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Math Institute Descriptions:

“It has been said repeatedly that teacher quality is the crucial factor enhancing student achievement and determining the success of education and education reform” (Fujita, 2004).

The Math Institute is a professional learning model based on the Japanese Lesson Study (https://lessonstudyproject.com/overview/).The model is being used in Gwinnett County Public Schools to help support teachers as we transition to the new Georgia Performance Standards. The video below provides a brief overview:
 Lesson Study, also called jugyokenkyu, involves a group of teachers working together on a broad goal and developing lesson plans that are observed, analyzed, and revised.  Their focus throughout this process is on improving student thinking and making their lessons more effective.
  • First, a student focus based on a Georgia Performance Standard is determined. Then, a student task is developed by a group of teachers that attempts to draw students into a rich discussion about the topic of focus. The teacher group reviews the task and attempt to anticipate student responses to best prepare for the student discussion. A good task should:
    1. Open with an engaging thought and theme (a motivational hook or schema)
    2. Provide a well thought out sequencing of questioning that leads to a thought provoking mathematical discussion.  Questions must provide prompts for student discussion.
    3. Have prompts that may have multiple paths as well as multiple solutions.
    4. Have students represent situations mathematically in multiple ways (e.g. natural language, symbolically, graphically, etc.)
  • Then, the lesson is taught live with a group of students while a group of teachers participating in the study observe the lesson.  Each teacher is given an observational focus:
    1. Evidence of Student Learning
    2. Teacher Questioning, Anticipating, and Noticing
    3. Physical Organization & Board Usage
  • Next, the teachers debrief about the student task and discuss each of the observational foci. The lesson is revised and improved based on the feedback. If necessary, the lesson begins the process from the beginning or it moves on to the local schools.
  • Finally, the lesson is disseminated to the local schools by repeating a similar process locally with the same task and feedback from the local schools is generated and brought back to the original Math Institute group.


Below is a sample clip of a lesson study taking place in Japan:

Japan Lesson Study

Alternate Example

  The following research article based on the 1997 Video Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) provides some interesting perspectives of how our cultures differ in mathematics instruction and add a little insight into the Japanese Lesson Study Model.

An overview of our plan.

  Contact Information: Matt Winking