Vito Prosciutto: Teaching community college math on the road to a PhD.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Tuesday night math ed class 

So last night was my group's turn to teach a lesson in my math teaching class.

Do you see the problem yet?

My group's turn.

What a completely unrealistic experience. What are the odds of group teaching a lesson in my career? Close to zero. And if that group is all math teachers? I'd have to say even closer to zero. I'd say zero without qualification, but I suppose there is some tiny chance that it could happen. In bizarro world.

OK, sure we have 30 students in the class so each person can't have a whole class period, but the way I figure it, if we have each student teach a 40 minute lesson, we can in 10 weeks have each person teach. My organization plan for the class would be to have each person teach for 40 minutes, then we'd take fifteen minutes to discuss and critique that student's lesson plan. Now that would be a valuable learning experience. And it's not like this idea comes out of nowhere: There's a program called Lesson Study that iirc originated in Japan, and provides a means for teachers to engage in a continuous professional development and develop their lesson planning and implementation techniques.

So here's an interesting idea: Teachers trained with this sort of lesson study, and given an opportunity to engage in it as part of their training, might well evangelize for it when they're actually out training. So we'd not only be training teachers, but we'd be producing teachers who would have a goal of improving the overall quality of teaching in their schools and tools that they could use to implement this.

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