Conducting and observing the research lesson

Conducting the lesson

The teacher has the job of implementing the lesson plan and adapting to the needs of students as they arise.
Their role will evolve during the phases of the lesson. (The Japanese have words for these phases).
  • Presenting or re-presenting the task (Hatsumon)
    The task is presented in an intriguing way. Students develop their ideas individually. If the task has already been given, students respond to the teacher's feedback on their initial attempts.
  • Collaboratively developing an approach (Kikan-shido)
    They work together to create a better solution.
    The teacher observes approaches and selects ideas to share.
  • Comparing approaches (Neriage)
    Students share ideas with the whole class. The teacher selects introduces some new ideas.
    Students critique solutions, identifying strengths and weaknesses.
  • Summarising and reflecting (Matome)
    Teacher summarises group findings, identifies important ideas, generalises. Students summarise what they have learned themselves

Observing the lesson

The observers have the job of trying to answer the research question.
In addition, the following prompts may be helpful:
  • How did students respond to the task as presented?
  • How did students respond to the teachers' questioning?
  • What anticipated and unanticipated reasoning was in evidence?
  • How did the problem solving processes evolve during the lesson?
  • What progression in student reasoning was in evidence?
  • What different approaches to the problem may be observed?
  • Did students engage with the reasoning of other students?
  • Did students recognise when their approach was not working?
  • How were students’ own ideas combined and developed?
  • To what extent were the lesson objectives achieved ?



Watch the lesson on the problem Outbreak! below. (It is 15 minutes long)


As you watch, ask yourself the following questions:
  • How has the teacher structured the lesson?
  • What changes has he made to the plan?
  • What evidence is there of the students (a) planning their approaches and (b) monitoring their progress as they work on the problem.
  • What strategies has the teacher used to make this happen?
  • Have these strategies been effective?