The post-lesson discussion

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This is normally held in the same classroom as the lesson, so that participants can use student work or refer to materials used in the lesson.


We have found that an hour and a half seems a productive length of time for a discussion. However, if everyone is still actively engaged and enjoying the discussion, and is possible, there may be no need to terminate it that soon. You will need to use your judgment. This is a good reason why it might be helpful to have the research lesson as the last lesson of the day.

Introducing the discussion

  • Begin by reminding everyone of the research focus of the lesson. Try to keep discussion focused on this.
  • Ensure that everyone has copies of the lesson plan.
  • Give the teacher an opportunity to talk about their own perceptions of the lesson and any reasons they had for deviations in the lesson plan.
  • Ask for brief-but-vivid accounts of critical incidents, encouraging participants to describe what they saw, rather than attempting to account for why. This keeps the discussion open to alternative explanations and avoids premature closure.
  • Discourage participants from making evaluative judgments about "what went well", or otherwise. Each point made should refer to evidence seen in the lesson.

Structuring the rest of the discussion

Following this introductory phase there are many possible ways of continuing the post-lesson discussion:
  • Plenary throughout. This way, everyone hears everything that everyone says, but with a large number of observers this can be time-consuming. Keeping everyone focused on the research question helps.
  • Think-pair-share. Participants could have a few minutes to think individually and write down their thoughts (perhaps on post-it notes) before sharing with another participant. This could be a helpful prelude to plenary discussion.
  • Group discussions. One possible way of proceeding is to divide into small groups to explore different aspects of the research question, perhaps collecting thoughts on a flipchart or poster, and then reconvening to share what has emerged.

Concluding with the view of the outside expert

In Japan, the post-lesson discussion concludes with an extended input from the outside expert. In LeMaPS we see this as important, as it provides an expert outsider view and can give a direction for the lesson study group by building on what has been learned. It is not a summary of the discussion. The outside expert will seek to draw together the threads of the discussion and make particularly pertinent remarks relating to the research question and how the group might move forwards.

Watch the video of the post-lesson discussion to Outbreak!
  • Make a list of the significant points it raises for you.
  • Do the participants share evidence for their opinions?