Pre-lesson briefing

The pre-lesson briefing

It is helpful to have a briefing for everyone who attends the research lesson. this can be on the day of the research lesson. It is helpful to allow 30 minutes for this.
This briefing usually involves the following:


Introduction to the school and the class

The host of the group from the college should make sure that arrangements for the research lesson, are clear (e.g. how long it will last, any restrictions on taking photographs of students' work and so on).
In addition they should point out anything that observers should know about the class and anything about any individual students (such as their sensitivity about being observed and so on on).

It is also important for the class teacher to point out anything that has been specifically changed in the lesson to cater for the students in the class.

Everyone should be reminded of the research question for the lesson.


Advice for the observers

Make sure that everyone is clear about how they should behave during the research lesson. They should:

§ observe student learning, not judge the teaching.

§ focus on observations that may help address the research question(s).

§ avoid distracting students by talking to them or interacting with them in any other way (apart from maybe saying hello and being overtly friendly at the start of the lesson).
(This is important because if an observer, for example,  helps a student or group of students during the lesson, it interferes with the reality of teaching the actual lesson.  The intention is to research how the lesson works when taught by an individual teacher)

§ make detailed notes about specific examples of student learning (for example their written work, discussions in pairs, and so on) so that they can contribute to the post-lesson discussion.

§ Observers might find it useful to focus on only one group or pair of students to start with. This can be used to provide valuable insight during the post-lesson discussion after the lesson. It is very unusual to get detailed evidence of students' reactions during a lesson.

Some lesson study observers around the world have enjoyed recording their observations using Lesson Note on an iPad.

Video of pre-lesson briefing session
(This is one of a series of videos based on a single lesson – more details and more videos can be found at The Outbreak Lesson)

In this video from the Outbreak Lesson the Head of Maths, who will be the research lesson teacher, and the knowledgeable other, Malcolm Swan from the University of Nottingham Centre for Research in Mathematics Education, brief the observers before the lesson. This demonstrates the type of information that is needed by the lesson observers.

© CLR-UK 2023