Chicago Lesson Study Group (CLSG)

To explore the possibilites for replicating the success of Japanese lesson study in a U.S. setting, the Chicago Lesson Study Group was launched in October of 2002, with volunteer school administrators and classroom teachers who have had university student teachers in their classrooms as a part of their field experiences under the guidance of Akihiko Takahashi (DePaul University).

Although the most popular form of lesson study in Japan is within a single school as a school-based professional development program (Yoshida, 1999), the Chicago Lesson Study Group adopted as a model a form of cross-school volunteer lesson study group. The reasons for this adaptation are twofold. First of all, an effective model of lesson study is often started as a grassroots movement of enthusiastic teachers rather than a top down formation (Lewis 2002b; Takahashi & Yoshida, 2004; Yoshida, 1999). For this reason, starting a lesson study group as a cross-school volunteer group was thought to be appropriate. Furthermore, it is sometimes difficult to establish a school-based lesson-study group in the U.S. because many teachers do not have experience working with other teachers in the same school as a group to accomplish a shared goal. Secondly, in order to have a sufficient number of enthusiastic elementary and middle school teachers who are interested in lesson study focusing on mathematics, a cross-school model was found to be more appropriate in the U.S. setting. Between its inception and june 2007, conducted 6 lesson study conferences and 13 public research lessons.

The program of activities for a volunteer lesson study group usually consists of two components: (1) a series of study groups concerned with improving the teaching and learning of mathematics (the group usually meets after school regularly throughout the year), and (2) several public research lesson opportunities each year to examine the work of the study group by inviting a wide variety of individuals to participate in its sessions. The existing Chicago Lesson Study Group consists of the college professor, Akihiko Takahashi, who teaches mathematics methods courses, and the cooperating teachers of the prospective teachers' field experience and student teaching. Since its inception, this study group has met twice a month to discuss ways to implement the ideas of reform mathematics in order to improve the teaching and learning of mathematics.

Between its inception and June 2005, the Chicago Lesson Study Group has conducted four lesson study conferences and seven public research lessons. In each public research lesson, the group invited teachers and educators from not only the Chicago area but also from other states to discuss how to implement student-centered classrooms in mathematics. Nearly 140 participants from various states, Canada and England, one hundred and fifty participants from various states and Canada attended the group's most recent lesson study conference in May 2005 and discussed further students' mathematical understanding. <.........>