Do your own PD with other teachers

Edudemic has a useful post this morning about resources teachers can use to take charge of their own professional development. I noted as I read the article that most of the suggestions involved the teacher reading and/or writing.

The idea of taking on the task of directing their own learning on a continuing basis is, I believe, the best way for any person to grow professionally.

I’m also a big proponent of reading and writing as ways of learning; I do both myself.

But as someone who writes instructional materials, I’d be the first to admit that a piece of writing (take that to include digital writing) too often fails to convey a genuine sense of what it is the teacher does. When we write, we edit: We lack the time and the multiple perspectives to explain adequately what makes a lesson work—or not work.

A Mindshift piece by 

In lesson study, a group of teachers collaboratively plan a lesson to address some problem students are having mastering a topic.

Then, in a public research lesson, one of the teachers teaches the lesson to a class while the other teachers observe the class. The teachers watch students—not the teacher—for indications of what and when they understand.

Lesson study accomplishes two things. First, it develops lessons from which all students can learn even if they are not being taught by the very best teachers. Second, it helps make the less good teachers better by the collective observation and analysis of the group.

Rigid school schedules and budgets are unlikely to make lesson study flourish in the US any time soon.

Where administrators are sufficiently flexible and supportive, however, I think lesson study could enable do-it-yourself PD to remake schools.