuses on concrete teaching behaviors, and which is not really the expertise of university-based educational researchers.
In China, educational researchers could get more convenient access to the classroom than those American researchers. They could even get a budget from primary school or school district to do this kind of applied research.
According to relevant literature, lesson study at least has three important characteristics, (a) easy access, (b) mixed participants and (c) cultural relevance. To use those facilities fully and to promote the teaching quality effectively, Chinese educational researchers should answer a relatively untreated question properly: how to use their own expertise to promote the classroom teaching?
This study explores the potential of theory in the classroom teaching. Five lesson studies were reported and analyzed. Based on those works, general assumptions are founded and examined. The basic assumptions and cycles are as follows.
1. Assumptions
(1) Teaching subjects are different with those disciplines in scientific research area. As a research area, the knowledge is not settlement and urging for updating constantly. While in a teaching subject, knowledge is relatively stable and out of date. We can also find that the scientists are very different with those school teachers generally.
(2) Teaching subjects are also closely related to scientific research. Scientific research is important references in the process of curriculum development. In fact the process also needs the participation of scientists. The closely connection between the teaching subject and scientific research are hided in the final products of curriculum development. Hence the school teachers may have difficult to find the clue in their daily work.
(3) The teacher professional development could benefit by those lesson studies in which the university-based educational researchers retrieve the link between teaching subject and scientific discipline. Through this kind of study the designing of lesson objectives, the selecting of important points and the arranging of teaching process are all reflected to reestablish their knowledge bases.
2. Cycle
In the whole process of this kind of lesson study, researchers would pay more attention to the knowledge bases of teacher’s judgment. There are mainly four sequential steps:
(1) Reflection triggering: All of the participants need look for a proper section from the real teaching classroom to start reflection, ask questions like ‘Why do you teach in this way?’ ‘What kind of knowledge base could support your judgment?’
(2) Problem defining: Based on the support of educational researcher, school teachers are trying to find out what kind of knowledge is related to the current lesson. At the end of this stage, teachers will find proper terms to defining their problems. These terms will be used as key words to search professional literatures.
(3) Knowledge retrieving: Base on the key words, teachers try to find relative literatures which will enable teachers go deeper into their teaching materials.
(4) Re-action: Through previous study, teachers would find out some alternative teaching strategies. Most of the alternative choices are authentic different from the original one. But few are not changed but still get a more sufficient explanation.
Those lesson studies reported in this paper are all finished in an elite private primary school in Beijing China. Most of the teachers in this school have a good education background, even PhD diploma. The mathematics teachers are also high qualified. The director of this school is also a mathematics teacher who is a real specialist in mathematics education and is very enthusiastic in our study. Before she moves into this school, she has already got several state teaching honors.
Most of the teachers changed their lesson plan after lesson study. The teachers got more thorough understanding of their teaching materials. The teaching materials in primary school are often supposed to be relatively simple and not deserve mindfully study. After the lesson study, teachers could give a relatively convincing and sufficient argumentation to their final lesson plan. The teachers also show more intellectual than before. Self confidence to expertise are also achieved a newly high level. Some of the teachers’ interviews, blogs and memos are reported to proof the effects.
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Association:
Name: Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference
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Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p717620_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Ding, Daoyong. "Making sense of theory: A model of lesson study in Chinese mathematics education" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Mar 10, 2014 <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p717620_index.html>

APA Citation:

Ding, D. , 2014-03-10 "Making sense of theory: A model of lesson study in Chinese mathematics education" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Comparative and International Education Society Annual Conference, Sheraton Centre Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada <Not Available>. 2014-12-10 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p717620_index.html

Publication Type: Poster
Review Method: Peer Reviewed
Abstract: Lesson study has a long history in mainland China, and is treated as the most daily model for teacher development which focuses on concrete teaching behaviors, and which is not really the expertise of university-based educational researchers.
In China, educational researchers could get more convenient access to the classroom than those American researchers. They could even get a budget from primary school or school district to do this kind of applied research.
According to relevant literature, lesson study at least has three important characteristics, (a) easy access, (b) mixed participants and (c) cultural relevance. To use those facilities fully and to promote the teaching quality effectively, Chinese educational researchers should answer a relatively untreated question properly: how to use their own expertise to promote the classroom teaching?
This study explores the potential of theory in the classroom teaching. Five lesson studies were reported and analyzed. Based on those works, general assumptions are founded and examined. The basic assumptions and cycles are as follows.
1. Assumptions
(1) Teaching subjects are different with those disciplines in scientific research area. As a research area, the knowledge is not settlement and urging for updating constantly. While in a teaching subject, knowledge is relatively stable and out of date. We can also find that the scientists are very different with those school teachers generally.
(2) Teaching subjects are also closely related to scientific research. Scientific research is important references in the process of curriculum development. In fact the process also needs the participation of scientists. The closely connection between the teaching subject and scientific research are hided in the final products of curriculum development. Hence the school teachers may have difficult to find the clue in their daily work.
(3) The teacher professional development could benefit by those lesson studies in which the university-based educational researchers retrieve the link between teaching subject and scientific discipline. Through this kind of study the designing of lesson objectives, the selecting of important points and the arranging of teaching process are all reflected to reestablish their knowledge bases.
2. Cycle
In the whole process of this kind of lesson study, researchers would pay more attention to the knowledge bases of teacher’s judgment. There are mainly four sequential steps:
(1) Reflection triggering: All of the participants need look for a proper section from the real teaching classroom to start reflection, ask questions like ‘Why do you teach in this way?’ ‘What kind of knowledge base could support your judgment?’
(2) Problem defining: Based on the support of educational researcher, school teachers are trying to find out what kind of knowledge is related to the current lesson. At the end of this stage, teachers will find proper terms to defining their problems. These terms will be used as key words to search professional literatures.
(3) Knowledge retrieving: Base on the key words, teachers try to find relative literatures which will enable teachers go deeper into their teaching materials.
(4) Re-action: Through previous study, teachers would find out some alternative teaching strategies. Most of the alternative choices are authentic different from the original one. But few are not changed but still get a more sufficient explanation.
Those lesson studies reported in this paper are all finished in an elite private primary school in Beijing China. Most of the teachers in this school have a good education background, even PhD diploma. The mathematics teachers are also high qualified. The director of this school is also a mathematics teacher who is a real specialist in mathematics education and is very enthusiastic in our study. Before she moves into this school, she has already got several state teaching honors.
Most of the teachers changed their lesson plan after lesson study. The teachers got more thorough understanding of their teaching materials. The teaching materials in primary school are often supposed to be relatively simple and not deserve mindfully study. After the lesson study, teachers could give a relatively convincing and sufficient argumentation to their final lesson plan. The teachers also show more intellectual than before. Self confidence to expertise are also achieved a newly high level. Some of the teachers’ interviews, blogs and memos are reported to proof the effects.


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