Investigating the sustainability and effectiveness of an innovative video-based model for professional development of mathematics teachers (ISF Grant #1219/20)

Leading team

Prof. Abraham Arcavi

Dr. Ronnie Karsenty

Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Galit Nagari-Haddif

Project Team

Dr. Avital Elbaum Cohen

Tzila Yarhi

Noam Aramchuk

Gal Friedman

Administration

Shani Motsa

Summary

The project launched school-based professional learning communities (PLCs) for mathematics teachers, named Math-VALUE (Video Analysis and Lesson-study to Upgrade Expertise), inspired by the Japanese model of Lesson Study.

Lesson Study expands the work of teaching beyond the classroom. It includes the detailed collaborative planning of lessons, the implementation of those plans (by one member of the community) and then the collective reflection on the taught lesson and the enacted plan. In PLCs working on lesson study, teachers have ample opportunities to deeply reflect on problems and challenges of instruction with peers who share the same issues, although may differ in their approaches to cope with them. Lesson study provides teachers with a space to interact with each other around mathematical and pedagogical issues, to observe each other’s teaching practices and to work collaboratively as a cohesive and mutually supporting community.

The local adaptation of the Japanese model of Lesson Study relies on the outcomes of a previous comprehensive project, VIDEO-LM, that developed an analytic framework for watching and discussing authentic mathematics lessons (the six-lens framework, or in short, SLF). SLF is now adapted as a guiding tool for planning, running and discussing lessons by the Math-VALUE PLC members.

The overall purpose of this research is to scrutinize the functioning of the Math-VALUE communities and the extent to which they contribute to the improvement of instructional practices and to teacher professional learning and development.  

The project was carefully designed to launch, support and guide the initial functioning of the Math-VALUE PLCs. The structure consists of a lead teacher from each of the eight schools in the 2020-21 pilot, aided by an external experienced facilitator. The couple (internal teacher- external facilitator) were supported by the project leaders throughout the pilot year. The external facilitator would gradually fade starting the 2021-22 school year. Thus one of the goals of this research is to evaluate the sustainability of this project, namely whether and how Lesson Study becomes institutionalized in each school and becomes a model to be imitated on system wide scale.