"Lesson Study" and the Teaching of American History: Connecting Professional Development and Classroom Practice

By Pesick, Stan | Social Studies Review, Spring 2005 | Go to article overview

"Lesson Study" and the Teaching of American History: Connecting Professional Development and Classroom Practice


Pesick, Stan, Social Studies Review


INTRODUCTION

In the library of an Oakland, California middle school four 8th grade American History teachers are gathered around a table. Also there is a doctoral student in U.S. History, the school librarian, and two staff members from the Oakland Unified Teaching American History Grant's professional development project. The teachers have come from three different schools to observe a lesson they have planned together.

The teachers had spent several after school hours, along with the graduate student and project staff, planning a lesson on the 4th amendment. They wanted students to understand the ideas, rights, and controversy embedded in the dry language of the Constitution. The lesson began in a dramatic fashion. The teacher who was teaching the lesson arranged for a campus security guard to walk into the classroom and search the backpacks of three students. The students had agreed before class to participate in the simulation. After the search, students in the class were asked to write a brief response explaining whether they thought was search was legal. A discussion of this question followed. Then the students read and tried to rewrite the 4th Amendment in their own words.

Reading and understanding the Amendment proved, as the teachers anticipated, a challenge to many of the students in this class, which included a number of second language students. At one point the teacher asked, "What do you think they mean by the term effects?" As the teachers had predicted the students had difficulty in explaining how the term was used in this context. No student responded. Either they were unwilling to venture a guess, or they were unable to explain.

After this introduction to the amendment, the teacher passed out an actual Supreme Court case, TLO v. New Jersey (1985), that asked what rights do students have against search and seizure if they are on school grounds. (The court ruled they don't have the same rights as individuals outside the authority of the school.) Finally, students were asked to revise what they had written at the beginning of the period, "was the search legal?" Did they want to change, add to, or refine their initial response?

Initially, the group of teachers clustered around the table was certain that the lesson was successful, students seemed to understand that there were limitations to their Fourth Amendment right to not be searched. Then, the student writing samples were passed out to each teacher. After reading what students wrote the mood at the table changed, for it became clear that the students had gained at best, only a limited understanding of the Fourth Amendment. ;

As this finding emerged, teachers began to reconsider the design of their lesson - what would they do differently next time? What will the teachers observing and analyzing the lesson do differently when they teach the same lesson in their classrooms? One certainty is that the lesson, when taught, will benefit from their close examination of instruction and student learning embodied in the collaborative process in which they have engaged.

This brief example of teacher collaboration illustrates one aspect of our current Teaching American History grant's professional development program. This collaborative process is known as "lesson study."1

A PROJECT CHALLENGE: CONNECTING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT AND CLASSROOM PRACTICE

In Oakland we are currently implementing the first year of our second Teaching American History grant "History Grows in Oakland: Teaching American History in an Urban School District (2004-2007)."2 The project's charge is to increase teacher content knowledge of American history; this year through our thematic focus on teaching American history through biography. Our partnership with University of California, Berkeley, HistorySocial Science project, and the UCB History Department, will provide participating teachers (grades 5, 8, 11) the opportunity to hear from historians about significant individuals in American history and the times in which they lived. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

"Lesson Study" and the Teaching of American History: Connecting Professional Development and Classroom Practice
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.